When Jamie Hope Anderson bought Downtown Books in Manteo, NC, the resident cat did not come with bookstore.
After four years of answering “Where’s the cat?” questions, Jamie started working with the Outer Banks SPCA and their foster cat program in May.
“They brought us our first ‘foster’ cat, Sylvester–a 16-year-old tuxedo cat,” says Jamie. “He settled in, we made a flyer highlighting his attributes, and boom, two weeks later he was adopted by a couple from Tennessee.”
After Sylvester moved, 12-year-old sweet Missy came to live at the store. “Because of our demographics, a lot of OBX shelter cats are older companion cats whose humans have passed away or gone into nursing homes,” she says. “After 5 weeks, a woman saw her picture on our Facebook page, drove down from Virginia and adopted her.”
Then came Skipper. “Fifteen pounds of fat gray tom who learned that when the door squeaked it meant new people were coming in and would run to greet them!” He went to Ohio.
“We had a Curious George who had to go back to the shelter for more home training; too young, played too rough,” says Jamie, “then we had Butternut, a 17-pound ginger who was adopted by a local woman.” (Curious George is the one wearing the monkey hat in the collage. It was Curiosity Day.)
Simba–who is ‘drop dead gorgeous’–was adopted last week, but only after she went back to the cathouse for a hurricane party during Matthew. And now they have Sia.
Jamie says that the cats adapt to the store surroundings in about a week. “At first they are stressed from their shelter experience and are pretty meek but about day 6 or 7–bam!–their personality comes out and shines.” The cats are very interactive with customers during the day, but need their quiet time in the evening to unwind.
“As we all know, people love a bookstore cat,” Jamie says. “And as soon as they start paying attention to them I mention that the cat is ‘available’ which lets me explain how we are fostering it. Then they get the warm and fuzzies for us, too.”