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.

Cat Named Andy Shares “Deep Thoughts” in Portland, Oregon

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Adopted cat Andy is the star of punny window paintings

(Sherwood, OR)—When Portland, Ore., resident Hayley Cassatt adopted her cat Andy from the Cat Adoption Team (CAT) in 2011, she had no plans to make Andy a star. In fact, she hadn’t anticipated adopting Andy at all.

“I was looking around for a male orange kitty, and Andy didn’t quite fit my match,” says Hayley, “But when I saw her I fell in love.”

Although Andy was “a little scared and a little weird,” the two made an instant connection. It felt like love at first sight, but Hayley wanted a second opinion before committing to Andy. She called her dad.

“I said, ‘Dad, I can’t leave without this cat; she’s my baby,’” Hayley recalls. “He said to go for it, so I took her home.”

It wasn’t the first time Hayley had looked to her father for support. The two were quite close, sharing a love of puns, cartoons, and—of course—cats. An award-winning photographer, designer, and cartoonist, Hayley’s father also considered himself a “cat butler” to the Cassatt family cats. When he passed away from cancer in 2013, Hayley wanted to do something unique in his honor.

“Andy always sits in this window and I thought it would be so great if I put up some puns as an homage to my father,” Hayley shares.

An art teacher and professional artist herself, Hayley put up Andy’s first “deep thought” in the window of her home in Southeast Portland. Since then, she’s continued to create window art with Andy as the centerpiece. When she noticed passers-by taking photos, she started an Instagram account (instagram.com/deepthoughtsbyandy) so that people could see more of Andy and tag her in their posts.

Hayley says she usually picks puns or topical sayings for the window. Things like holidays, current events, and pop culture inspire the artwork, which changes every couple of weeks.

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Hayley doesn’t publicize her address, but enjoys when people happen upon her window, smile, and take photographs of Andy. Some people even seek out the special window just to see what Andy’s been thinking.

“My dad would have really loved how excited people are,” she says. “It really makes me happy to pay him tribute.”

In addition to honoring her father, Hayley likes the chance to be playful with her cat too. Her advice to others seeking a feline companion is to “do something fun with them.” She adds that it’s important to adopt. “There’s a lot of cats out there that don’t have homes. I don’t feel like a home is a home without a cat.”

As for how Andy feels about all the attention? Well, you’ll just have to find her window and see for yourself!

Room to Roam

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Keeping cats and wildlife safe — in style

We love our feline companions. So much so that it’s easy to forget they are natural predators, and those hunter instincts have can deadly consequences for other feathered and furry creatures in the neighborhood.

The Portland-area Audubon Society reports that nearly half of the injured wildlife cases brought to its welfare centers involve cat-related injuries. To help address this issue, the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon, Portland Audubon Society, and Portland-area humane societies and animal shelters partner in an annual Catio Tour.

Now in its 6th year, the Catio Tour is a tour of homes showcasing enclosures created to provide safe spaces for cats to enjoy much-needed outdoor time while protecting wildlife and songbirds.

“We’re not saying keep your cat indoors,” insists FCCO Executive Director Karen Kraus. The goal of the Catio Tour is to inspire people to build their own catio. Protected outdoor spaces for cats, Kraus says, are a win-win. Catios protect pets from cars, birds of prey, and coyotes. Kraus points out that cats can also be preyed upon.

Catio tours are still a new idea, Kraus says, but similar events have caught on in other communities such as Seattle and Santa Cruz. The first year of the tour in Portland, organizers didn’t know what to expect. But signups were overwhelming, and this year’s tour will have about a thousand attendees viewing around a dozen Catios. “Many people try to see them all,” Kraus says, while some opt to visit select properties.

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Kraus hopes the biggest takeaway from the self-guided tour is that it doesn’t take a lot of money to create appropriate outdoor experiences for family cats. The goal is to inspire people to build their own backyard feline spaces.

Catio budgets range “from frugal to fabulous, DIY to designer,” Kraus says. “If you don’t have a lot of money you can build a catio.” Some are elaborate, with elevated areas and diverse sources of stimuli. Others are simple, chicken coop-like structures on a back porch.

“It doesn’t have to be expensive,” Kraus assures. “This is stuff you can do at home. Whatever you can envision you can afford.” Almost all catios are built from supplies available at most hardware, garden or farm-supply outlets.

The Catio Tour is a natural for a community that cares about nature and the environment. Kraus hopes attendees will come away from the tour with the feeling that anyone can help cats and wildlife share a better balance. “All of us play a role in this,” she says.

Portland Catio Tour * Saturday, Sept 8 * $10; benefits FCCO * feralcats.com.


