The Wide Angle: The best stories are those with cats

Published 5:42 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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Sometimes, I have to wonder if I do stories on the Mower County Humane Society because of the important work they do or because I need a break from life.

Of course, the Humane Society is an important organization in town, putting in hours upon hours upon hours of volunteer work to ensure that dogs and cats find places in loving homes with loving people who will treat them the way they deserve to be treated.

At the same time, there is a stress release to being out there as well, like Monday when I visited to take pictures for the story I hope you read relating to their fundraising goals for its catio expansion project.

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The picture taking started as it normally does, looking for cats in adorable poses that will make you, dear reader, go “awww.” But inevitably the same thing always happens. I sat down and played with the kitty kats.

I know. I’m a sucker.

After about five minutes of “studious” work taking pictures, I sat my 50-year-old butt on the concrete beneath the spring sun and waited for the cats to come.

Usually, a visitor comes wandering around pretty quickly upon getting to the Humane Society, not because I’m some cat whisperer but because with so many cats out there, a few of them are inevitably friendly or curious enough to come see what the new guy is doing. This one followed me for a time and once down on the concrete he circled and accepted the attention I was more than happy to dole out.

It’s not uncommon to sit down when I’m out there to better get to their level and end up with a cat on my lap, just like it’s not uncommon for it to completely derail why I’m there in the first place. More than a few times I’ve felt some guilt as volunteers go about their hard work while the photographer is supposedly working.

My second friend came up to me as I was leaving and made a fairly good case for me not leaving, but ultimately, the job did call and so I had to depart, somewhat fortunately without another cat.

I’ve always been an ardent supporter of what the Humane Society does, mostly because of my own background of owning cats throughout my time growing up and now with our own two pains in the … I mean our two lovely angels of furry companionship.

But I’ve also discovered how low my stress goes when I visit for one story or another. Again, I have the benefit of not actually doing any of the work out there, though Kelly Rush has more than once offered to change that. One of these days I fully expect to not leave when I say I am.

The downside of this is that I always come upon at least two or three cats I would love to take home if we didn’t already have two cats at home that would hate us both for introducing new “friends” into the mix.

Buster already looks at me strangely, almost accusingly, when I stop home after a visit to the Humane Society. He will come wandering up to me, happy I’m home and twist about my legs as I reach down to pet him.

It ends when he gets a sniff and I get this look that seems to say, “Waiiiitt a minute. I know that smell. What have you been up to?

Then he walks away in what I can only assume is a dismissive wave of his tale like he can’t be bothered to be associated with a traitor such as myself who has already helped welcome another into the house he sees as little more than another chew toy.

At the same time, all of this has started to form an idea in my head. I wonder if the Humane Society could use a professional distraction. Somebody willing to do the grueling work of sitting on the floor and playing with cats in order for the kennels to be easier cleaned.

I’m already a professional loafer, so why not play with a cat to make it all the more purposeful?

It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.