Rescued feline goes viral for “deep thoughts”

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Colorado native Hayley Cassatt had a beloved childhood cat, names Six ,an orange Tabby. “He was just the best cat in the whole world,” she remembers .

After moving to Portland as an adult, Cassatt was ready to adopt a pet. She went to Cat Adoption Team in Sherwood with a specific wish: a male orange Tabby with a mellow, affectionate, charm-your-whiskers-off personality.

Instead, she met a young orange female Tabby who had been rescued from the streets with her litter of kittens. While of similar coloring, this cat didn’t have the plucky personality of her predecessor, Six. “She was a little weird,” Hayley remembers. “She’s just very shy and timid. Her kittens had all been adopted. I think she was at CAT for a while. I fell for her as somewhat of an underdog.”

Cassatt called her dad, a professional cartoonist who called himself the family’s Cat Butler. The pair shared a love of art and cats. She told her dad the cat wasn’t anything like their beloved Six, but that her heart was hooked anyway. His fatherly advice: adopt the weird cat and bring her home. 

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Becoming Andy

Unlike her predecessor, this cat isn’t much of a lap-warmer. She is affectionate with Cassatt, but no one else. “My best friends who live above me have a wiener dog. We’re convinced the dog is in love with her, but she’s stand-offish,” Cassatt laughs.

Still, the timid, stand-offish feline worked her way indelibly into Cassatt’s heart and home. “It’s not my home anymore,” she laughs, “it’s hers.”

Pondering names, Cassatt thought of the Spielberg movie The Goonies, filmed in Oregon. One lead character is a redhead named Andy. “It’s a favorite movie and one of the reasons I moved to the Pacific Northwest,” Cassatt explains. “And my grandma’s nickname growing up was Andy.”  

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She can’t remember now whether her dad met Andy, “but I sent lots of pictures and he loved her,” she recalls. Cancer claimed him, the person who had inspired her career and love of cats.

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Shortly after the painful loss of her father, Cassatt and Andy moved to a new home in SE Portland. Andy found a sunny window overlooking the street to be a perfect perch. “There’s a lot of foot traffic outside my house,” Cassatt says. Passersby would notice the fat, happy orange cat in the window, and the often-aloof Andy seemed to bask in the attention. Cassatt was inspired. “I thought I’d put up thought bubbles, sort of as an homage to my father.” 

A Different Kind of Affection

“I started with some Garfield quotes. I think the first one I ever did was ‘I Hate Mondays.’ And I did silly things like ‘Lasagna.’”

Drawing on large sheets, Cassatt cuts and tapes the images in Andy’s window, then photographs and posts them on Instagram.

“Travel Oregon saw her there and reposted it and it went a little viral,” Cassatt recalls. “It’s kind of funny because she has more followers than I do. I think the fame has sort of gone to her head a little. She’s a diva. She does glamour shots with her legs to the side. It’s cute.”

Cassatt doesn’t publicize her address, but there’s heavy foot traffic outside Andy’s window, and fans are delighted when they spot the famous Instagram cat, sharing her deep thoughts, and basking in the glow of her fame. 

The Glamorous Life

Now eight years old, Andy is a social media sensation and a beloved neighborhood fixture. People passing by light up when they spot the famous orange cat and her thought bubbles. “People will tell me, ‘Oh! That’s Deep Thoughts by Andy! I follow her on Instagram.”

“I really love that it makes people happy. That’s kind of the best thing about it,” says Cassatt. “She’s sort of up on a throne and she works it. I think she likes the sun, so when it’s warm she’s always there. Otherwise she’s on the floor in weird poses. She likes to sleep on her back. She’s just a weirdo.”

Follow Andy on Instagram @DeepThoughtsByAndy


Michelle Blake is a Salem, OR-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in national publications. Her husband wants you to know she's a REALLY crazy dog lady too.

When helping one serves many —patients, pets and hospital staff

 Shannon Priem with FETCH dog Miss Poppy

Shannon Priem with FETCH dog Miss Poppy

Marketing/PR professional Shannon Priem of Salem says her first word as a child wasn’t “mommy” or “daddy,” but “kitty.”

Priem works part-time in marketing for Salem Health, and been a board member of the Willamette Humane Society for 10 years.  While both roles gave her plenty to do, five years ago the lifelong animal lover was inspired to do more.