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William Kennedy is a freelance writer who lives with his wife and daughter in downtown Eugene, Oregon. He's had many furry friends in his lifetime. Currently, he's tolerated by a black cat named Midnight.

CAT Celebrates 20 Years, 44,000 Adoptions

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It was May 1, 1998, when a few hearty souls opened Cat Adoption Team in Sherwood, OR. The fledgling nonprofit had 35 adoptable cats and a vision to save lives.

The vision became reality: this summer, on its 20th anniversary, CAT celebrates 44,000 cats’ lives saved, and a community far different from the one that existed in 1998.

For years, Portland-area communities were overburdened with lost, stray, and feral cats. Shelter euthanasia rates were high.

Today, Portland is a beacon for the nation, with high adoption and sterilization rates, thanks in large part to the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland. Since CAT and other member organizations formed ASAP in 2006, the community’s shelter euthanasia rates have dropped 90%.

In its 21st year, CAT plans to home another 3,300 cats, with an emphasis on helping elderly or under-socialized cats find forever homes. The shelter highlights its first two decades in a photo album at catadoptionteam.org/20years, and executive director Karen Green says, “We can’t wait to see what the next 20 years will bring!”

Cat Adoption Team celebrates 20 years of saving lives

May 1 marks 20th anniversary for local animal shelter

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[April 26, 2018 – Sherwood, Ore.] — This May, the Cat Adoption Team (CAT) will celebrate its 20th year of saving the lives of homeless cats and kittens.

With 35 cats for adoption and a dream to save more lives, CAT opened its doors in Sherwood, Ore., on May 1, 1998. Today, CAT is the largest feline-only nonprofit animal shelter in the Pacific Northwest and has found homes for more than 44,000 cats and kittens.

When CAT first came on the scene in the late 1990s, Portland and its surrounding communities were overrun with lost, stray, and abandoned cats. Euthanasia rates were high. Adoption numbers were low. Homeless cats had limited options.

Working collaboratively with other animal shelters, rescue groups, and veterinarians—and with the support the local community—CAT has helped transform the Portland metro area into one of the safest communities in the nation for homeless cats.

By the end of its first year, CAT had found homes for 219 cats. The adoption numbers and shelter population more than doubled in 1999. In 2002, CAT became the first animal shelter in the Pacific Northwest to open an onsite veterinary hospital. And the organization has continued to advance each year.

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Though the shelter location hasn’t changed, the facility has undergone countless improvements. CAT upgraded from particle board and Plexiglas to stainless steel cat kennels in the mid-2000s. Later, in 2014, additional housing improvement gave twice as much space to each cat. The organization continues to make changes in response to advances in veterinary medicine and animal sheltering.

Over the past 20 years, cats’ lives have been saved and human lives have been enriched by the 44,319 adoptions from CAT.

“All of this has been made possible by the generosity and caring of adopters, volunteers, donors, and other partners in our community,” says Karen Green, CAT’s executive director. “We can’t wait to see what the next 20 years will bring!”

Helping cats in need remains at the core of all that CAT does. This year, the organization plans to increase its support for senior cats, under-socialized kittens, and cats with other health or behavior concerns. What’s more, CAT hopes to help another 3,300 cats and kittens find loving new homes by the end of 2018.
CAT invites you to celebrate the memories by viewing our 20th Anniversary Photo Album online at catadoptionteam.org/20years.

A Brief History of CAT

1998 – CAT opens on May 1 with 35 cats for adoption

2000 – 1,000th cat is adopted

2002 – CAT opens onsite veterinary hospital, making it the first shelter in Oregon to open such a clinic

2004 – Organization receives official 501(c)(3) nonprofit designation

2005 – Kitten foster program is formalized with the hire of first foster coordinator

2006 – CAT and other local animal organizations form the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland (ASAP)

2008 – ASAP’s Spay & Save low-cost public spay/neuter program become available at CAT

2009 – CAT reaches 20,000th adoption

2011 – Thrift Store Benefitting the Cat Adoption Team opens

2012 – A burst pipe floods the shelter and CAT undertakes an extensive remodel

2014 – CAT adds portals to its kennels, doubling—and in some cases tripling—each cat’s space

2016 – 40,000th adoption takes place

2017 – With grant funding, CAT purchases its first transport vehicle

2018 – CAT celebrates 20th anniversary

ABOUT CAT ADOPTION TEAM
The Cat Adoption Team (CAT) is the Pacific Northwest’s largest nonprofit, feline-only shelter committed to finding a home for every cat it takes in. CAT’s mission is to save the lives of homeless cats and to work with our community to provide feline expertise and quality programs and services for people and cats. CAT has found homes for more than 44,000 cats and kittens since opening in May 1998. As a 501(c)(3) publicly supported charity, CAT relies on the generous support of individuals and organizations. For more information, visit catadoptionteam.org.

