Thursday, February 28, 2013

Meet The Two Cat Actors Vying For A Role In "Breakfast at Tiffany's" On Broadway

Vito Vincent and Monty

Earlier this month, eight cats clawed their way into an open casting call for the dream role of Holly Golightly's beloved kitty, Cat, in the upcoming production of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" on Broadway. 

The pool has since been narrowed down to two fortunate felines who will potentially act alongside "Game of Thrones" star Emilia Clarke in the iconic role, including a sturdy orange tabby named Vito Vincent, and a lithe Tuxedo kitty, named Monty. Monty, 8, and Vito Vincent, 6, are both professional cat actors, with numerous roles under their tiny belts. They both also share unique rags-to-riches stories, that tell of their hard fought paths to the Broadway stage.

On Wednesday morning, the cast, creative team, and cats behind "Breakfast at Tiffany's" gathered for a press conference in the Royal Suite at the famed Carlyle Hotel in New York City. I was granted access to the event thanks to Fancy Feast, and am proud to say that I was the only kitty correspondent in attendance!


Before appearing on Broadway and attending exclusive media events, Monty the cat's life began after he was dumped on a road by Babette Corelli's farm. The animal rescuer, trainer, and agent tells me that it took her nearly a month to catch him, and that it took another year before she started taking him along on jobs. Corelli describes him as a smart cat, who is a fast learner, and loves attention. "He's always the first cat to jump in the crate to go on set," she says.

Monty is now a Hollywood veteran, having trained for roles including "The Heat" with Sandra Bullock, "Life Before Her Eyes" with Uma Thurman, and "Sex and the City: The Movie." He has also appeared on "30 Rock," "The Late Show with David Letterman," and "Rescue Me."

The petite feline, who bears an adorable white spot on his forehead, is filled with an excited energy and is as affectionate as can be. While I was snapping a few photos, he began rubbing against me, and I could hear him start to purr.

Vito Vincent as Christianne Amanpurr on "The Colbert Report"

I immediately recognized ginger tabby, Vito Vincent, as a famous feline in his own right. Most notably, he has appeared on "30 Rock" and on "The Colbert Report" as Senior Corespondent, Christianne Amanpurr. He was also the subject of a major Los Angeles Times feature last year, "A star isn't born - yet," about the trials and tribulations of a cat actor trying to make it in show business. Unlike Monty's more frenetic energy, Vito can only be described as one cool cat. Far from being a diva, the charismatic kitty eagerly accepted chin scritches while I chatted with his proud dad, Michael LeCrichia, about his cat's humble beginnings. 

The domestic shorthair was relinquished to a Brooklyn shelter as a kitten, and was brought to Bideawee, where Michael adopted him when he was 7-months-old. He trained the cat to walk on a leash early on because of his history - he didn't want to put Vito in a cage, making him feel abandoned all over again. 

The pair live in New York City, where Vito accompanies Michael everywhere he goes. After taking the cat to an event where he was mistaken for a hired animal actor, LeCrichia realized his kitty's potential and eventually found him an agent. Vito Vincent is trained to sit, stay, come, and jump, and can ride an escalator. In addition to his television roles, he has done work for Macy's, Animal Planet, Target, and American Greetings, and is also the highest level of therapy cat through Pet Partners.

The feline star indulges in a well-deserved cat nap between interviews

Both kitties are represented by Dawn Animal Agency, Babette Corelli's family run business that has been providing professional animals to the media since 1959. In addition to their extensive roster of furry actors, which includes everything from cats and dogs to rodents and camels, they also run a Sanctuary for less fortunate animals, that is supported in part by working animal actors like Monty.

I'm regularly asked for tips on how people can get their cat started in showbiz, so I took the opportunity to get Corelli's expert advice. The first question she asks is, "What is its personality?" If your cat hears a noise and is curious and shows interest, they just might have what it takes to become a feline thespian. Take time to observe if they really look at things and seem to understand them, as opposed to being frightened or running away in fear. 

The next important step, she says, is making sure your cat is leash trained, and taking them outside to see how they respond. Confirm that your kitty has an outgoing personality and likes strangers. It's not fair to force them into being in an uncomfortable environment. 

If you still think you might have a star on your hands, contact a reputable animal agency for an expert opinion. Corelli admits that they mostly use their own animals, however they maintain a file of outside talent for roles that require something they don't have. 