“Our pet policy had gotten relaxed over the years” says Priem, “so patients brought all kinds of pets to their hospital rooms — including, on one occasion, a duck in a diaper.” This eventually took its toll on staff. “Nurses were changing litterboxes,” she says. That changed in 2013, when a new policy prohibited pets on the hospital campus “except service or therapy animals.”

The impact of the new policy on patients coming into the ER was quickly apparent to both Priem and security staff; patients frequently brought dogs with them to the ER, or panicked when they realized pets were left at home. “It didn’t take long to realize they might go AWOL (leave the hospital against medical advice) because they were more worried about their pet than their own health.”

Many patients in this type of scenario are older with little or no family or support, homeless, or otherwise struggling with slim resources, if any.

“Usually in cases like these,” Priem says, “good samaritans working at the hospital would say, ‘Okay, I’ll take care of the pet.’” The problem was, caring for animals took time and energy that staff needed to focus on patient care.

Bothered by the dilemma, Priem approached administration with an idea: “What if I could be your ace in the hole — your secret service on call, day or night to help?” Given the go-ahead, she brainstormed with security staff and soon began FETCH, Fido’s Emergency Team for Caring Hospitals.

“I look at it as, ‘if it’s got a heartbeat, we’ll care for them.’ They’re human. If that means caring for their dog or cat, then that’s what we’ll do,” says Priem. A gift from the Salem Health Foundation enabled FETCH to partner with the Willamette Humane Society for emergency boarding, helping even more animals.

Today, FETCH has a handful of stalwart volunteers — including some hospital staff — who will come day or night to take a pet, and five on call. Those who help or have helped range in age from teens to over 70.

FETCH is always “on call” for hospital care managers or social workers who typically help patients with limited resources with things like finding a skilled nursing facility, transportation home, etc. The group also works with hospital security staff.

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The need arises frequently — nowadays averaging two calls per week. Priem has many stories about the cases she’s handled — FETCH has cared for more than 110 animals since 2013, helping keep families together. “I’m not one to brag, but I wouldn’t be surprised if my FETCH team saved a couple of lives here and there,” she says.

She tells of one patient who arrived at the ER needing but refusing life-saving care when staff moved to take her dog.  She said, “If I can’t have Jonathon with me, I can’t go on living.”

Staff got Jonathan into her hospital room to wait for her after surgery. ”His little nose was pressed against a crack in the door for an hour; he knew she was coming,” says Priem. “When she arrived, he hopped in her bed to lick her face, and she soon went back to sleep. From that second, I knew we needed FETCH.”

Another story tells of a gentleman with a life-threatening infection who’d put up his dog in a motel and then walked several miles to the ER. A long-haul driver, after receiving help — for himself and his dog —told Priem, “You don’t even know me, and you rescued my dog from a motel.” The grateful gentleman said he was going to look into helping others this way when he got home.

Felix, a 25-pound cat, was left behind in a mobile home. Unable to care for or even lift him, the owner agreed to surrender him for rehoming. “Please find him a good home,” she begged Priem, who said there were three holds on Felix at WHS by prospective adoptive families the first day. Ultimately he was adopted by a counselor, and is reportedly now helping her with grief counseling.

Still another case was a woman who had been homeless for eight years. She had three old dogs who themselves needed medical care. With the help of WHS, the dogs got better. The woman also got better, then found a job and an apartment. “This is a woman who was on the streets for eight years, often going without food so she could feed her dogs!” Priem repeats, still overjoyed with the outcome.

Other cases underscore the value of FETCH to not only the humans it serves, but the pets.

One gentleman came in, leaving behind two Rottweiler/Pit mixes, which were ultimately surrendered to WHS.

“Ozzie was dangerous,” says Priem. “The best trainers at WHS worked with him for 10 months. They didn’t give up. We all saw a special light in his eyes, but there were times . . . I’d get ‘the call’ that he might not make it.

“Then one day it all just clicked, and Ozzie was a different dog. Shortly after, a veteran who had just lost his therapy dog came to WHS. Ozzie walked right up to him. The shelter staff told him, ‘He is your dog!’”

The partnership with WHS is vital to the success of FETCH. “At the drop of a hat an animal can get care and boarding at the shelter, while being in the protective custody of the Salem Health Foundation,” says Priem. “I’ll call and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got two Yorkies.’ They’ll ask if they need vaccinations; I’ll say yes, and they’ll say, ‘Bring them in.’”