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Try yoga with cats

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New year’s fitness resolution flagging? 

Try yoga with cats

Yoga is about being in the moment.

And nobody does that like a cat.

In recent years Portland area cat lovers have been able to see this truth in action, at yoga with cats classes offered at Purringtons Cat Lounge (home of the Meowmosa), and Animal Aid shelter for homeless pets.

Yoga with cats adds furry charm, zenful energy and playfulness to the feel-good factor of your practice. You might call it Meowga.

The experience has plenty of spontaneity. One cat might play-target a ponytail while another skitters across the gleaming studio floor around the mats. Still another feline drapes across a human outstretched in downward dog while another’s voice accompanies the instructor’s. Across the way a 20-lb furball lounges on a student’s chest. Whatever they’re up to, you can be sure that for cat lovers, felines take the zen of yoga to new heights.

Behind the fun, those hosting the classes hope that people drawn to them might just be moved to adopt a homeless kitty. Rescue professionals say that seeing cats outside the shelter environment makes it easier for people to envision them as home companions.

 Courtesy of Purrington's Cat Lounge

Courtesy of Purrington's Cat Lounge

And whether you’re a beginner or advanced yoga student, instructors at both locales make classes enjoyable and accessible for all.

At Purringtons, both kitties and people “absolutely love it,” says owner Kristen Castillo. “It’s nice and quiet, and if there are any shy kitties hanging out in the back room they will often come out just to see what’s up. The cats always love visitors, and there is always an emotional benefit from being in the presence of cats.”

Rachelle Grant and her daughter caught a Purringtons cat yoga class while visiting from Vancouver BC.

“It was awesome,” says Rachel Grant. “It was a highlight of our trip. My daughter and I try to find cat cafes or cat rescues when we travel, and this was so much fun. We fully expected to like the cats, and we were so pleasantly surprised to love the yoga class too. The teacher was excellent, and her assistants were "purrfect". I wish all my yoga classes had cats!”

 Courtesy of Animal Aid

Courtesy of Animal Aid

Animal Aid’s monthly yoga class is held at “our main free-roam cat room, which holds the largest number of our adoptables,” says Paige O'Rourke, Animal Aid Director of Operations. “Our kitties definitely get curious when they see the yoga mats roll out. Some like to roam around, weaving between participants as they hold their various poses. Others plop right down on the mats and make themselves at home. Of course, some observe from a distance.”

After class there’s time for playtime and visits with kitties throughout the shelter.

“Regardless of skill level, everyone is brought together by their love of cats and their desire to enjoy their company,” O’Rourke says. “Their participation directly benefits homeless animals by helping pay for their daily care needs, including high-quality food, medications, and vet checkups.”

Sounds purr-fect.


 

 

 

Yoga with Cats at Animal Aid

Find your center (and a little cat hair) by joining adoptable kitty Harriet (a yoga and parkour champ) and her friends at the Animal Aid shelter for Yoga with Cats! taught by Yoga NW instructor Bonny Chipman. Guests should take a mat and arrive at the shelter at 11:45am. Next class Feb. 18 noon-1pm. Preregistration required, space is limited.

Animal Aid 5335 SW 42nd Ave Portland | 503-292-6628 | animalaidpdx.org

Purr Yoga at Purringtons Cat Lounge

Cat Yoga started shortly after Purringtons’ opening in January 2015. Sessions run 6:30-7:30pm; with a half hour to hang out with the kitties. Teachers Alicia Johnson and Heather Klawender.

Drop in? You MIGHT luck out. “It depends. If we have an opening, we happily welcome walk-ins and have a few yoga mats for those who show up sans their own mat,” Castillo offered.

Purringtons 3529 NE Martin Luther King Blvd | 503-334-3570 | purringtonscatlounge.com


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Christy Caballero writes from the heart about all things pet-related, from a couple deer trails off the beaten path, typically juggling a cat (or two) on her lap as black kitty AsTar teeters on her shoulder and Mojo the retired Greyhound quietly calls for reinforcements!!

In Memory of Phyllis Johanson

"The brilliant person is the person who does brilliant things and tells no one." ~ author unknown

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Portland lost a real jewel of the animal community recently, when Phyllis Johanson passed away peacefully at her home, high in the West Hills, her husband of 62 years, George, at her side and her beloved cat Buster sleeping on her feet.

