The Ministry of Sticky the Kitty

Last fall, Chuck and Mikee Hawley were nursing their beloved dog, Jojo, through his final weeks of life. Between his age and illness, they knew the gentle black dog wouldn’t be with them much longer. They were making the most of their time with Jojo, while also thinking about the empty space his death would leave in their home and family.

They had thought about adopting a cat. “Sometimes I’d joke with my granddaughter that we were just going to go out and find a cat,” Chuck Hawley says. “But really, we knew that cats find people. If we waited, a cat would find us.”

But he never could have anticipated the way his next cat would find him. One October morning, Hawley was making his way through rainy commuter traffic on his way from his home in Silverton to his job at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Salem. On the road in front of him, a tiny helpless kitten huddled dangerously close to passing cars. Hawley’s first thought was, why isn’t the kitten moving?

He pulled over to help, and he made a chilling discovery. The kitten was covered in sticky, industrial-type glue. His tail was stuck painfully to his side. His feet were stuck to the pavement. The kitten’s front paws lifted easily from the road. But his hind legs stretched from the strain as his back paws refused to release. “I decided to pick at the edge of the glue,” he remembers, “and that’s how I got him loose. The glue came up from the pavement. We took the glue with us.”

“I’m a surfer. I used to run through crazy what-if scenarios in my head,” Hawley recalls. “I’d think, What if a whale surfaced right below my surfboard and lifted me up? What if that group of mongooses attacked me? I have an imagination. But I never thought, what if I found a kitten glued to the road?”

Hawley, who only had about 100 Facebook friends, posted there about his unusual discovery. Then he called his wife, Mikee, and said he was on his way to the vet’s to have the kitten cared for. Mikee posted on their neighborhood website that Chuck had found a stray kitten glued to the street, and the media caught wind of the story. By the time Chuck and the kitten arrived at the veterinary clinic, TV news reporters were on the phone asking for interviews.

The story of the sticky kitten made international news and swelled Hawley’s Facebook following to 1,700. He received messages from people around the world who said Sticky’s story inspired them to reconnect to lost relatives or offer help to strangers in need.

“I don’t think I did anything different,” Hawley says, remembering how the flood of attention caught him off guard. “All I can think is that the cars in front of me didn’t see him, or they thought he was already dead. Who wouldn’t stop and help? Anyone can do something nice. It’s changed me. It changed my whole outlook on everything.”

It’s changed his family’s life as well. Mikee started a dedicated Facebook page for Sticky. The kitten now has 37,000 followers. Then the couple wondered how they could each help keep the kindness flowing.

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Chuck had always wanted to write a children’s book. “I wanted to talk to kids about bullying. That came from a really rough 5th grade year I had. I always wanted to go talk to kids about things like that. But,” he laughs, “it turns out they won’t just let any guy roll into the school and talk to your kids about stuff.” He realized that Sticky and his story could help spread the message of kindness in a uniquely kid-friendly way. Hawley – a facilities maintenance coordinator at the Kroc Center – penned an inspiring children’s book in under two months. An artist friend illustrated it.

Mikee realized she could use her background in nonprofit management and accounting. “A friend had started a fundraiser to help pay for Jojo’s treatment,” she recalls. When they finally said goodbye to their beloved black dog in November, the donations were still coming in because of the excitement over Sticky.

Thanks to the helpless kitten and his unlikely rescue, Chuck Hawley is now a published author and motivational speaker. Mikee Hawley commutes to her accounting job in Portland every day and returns to Silverton in the evening to fill orders for Sticky t-shirts and hats and – appropriately enough – sticky notes. Every penny goes into a nonprofit fund. “It really started off just promoting random acts of kindness. Then I wanted to help low-income families pay for spay and neuter surgeries for their pets,” she says. They’ve sent pet food and kitten formula to individuals and rescue organizations. “As long as it’s doing good, we’ll just keep doing that.”

It’s now a ministry of sorts, carried out by unlikely ministers. “My boss is a pastor. He calls me a spiritual mutt,” Chuck jokes. The couple who practice no formal religion saw an opportunity to spread the universal message of all religions. “We really want to spread kindness. That’s our religion. Just be nice. Just take care of each other,” Mikee adds.

Sticky seems unaffected by his frequent public appearances and the charitable foundation that bears his name. He naps with the family’s newly adopted black dog, and in the evening he pounces on the boxes and packing materials while his parents prepare shipments of Sticky merchandise. Visit https://stickythekittyfoundation.org

They planned none of it, but they want to keep it going as long as possible. “Like my grandma used to say,” Chuck adds, “’I guess you’re buying your angel wings.’”

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.

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.

Hermione

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This pretty little white and marmalade senior needs a second chance.  Her foster mom says her super-sweet disposition makes her a wonderful companion.  She loves to snuggle in bed at night!  Hermione has no health issues.  Like many older gals her vision isn't what it once was but she does just fine.  She has great house manners, which is perfect as she should be an indoor-only kitty.  She will do best in an adult home, and she only really needs YOU to be truly happy.  

Hermione is currently on minor food additives to help her eyes remain strong.  She is an easy keeper and she enjoys canned food and quality kibble.  She can be adopted through our Seniors 4 Seniors adoption program.  We love our sweet senior gal and know she has many years of companionship still to share with you.   Will you be the one she gives her heart to? For additional info contact Cat's Cradle Rescue 503-320-6079.

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!!

Kit Kat

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This pretty year-old girl has had a rough start as a homeless young mom. Healthy and now spayed, she is cautious at first, but soon craving your attention. Kit Kat will talk to you, and loves pets and lap time.  After what she endured she’s still a bit skittish, so an adult -only home will be best, and being your one and only princess would be her happy place!  Kit Kat says she’ll give you all her love! To learn more about her or make a date, contact Cat's Cradle Rescue at 503-320-6079.

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.

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.