On the front page of today's New York Times, there is a piece about Cat Agility Training and Competition. It is called "The Next Best Thing to Herding Cats." Well, trying to train your cat for competition (for almost anything) might be the close to herding cats. At Brooklyn Bark, we actually do herd cats. The International Cat Association and the Cat Fancier's Association give awards for the next best thing to herding, we decided to give awards to cats we have actually herded.
Finding kitty when we first arrive can be a challenge. If kitty doesn't want to be found kitty won't be found, at least not easily. Close your eyes and realize every scenario begins with our Care Giver entering an empty apartment with a little bit of caution and lots of joyful anticipation, ready to care for and then interact with the cat therein.
But where is kitty? Check under furniture, behind furniture, call owners for permission to open closets, take out drawers. Note: there hasn't been an owner who didn't immediately grant permission for a full "search and rescue” when contacted.
The "usual unusual" places we've found cats include closet floor (even with the door shut and latched.... we haven't figured out how they do it, but they do), behind dresser drawers (again, how do they get in there with all the drawers closed?) and in kitchen cupboards (again, how?)
To these cats we say, "Nice try, but it's been done." We win!
We do have meowing Barkers who are unique in their approach to psychological warfare. They have taken us to the verge of calling in canine search and rescue teams, but we weren't sure if that thought was based in a true desire to locate kitty or to extract vengeance. To these cats we offer our Herding Pussycat Award. These awards are hard won and only given after a minimum of an hour and a half search by our Care Associate which includes searching behind every door and drawer in the apartment.
- Mr. Meow: Contrary to his name, he remained very silent as our Care Associate called and looked for him. She found him in the kitchen garbage can, the kind with the swinging V-top.
- OJ: After searching everywhere, our Care Associate called in a back-up so the two could move the furniture to look for OJ. After moving every piece of furniture so they could see in the dark crevices, they caught a glimpse of OJ. As they moved the living room couch around, he blithely moved along to remain underneath it.
- Pooky: forget hiding among the shoes in the bottom of the closet. Pooky climbed up the sleeves of his owner's suits and sat up against the back wall of the closet on the shoulders of the suits that formed a suitable "shelf" for him to sit on (and shed, the owner pointed out, which is why he always kept his closet door latched)
- Missy: don't just look in the kitchen cabinet, take the lid off any pot big enough to hold a kitten. They can get in there, somehow, without displacing the lid.
- Tiger: although it didn't take us the usual hour and a half required for this award, we make an exception and grant it to Tiger for an incident in his young kittenhood. His owner had left the toilet seat up and curiosity almost drowned the cat. We came to care for little Tiger and there he was, soaking wet, clinging to the edge of the toilet bowl unable to get enough traction to climb out. Oh, did we mention that when we rescued him he bit his Care Giver in gratitude?
To the winners of the Feline Agility awards we say, "Congratulations" but to the winners of the Brooklyn Bark Herding Pussycats Awards we say, "Next time we are going to bring the canine SAR team."