Monday, September 5, 2011

10 Working Cats Worth More Than Their Weight in Kibble

This Labor Day, we salute 10 hardworking felines who earn their keep through a variety of occupations that keep their bosses happy, and their food bowls full!

1. Cooper: Photographer Cat

Cooper's humans wondered what he was up to all day, so they attached a small camera around his neck before sending him out on his daily adventures. What he brought back was not only an impressive record of his whereabouts, but also a truly spectacular array of photographs, that now sell for upwards of $200 each at art galleries.

Now, Cooper has his own book and website, has been featured on Must Love Cats, and even has a popular Facebook page that recently hit 75,000 fans!

2. Super Stationmaster Tama

Tama the cat rose to fame in 2007 when she became the stationmaster at Kishi Station in Konokawa, Wakayama, Japan. Not only did her presence revitalize the nearly defunct train line, it also pumped a reported 10 million dollars into the local economy by tourists who flock to the station to get a glimpse of her. Tama wears her own uniform, sits in her own office, and even had a custom train car modeled after her, complete with her cartoonish image on it, and calico colored seats!

According to her Wikipedia page, Tama was "the only female in a managerial position" at the railroad company when she was promoted to "Super Stationmaster" in 2008, and the first cat to become an executive of a railroad after being promoted again to the position of "Operating Officer" in 2010.

3. Larry the Downing Street Cat

Larry stepped into his role as "Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office" in February, after he was adopted from the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and brought to the British Prime Minister's residence to take care of a reported rodent problem. A spokesperson initially described his qualifications as being a "good ratter" and as having "a high chase-drive and hunting instinct," however his prowess was called into question when it took him over two months to make his first "kill." The four-year-old tabby was making headlines as soon as he arrived at 10 Downing Street, when he scratched a television reporter upon his arrival.

In addition to his mousing duties, Larry is often photographed looking very cute (as seen here, preparing for the Royal Wedding), and even received a pet from President Obama when he met with PM David Cameron in May.

4. Maru

Maru's antics may look like all fun and games, but in reality, the four-year-old Scottish Fold is hard at work building up his massive kitty empire that includes a popular blog, YouTube Channel, and two Japanese language books and DVDs (his first book was recently translated into English).

The cuddly box-addict, who is widely referred to as the most popular cat in the world, has garnered over 100 million views on YouTube, and has the distinction of having the eighth most subscribed and the ninth most viewed YouTube channel of all time in Japan.

5. Matilda the Algonquin Cat

Matilda III, who recently celebrated her debutante ball at the The Algonquin, is just one in a long line of felines who have made their home at the historic New York City hotel. After her predecessor retired last year, the newest Matilda, also a Ragdoll, was selected to take her place as the "Directfurr of Guest Relations".

Matilda is allowed everywhere in the hotel except the kitchen and guest rooms, and lucky patrons can often find her in the hotel's newly renovated lounge area, where they can also order one of her signature cocktails for $20. She also has her own personal assistant who helps her respond to emails, and runs her Facebook page and Twitter account.

Cat enthusiasts who want to book a night at the hotel have the option of reserving the Friends of Matilda package, which includes a personalized welcome letter from the cat herself, along with an Algonquin Cat book and Matilda stuffed animal.

6. C.C. the Alamo Cat

C.C., named after Alamo preservationist Clara Driscoll, has been the resident mouser at The Alamo in San Antonio, TX for well over fourteen years. She first showed up on the grounds as a feral kitty in 1996, but it wasn't until a year later that she was spayed and became "more personable," that she became the official mascot of the historic landmark.

C.C. enjoys posing for pictures with tourists, hanging out at the D.R.T. library, and is abundantly featured in The Alamo gift shop, where you can purchase her image on everything from calenders to a pair of socks.

7. Bodega Cats

Bodega Cats are a hardworking breed of kitty kinfolk who call the corner shops of New York City home. These illegal workers earn their place by keeping pesky vermin at bay, in exchange for food and shelter. Last month, this excellent four minute nature-style documentary emerged, that exposed the triumphs and tribulations of these majestic creatures, whose main predators include Health Department representatives who threaten to evict them.

8. Garden Cats

If you haven't already noticed, "cats as natural pest control" is an emerging theme here, and botanical gardens are just one more place that welcome these furry exterminators with open arms. I met some myself when I visited Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA, and also learned about two more kitties at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, OK who in addition to mouse duty, have also taken up some videography on the side! These garden cats not only get "excellent pay and benefits" for their work, but they also receive medical care, and the promise of a safe haven from living on the streets.

9. Cafe Cats

The first cat cafe opened in Taiwan in 1998, and since then, they've become extremely popular in many Asian countries. For a moderate fee, patrons can order up (sometimes cat-themed) food and drinks, while enjoying the companionship of the cats who inhabit the shops. These working kitties are usually well cared for, and you can pet them, however there are rules in place to protect them, such as no picking them up, or bothering them if they are sleeping.

While health regulations are likely what's keeping these cat cafes out of the Americas, hopefully one day U.S. residents will also know the pleasure of going out for a cup of coffee, with some supervised cat time on the side.

10. Oscar the Grim Reaper Cat

Adopted as a kitten by the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, RI, doctors and nurses quickly learned that Oscar had a knack for knowing when patients were about to die. Stunningly, Oscar's predictions are so accurate that within the span of a year and a half, he accurately predicted the demise of 25 patients, who all passed within four hours of him curling up on their bed. No one knows for sure how he does it, but the ongoing theory is that it's by scent, or by observing the habits of the nurses around him.

Oscar has received a commendation for his work in "compassionate hospice care," and was also the topic of a best-selling memoir, that's reportedly being adapted into a Hollywood film.



Katnip Lounge said...

OK, I am officially around the Crazy Cat Lady bend; I've heard of all of these kitties!

Julia Williams said...

Great post and fab collection of working cats!! I just featured an interview with Cooper the other day on the RPO blog, did you read it? I've also written about Matilda, CC and garden cats, and I just adore Maru!!

AZDeb said...

Love the stories, thank you for putting together this list!

meowmeowmans said...

What a great post! We love stories about working cats. :)

Admiral Hestorb said...

I loved every word. Each and every word. Wish there was more.

Cat Chat With Caren And Cody said...

did you ever think about the fact that most of these top 10 do NOT reside in the U.S.?

Interesting isn't it?

The U.S. has some downright lazy cats!

cuppy said...

You know what would be a cute/fun feature? Clinic cats !!!!! A lot of animal clinics/hospitals have cats resident cats! I worked at one for 8 years when I still lived in Arizona! It was the bestest & most wonderful thing!


MaryMatthews said...

Purrfect Labor Day Post!

Ann Dziemianowicz said...

These kitties should all be proud to be professionals! :)

Your Daily Cute said...

Love this list! Pimp and Moo need to get to work!

Khizzy said...

you know, there was a HOUSE episode based on something like Oscar the grim reaper cat. They figured out that it had to do with the dying patients body temperature or heart rate...cant recall exactly, but i know i saw an episode on this.

portraitsofanimals said...

Thanks for putting this together--it's one to bookmark,even when it's not Labor Day! Some day my feline models will be famous....

Catsparella said...

Thank you all for the wonderful comments! I had a lot of fun putting this post together!

@Cuppy Great idea! :D I will look into that!

Prancer Pie said...

We luf this post! Thanks so much fur sharing it with us.

Iamhere4Apolo said...

I am heading to the Alamo in August! I will look for CC! Maybe we can have our pic taken together!

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