You'll want to provide the agency with clear front and profile photos of your cat, along with their rough measurements and any unique talents or characteristics they possess, such as liking water or being able to high five. In addition to leash training, Babette also recommends teaching your kitty its name and the "come" command. Not only is this helpful on a set full of cats where she is trying to get one individual kitty's attention, it's also helpful if your cat gets away at home or on set, and you need to easily call them back. 

Holly Golightly and Cat in the 1961 film version of "Breakfast at Tiffany's"

Monty and Vito Vincent began on-set rehearsals earlier this week so they'll both be prepared  to take on the part, although whichever deserving feline ultimately nabs the role will have some big paw prints to fill. 

At least nine kitties were used during the production of the 1961 movie, but only one named Orangey is credited with playing the role of Audrey Hepburn's cat. Orangey was a professional animal actor with a 15 year film and television career, and was the first feline to win two Patsy Awards, the animal equivalent of an Oscar.

"Breakfast at Tiffany's" begins previews on March 4, and opens on Broadway March 20 at the Cort Theatre. Tickets are available now through telecharge and the Cort Theatre box office.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Feline Yogi Yoga Cat Mat Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to all who entered the Yoga Cat Mat Giveaway from Feline Yogi! I used to determine the winner, and it selected comment #32 belonging to Sarah, who wrote, "My Maine Coon would love this!"

Congrats to Sarah and her kitty, and as Paige and Pippy from Feline Yogi always say, "Meow and Namaste!'

Be sure to visit the Feline Yogi website and Etsy shop to pick up a mat of your own, and follow them on Facebook for tips on helping your cat follow their true path to feline enlightenment.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Xenotees Cat Nap Pillowcase Set Giveaway!

Cat Nap Pillowcase Set

Turn the tables on your affectionate feline by sleeping on their head, the same way they cozy up to yours!

The Cat Nap Pillowcase Set by Xenotees is just one of the cool items offered by the Philadelphia-based screen printing shop. The kitty cases are 100% pima cotton, 300 thread count, and come in a variety of calming colors, including white, green tea, mocha, and cream.

Big Kitty Screen Printed Tote Bag

Shop owner Noëlle's signature cat sketch also appears on hand-screened totes and sweatshirts, so you don't have to relegate these modern kitty designs to the bedroom. All of her products are ethically produced, and use as many eco-friendly processes as possible. 

Cat Grass Sweatshirt

I also have to take a moment to give a shout out to her fierce cat model, Chester Taco! The photogenic feline sure knows how to accentuate a pillowcase, but sadly is NOT included with your order (darn it!).

Enter To Win!

Cat Nap Pillowcase Set

Noëlle has generously offered one lucky Catsparella reader the chance to win a Cat Nap Pillowcase Set from Xenotees!

To enter, leave a comment on this post with your name, and some way for me to contact you if you win (email, link back to your blog or profile, Twitter, etc.) The winner be will chosen in a random drawing next Tuesday, March 5 at 5:00PM EST. This giveaway is open to everyone, so our international friends can participate too! One entry per person, please.

Good luck, and be sure to visit the Xenotees Etsy shop, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with all of their latest news and designs!

(If you have trouble leaving a comment, please email me at

[Comments are now closed. Thanks for entering!]


Seth MacFarlane's Cat Reviews His Oscar Hosting Performance

Seth MacFarlane may not have pleased everyone with his controversial job as Oscar host, but at least one critic has stepped up with a positive review: His cat. 

The star took to Twitter last night to share his kitty's opinion of the performance, proving that even when the rest of the world is against us, our kitties always have our back.

MacFarlane last made cat headlines in 2011, when he teamed up with Heaven on Earth Society for Animals in Van Nuys, CA, to help raise money for a cage-free sanctuary and adoption center for homeless cats. The project was in memory of his late mother, Ann Perry MacFarlane, who was a devoted animal advocate and rescuer.

Via Twitter (@SethMacFarlane)


Cat Cupcake Tuesdays

Cat cupcakes

Missy Hewitt-Grable of A Little Something Sweet knows that gray kitties make for adorably delicious cupcake toppers! Missy, whose Waynesboro, VA-based boutique bakery is dedicated to the memory of her grandmother, created this feline-friendly design, complete with a dash of edible glitter!


Have you created or spotted any kitty-themed baked goods (or other foods) lately? If so, please submit your sweet tips for Cat Cupcake Tuesdays to!