Born in 1925 in Sutton, Canada, Phyllis met her future husband George in 1955 in Ixmiquilpan, Hildalgo, Mexico, where they were both missionaries working to improve the conditions of the local people.

One day, George and Phyllis bonded over a kitten. Someone had tarred the poor kitten, and the two worked for days to save him.

George jokes about what occurred two weeks later. "I asked her to marry me. She said, ‘Do you like cats?’ I said yes, of course." Two weeks later they got hitched and soon established their home in Portland.

George says he saw a harbinger of his wife's soon to be vocation when a friend brought over two homeless kittens for Phyllis to choose from. Phyllis took both, and created clever hammocks out of a wooden clothes rack. Soon the Johansons had 10 cats, most found by their young son, Aaron.

Phyllis began a long and successful series of campaigns feeding feral cats around Portland. One location: the bushes in the parking lot of the City Club. For a year and a half, George drove Phyllis (who didn't drive) there every night around midnight. An accomplished artist, George says they supported each other throughout their 62 years together; Phyllis attended all his openings and inspired much of his work.

Phyllis found a new colony of needy cats at PGE Ballpark. She managed to arrange for the spay, neuter, and feeding of dozens of them. Working with the park managers, Phyllis convinced them the cats were a great asset, keeping the rodent population down. Once, she even went on the field to feed a cat during a game!

Phyllis then took her own game to a whole new level, joining forces with local vet, Dr. Ralph Plomondon, who was as passionate about pet overpopulation as she was. They worked together to change the status quo, the massive euthanasia numbers at local shelters at the time. They founded The Responsible Pet Ownership Council and did groundbreaking work, including printing and distributing low-cost spay and neuter coupons.

For about 10 years George says Phyllis gave her phone number to anyone who had pet problems. She spent hundreds of hours on the phone, day and night, counseling folks. She always said, "It is a people problem not a pet problem." George remembers one piece of advice Phyllis gave a person troubled by a barking dog next door. "Bake some cookies," she said, “and go over and talk to your neighbor and tell them their dog is lovely, but barks a bit." George still has dozens of notebooks filled with notes about Phyllis’s many cases.

Long before computers, Phyllis would spend hours on the phone, newspaper in front of her, matching lost and found pets and reuniting many pets and their people.

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Her helping heart and hands went beyond animals. Residing near the Vista Bridge (once known as Suicide Bridge), she would see folks ready to jump, and fly down the block to speak with them. She gave some a bit of cash, telling them to go get cleaned up. They always did.

Lisa Brown Sandmire, a volunteer with FRiends of Shelter Animals, another of Phyllis's projects, says, "The first time I met Phyllis at her home was so eye-opening for me. It was heartening to know there were people like that in the world. She was so plugged into the agencies and really knew how to get things done for animals."

Vida Lohnes, good friend and animal advocate, had a similar take. "In the ‘90s and beyond, I could always turn to Phyllis, look up to her, and consult with her. She had so many great ideas and was constantly testifying at agencies and hearings. One thing she always told me was to help animals, go local. She was practical, no nonsense. She was such a force.”

The list of Phyllis's accomplishments is huge, and we will never truly know all the amazing things she did, for people and animals. Very tight lipped, Phyllis never touted her accomplishments. But those lucky enough to know her knew, and so did she.


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Born in Washington, Connie Theil loves greyhounds, donkeys, cats, parrots, dogs, and crows. Now retired, Connie studies the Weimar Republic, gardens, refurnishes old furniture, rescues cats and dogs, and visits her son in Boston.

Katie

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This beautiful 2-year-old dilute calico needs to be an only kitty. An independent soul with a heart of gold, Katie loves boxes and lounging around. Katie is can very active and seeks attention, but also does great on her own or finding a new box to explore. Ping pong and bouncy balls are personal favs, and as cats will do, she sometimes prefers quiet “me time.” Katie currently lives in an office at CAT, to which she adjusted really well. She’ll blossom even more with a family and home of her own! Could that be with you? Meet Katie at Cat Adoption Team’s Sherwood shelter at 14175 SW Galbreath Drive503-925-8903 | catadoptionteam.org.

Petco Foundation awards $30,000 to Cat Adoption Team

Lifesaving grant will extend efforts to provide quality care to shelter cats

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[December 21, 2017 – Portland, OR] —The Cat Adoption Team (CAT), located in Sherwood, Ore., announced today that it has been awarded a $30,000 grant from Petco Foundation to support veterinary care for shelter cats and save more feline lives.

CAT is the largest feline-only nonprofit animal shelter in the Pacific Northwest. Since its founding in 1998, the organization has helped more than 43,000 homeless cats and kittens find loving new families.