“We’ve had pets at WHS for weeks at a time, belonging mostly to people facing health emergencies. But also who are homelessness, elderly, or have no family support.

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FETCH is strictly a private venture. Because volunteers go into unknown, potentially dangerous situations, Priem understands that for now, due to liability issues, it shouldn’t be a formal hospital service. “We assume all personal liability because the need is there, and worth the risk,” she says.  Starting with zero resources, Priem has created legal forms dealing with permissions, liabilities, and the like. She says the partnership between WHS and the Salem Health Foundation is invaluable. “They both fill a critical gap, because you can’t board a pet without current vaccines, and thanks to the foundation, we get that done quickly so our patients get peace of mind . . . and can heal.”

”Word of mouth has increased our work, which means staff really need us,” she says. “They really care about our patients, so I’ve become their hidden asset!”  If the need continues to grow, she says she hopes FETCH will become a more formalized hospital program.

For now, “A case manager [from the hospital] will call — I know there’s a pet in need just by the phone number — and I have forms for patients to sign so I can go feed the pet at home, or do whatever’s needed.”

Priem welcomes anyone interested in starting a program like FETCH in their community to contact her, and to use her forms. Volunteers are also needed to help with anything from feeding or fostering cats and dogs in their homes to donations of pet food and funds, which can be made to the Salem Health Foundation. Contact Priem at spriem@hotmail.com.


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Kristan Dael is a freelance writer and the alter ego of Jennifer Mccammon. She lives in Portland with her pups, and strives to produce articles that inform, edify, engage and entertain.

Tips for a safe Halloween

  1. Keep candy out of reach, especially if it contains chocolate or xylitol (common in sugar-free candies and gum);

  2. Make sure your pet has a microchip, collar and ID tag in case of escape;

  3. Keep lit candles/jack-o-lanterns and glow sticks/jewelry out of reach

  4. If putting your pet in costume, make sure it fits properly, is comfortable, doesn't have any pieces easily chewed off, and doesn't interfere with your pet's sight, hearing, breathing, opening its mouth, or moving. Give your pet time to get accustomed to the costume before Halloween, and never leave your him or her unsupervised while in costume;

  5. If your pet is wary of strangers or might bite from stress or fear, put him/her in another room during trick-or-treating hours;

  6. Keep your pet inside. 

Excepted from a public service courtesy of the AVMA.

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Land Rover’s gone to the dogs

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Land Rover recently announced that it is launching a range of premium Pet Packs to help Land Rover owners’ four-legged friends travel in the lap of luxury.

Each Pet Pack includes accessories to suit a range of requirements, including a premium quilted load space liner to protect against paw prints, a foldable pet carrier, an access ramp, a spill-resistant water bowl, and portable rinse system for muddy walks.

Grant a boon to human and canine seniors

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Love is in the air for senior dogs and older adults at the Oregon Humane Society, thanks to a recent grant from The Grey Muzzle Organization, a national nonprofit, to help rehome more dogs ages seven and older. Through the grant, adoption fees will be waived for all senior dogs adopted by adults 60 and older during OHS’s Senior Tuesday.

By offering these senior dogs with their adoption fee waived, OHS will be able to transfer in more senior dogs from partner shelters, giving them a second chance at a loving home.

“We are very grateful for this grant from The Grey Muzzle Organization,” says Sharon Harmon, OHS President and CEO. “This will give more senior dogs the chance to find a loving home with an older adult.”

Learn more about OHS’s Senior Tuesday and see adoptable pets at oregonhumane.org/adopt/adoption-specials.

House members say “no” to horse slaughter

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The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund released a statement applauding the 218 Representatives — constituting a majority of the US House — who have signed on as sponsors and cosponsors of the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act to bring an end to the export and slaughter of American equines for human consumption. With broad bipartisan support, the bill aims to protect our nation’s equines from the cruel and predatory horse slaughter industry, which is opposed by an overwhelming majority of Americans, enriches a tiny handful of profiteers and places all equine companions at risk. 

“We commend these federal legislators who have taken a stand with most Americans who view our horses as partners in work, recreation and sport, and as cultural icons for the crucial role they’ve played in our nation’s history,” said Kitty Block, acting president and CEO of the HSUS. “With a bipartisan majority supporting the bill, we urge House leadership to put the SAFE Act on the suspension calendar for a vote soon, and the Senate to follow suit.”