Monday, February 25, 2013

Jennifer Lawrence Is A (Reluctant) Cat Lady

Jennifer Lawrence's New Cat

I always took Jennifer Lawrence for a dog person, but as it turns out, the Oscar winning Silver Linings Playbook star is actually a cat-lady-in-training. The 22-year-old visited "The Ellen Show" back in November, where she opened up to DeGeneres about her tortoiseshell kitten, Cleo.

Ellen, who apparently works as a cat whisperer in her spare time, educated Lawrence on matters of feline gender and marking habits, before advising the novice pet owner to get Cleo a kitty companion. In the end, Jennifer didn't seem convinced that adding another cat would help solve her kitty's peeing problem, but based on the reaction she had to Cleo's picture appearing on-screen, I definitely see more cats in her future.


The 21 Best Tweets About Cats Watching The Oscars

Last night's Academy Awards ceremony was filled with highs and lows, from rousing musical performances by J. Hud and Adele, to Katniss Everdeen adorably falling up the stairs to accept her award. 

The  true unsung heroes of the night, however, were the brave felines who attempted to stay awake during the hours-long telecast, with some achieving better results than others. 


Saturday, February 23, 2013

It's Caturday!

Welcome back for another edition of Caturday, where we catch up on the week's latest cat news, and get to meet some of your amazing kitties!

This week, cat-inspired color palettes matched cute kitties with their correct hues, well-whiskered felines wore business catual, Tobias Lang captured compelling images of people posing with their kitties, Jacqui provided our weekly cat cupcake fix, and Around the World in 80 Cats explored some touching feline memorials at Cimetière des chiens in Paris.

Also, don't forget to enter for your chance to win a Yoga Cat Mat From Feline Yogi! I'm drawing the lucky winner this coming Tues. 2/26!


This week's featured feline is a laid back, happy boy who wears his tux seven days a week!

Dori writes:

All three of our cats adopted us! Brutus was given to us by a friend who has multiple cats and dogs. My husband felt I needed my own kitty, so Brutus and I bonded by my sleeping in the guest bedroom together.

He's so funny because he likes to wash our hair, though he cannot do that to mine because it is growing too long. He loves to eat, and is friends with the cats who live down the street. Brutus loves towel cloth, and the only time he is a lap cat is when I am wearing my terry cloth robe or when my husband is on the toilet! He is HILARIOUS, not to mention a gorgeous Tuxedo cat.

Special thanks to Dori for sharing sweet Brutus with us this week!

p.s. Looking for even more Catsparella? Check out my weekly columns over on Catster!

This week:
These Y.R.U. Kitty Loafers are C.U.T.E.
Stay Adorably Dry with the Peek-A-Boo Rain Cat Cap from Fred Flare

Want to see your cat(s) on Catsparella? I'm accepting submissions for my weekly Caturday post! Just email your best kitty pics to, and include your cat's name and anything else you'd like to share. I can't wait to hear from you!


Friday, February 22, 2013

Cats And Humans Share The Spotlight In "Your Pet And You" Photography Project

Photographer Tobias Lang has a fascination with capturing the relationships people have with their pets, and has shared some compelling images of humans and their kitties from the "Your Pet and You" project.

Last year, the German photographer started "Your Pet and You" as a way to showcase his unique animal portraits. He came with the idea after noticing his cats take a liking to the wood block in his living room, and it occurred to him to take a picture of the simple, yet emotional setting. The next day, he took another picture of a friend with their dog on the wood block, and the idea quickly caught on among other friends who also wanted a picture taken with their pet.

As the project began to take shape, Lang started a Facebook page, and began to invite strangers to his studio to be photographed. 
He has now taken over 200 images, and has big plans for the future, including a book and exhibition. 

The Hamburg-based photographer continues to invite the public to pose, and is currently seeking piglets, goldfish, parrots, and other unusual companion animals, in an effort to document the widest variety of pets possible.

Photographing the subjects separately, while pairing them side by side, allows the viewer to take in each figure individually, while still feeling a connection between the two.

It's also interesting to see how much some of the human subjects resemble their cats - not just physically, but also in spirit!

Visit the Your Pet and You website and Facebook page to check out more compelling images from the series.