The Petco Foundation investment will help CAT to provide critical veterinary and behavior care to cats in need by funding expenses such as medical supplies, lab fees, behavior counseling, and staff support.

“The cats who most critically need our help often have special medical and behavioral needs,” shares Karen Green, executive director of CAT. “This generous grant from Petco Foundation will help us save the lives of cats who need surgery, hospitalization for illness, or other treatment prior to adoption. And it will support staff expenses for our CAT Helpline, which provides advice and resources to keep cats in their homes.”

Funds from this grant will also help offset the costs of CAT’s signature events, Kitten Palooza and Whisker Wonderland.

For more information about Cat Adoption Team or the Petco Foundation, visit catadoptionteam.org or www.petcofoundation.org. Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter and Instagram or by using the hashtag #PetcoFoundation.

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ABOUT CAT ADOPTION TEAM
The Cat Adoption Team (CAT) is the Pacific Northwest’s largest nonprofit, feline-only shelter committed to finding a home for every cat it takes in. CAT’s mission is to save the lives of homeless cats and to work with our community to provide feline expertise and quality programs and services for people and cats. CAT has found homes for more than 43,000 cats and kittens since opening in May 1998. As a 501(c)(3) publicly supported charity, CAT relies on the generous support of individuals and organizations. For more information, visitcatadoptionteam.org.

Roadside 
service cats repair spirits

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You know those pithy bits of wisdom we love to hate when we’re having a bad day? Like the saying about a silver lining on every cloud? Three Portland felines don work vests and traverse area highways every day to prove those sayings true.

The feline siblings, Pixie Cat, Dixie Belle, and Sylvan Jinx, show local motorists that a flat on I-205 or a dead battery in the Gorge needn’t ruin a day. They roll with Jesse Dorsett, owner of Jesse’s Roadside Rescue, whose job is changing tires and jump-starting batteries. The cats’ job is cheering the sidelined motorists.

“They really are part of the team,” says Jesse, who has taken his cats along since they were kittens. They were just a few weeks old when he moved to Portland from California. “On that road trip, I realized they do really well in a car,” he says. By the time he’d started his business, Jesse’s cats were pros on the road. “I decided it was my business and I could take them along if I want.” The cats wear yellow vests and leashes on the job, and their images grace the company’s logo and advertising.

Originally an accountant, Jesse’s roadside business follows a long family history. “The Dorsett men working in the transportation business goes back to my great-great-grandfather who, with his brother, ran and operated a stagecoach in South Texas. I am an accountant who likes to rebuild cars.  I studied the double entry system of accounting about the same time I studied ignition systems.”

 Dixie Belle posing in front of the Bridge of the Gods

Dixie Belle posing in front of the Bridge of the Gods

Early on, Jesse found the cats helped do more than pass the time on the road. “There was one lady with a flat near the fast lane on I-205, by the grass median, and traffic was heavy,” he recalls. “She was crying and really stressed out. I said, ‘Hey, do you want to meet my cat?’” Sylvan Jinx visited with the frazzled driver, comforting her with his slinky black feline coolness. Soon the woman’s spirits were repaired, right along with her tire.

 Mr. Jinx enjoying the ride on the dash

Mr. Jinx enjoying the ride on the dash

Dixie Belle, a gray and white patched Tabby, performed a service miracle for another customer. “She had a flat tire, and she expected a tow truck,” says Jesse. “I didn’t come to tow her; I just came to change her tire. She was a little grumpy about that.” But Jesse says the woman’s mood changed when he asked if she wanted to visit with his cat. “She was happy right away,” he laughs.

For customers who find themselves stranded, Jesse’s cats immediately lighten the mood. Sometimes people have waited an hour or more, growing more frustrated by the minute, and when cats come to their rescue, “it can really make their day,” he says.

Customers agree, posting reviews like: "Best roadside service cat ever!"

 Pixie and Mr. Jinx (Haylee holding him) at the Casino in Warm Springs during the eclipse.

Pixie and Mr. Jinx (Haylee holding him) at the Casino in Warm Springs during the eclipse.

For Jesse, who’s on call 24 hours a day, his feline coworkers keep him healthy and sane. “They know what’s up,” he says. “They know when I have people sign their paperwork and I give them a copy, the job is done. And then they know we get to go for a walk. We find a place with trees and we go for a walk.”

Few tales of businesses give so many reasons to smile. “My predilection for auto mechanics, driving, helping people in need, and spending quality time with my fur babies have all come together very conveniently in this business I have worked my way into. Needless to say, I keep good detailed books and do my own taxes.”


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