New app connects pet owners, caregivers

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The TrustedHousesitters app is a new way for pet parents to connect with caring, verified house and pet sitters who are willing to take care of pets for free. Available on the App Store, the app is free to download and enables owners and sitters to connect and stay in touch, no matter where they are in the world. 

Timed to celebrating the app’s launch, TrustedHousesitters compiled culminated a top 100 list, after two years of polling animal lovers in 130 countries about their favorite pet-friendly destinations. Several Oregon venues made the list, including Multnomah Falls, along with several Portland-area cafés — Bipartisan Cafe, Fleur de Lis Bakery & Café, and Barista Café.  

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Bipartisan was the most popular with animal lovers surveyed, ranking #59. Fleur de Lis ranked #62, and Barista ranked #86.  

Greg, Manager of the Fleur de Lis, said, “Dogs and other pets are always welcome . . . . They are considered to be just as important as our human customers. Our patio is comfortable for your pet year round”. 

Also making the list at #95 is Mark Ridges Winery, where pet lovers can soak up the views, live music and wine, while their pooch plays with the two resident Golden Retrievers. 

Tim Lyons, managing director of TrustedHousesitters said: “We are extremely proud of the pet-friendly cafes in Portland, they have put Oregon on the map as a pet-loving state. All four coffee shops and restaurants have had numerous recommendations.” 

See the full list of the 100 most pet-friendly places in the world at trustedhousesitters.com/top-pet-friendly-places.

New green groomer rolls in

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Local marketing professional Greg Robeson has closed his longtime agency to follow two of his greatest passions: dogs and the environment.

Oct 1, Robeson launched Green Whiskers, an earth-friendly mobile pet salon featuring technology that uses up to 90% less water than traditional methods. He began planning the business last year after attempting to schedule mobile grooming for his family’s Golden Retriever, Sally.

After receiving a call-back from just one groomer — which was booked for months — Robeson researched and confirmed a need for more local mobile groomers. He also discovered a grooming system that injects cleaning solution directly onto the fur and skin and then suctions the moisture, using less than one gallon of water (traditional shampooing can use up to 10). Best of all, the technology feels like a massage.

Robeson is committed to a calm, pampering canine experience and outstanding results thanks to an award-winning show groomer. Also in the wings —grain-free vegan cookies that in tests are getting great reviews.

Following the launch of Green Whiskers, Robeson plans to add more mobile salons in the coming years. In support of this, he is hosting a unique GoFundMe campaign, seeking a total of $15,000 from 30 dog lovers who will receive a year’s worth of free grooming.

Learn more at greenwhiskers.com.

Yes! Yes! to Nono the foster dad

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We’re head over tails for this member of Spot Magazine’s extended family. Meet Nono, the French Bulldog and foster dad extraordinaire.

When Nono’s mom isn’t creating artwork and breed profiles for Spot’s “Matchmaker” series, Megan Noes is managing the kitten nursery at New York City’s ASPCA. During kitten season, when itty-bitty orphans fill the cages, Megan often takes her adorable work home with her.

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That’s how she discovered Nono’s superpower. “I didn't know if he'd do well with kittens because he likes to roughhouse and is very interested in adult cats he sees,” Megan says. “But we tried it with him on leash and he was very polite. So we just kept them supervised and he does great with them. Now they are his little buds!”

Now a treasured part of the shelter’s life-saving team, Nono has fostered six litters — 17 tiny kittens in all. His gift has also made him a media darling — in recent months he’s been celebrated by national news outlets and humans everywhere, including all of us at Spot.

Photo credits:  ASPCA

Get your costume ready

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Vancouver’s Furry Friends cat rescue has a plan for this year’s fundraiser that could fill your Instagram feed. Organizers at the all-volunteer rescue encourage guests to attend in costumes that celebrate the historical spirit of the legendary Three Musketeers — but with a feline flair.

The fundraiser, happening Saturday, Sept 15 at Vancouver’s Firstenburg Community Center, supports operating costs for and improvements to the rescue’s recently purchased Halfway House, which expanded shelter capacity. 

Whiskers, swords, and costumes are optional, but registration is required. Get tickets and details at FurryFriendsWA.org.