Images courtesy of: Tobias Lang Photography

Thanks to Cats, Beavers & Ducks for the tip!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Around The World In 80 Cats #25: Paris

(Johh Kroll)

I was planning on showcasing interesting cat photography from around Paris, but that all changed when I came across an unusual photo of a feline tombstone. 

The grave, along with thousands of other pet memorials, can be found at Le Cimetière des chiens (Cemetery of Dogs), located in Asnières-sur-Seine, just on the outskirts of Paris. The cemetery is one of the oldest and largest public pet burial sites in the world, and while some may view it as morbid, I think it's quite interesting to see how people have paid tribute to their dearly departed felines throughout the years.


Paris for Visitors reveals that the Cimetière des chiens was founded by attorney Georges Harmois and journalist Marguerite Durand in 1899. They conceived the project after Paris city government passed a law declaring that deceased pets could not be thrown in the garbage or dumped in the Seine, but had to be buried in hygienic graves at least 100 meters from the nearest dwelling.


Today, it is the final home of over 40,000 animals, including cats, dogs, bunnies, and even a lion! Arguably, its most famous resident is the original canine who played Rin Tin Tin. The German Shepherd was brought back to France to be buried after his death in 1932. 

(John Kroll)

According to the photographer, the epitaph above reads:

"To Ramses, you are my cat, exceptional and so sweet. Paws and hands clasped, we have lived nine and a half years of love and of complicity but also suffering. Your absence is cruel and hard to bear. God help us. If your grave is abandoned then I'll be near you forever in my heart. -- Your Mom"


It should come as no surprise that the cemetery, which has been called everything from, "the most appealing graveyard in France" to "the strangest place I've ever been," is also home to some very live feline residents. A colony of feral cats have a shelter on the grounds, and are looked after by volunteers. 


The French government has classified Cimetière des chiens as a historical monument, however various reports suggest that it has fallen on hard times in recent years, and is in danger of closing.

(John Kroll)

If you're not planning on taking a trip to France anytime soon, the oldest and largest pet cemetery in the United States is Hartsdale Canine Cemetery in Hartsdale, NY. The site was founded in 1896, and is the final resting spot of over 70,000 beloved pets.




Sources: Official SiteCimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques (Wikipedia), Paris for Visitors, Lost & Fond

Previously: Around the World in 80 Cats 1 - 24

Know of any cat-themed travel destinations, or have any cool kitty vacation pics to share? Drop me a line at!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Friskies "Will Kitty Play With It?" Kit Giveaway (20 Instant Winners!)

Will Kitty Play With It?

"Will Kitty Play With It?" is an interactive game show on the Friskies Facebook page, where they pit curious cats against everyday items such as milk rings and safety goggles, to illustrate how cats use their vivid imaginations to turn any household object into a toy. They've posted three episodes so far, and I have to say, they're pretty funny! Priscilla was transfixed while I was tuning in, so when they say it's a game show for cats -- they're not kidding!

In the spirit of do-it-yourself fun, the brand has also added some cool DIY ideas to their Pinterest page. Some of my favorites include how to make a kitty castle out of empty cat food boxes, and how to turn a treat bag into a toy wand!

Enter To Win!

Friskies has put together a kit so you can play along with "Will Kitty Play With It?" at home!

The first 20 people to email me at with their name and mailing address (U.S. addresses only, no P.O. boxes) will receive a complimentary "Will Kitty Play With It?" kit courtesy of Friskies.

Update: All of the kits have been given away! Thanks for entering!

The kit includes: A box and string for creating your own dramatic reveal, red solo cup, Sharpie marker, DIY Scrumple Buddy instruction sheet with a piece of paper, and a buy 1 get 1 free coupon for a can of Friskies wet cat food.

Email me right now for your chance to win, and I'll post an update once all 20 kits are gone. Good luck!


White House Black Market: "9 Lives Of The Little Black Dress"

I was recently going through some old folders in my desk, and came across a White House Black Market catalog that I've been hoarding away since 2009.

The combination of cats and fashion has always been intriguing to me, and while I don't necessarily advocate felines as fashion accessories, it can't be denied that they add a touch of glamour to any outfit. A lot has been written recently about the rise in popularity of cats in the fashion world, and I think it has a lot to do with the natural, effortless beauty they possess. 

The concept of the White House Black Market photo shoot was "9 Lives of the Little Black Dress," and what better way to bring it to life then with black and white kitties? The featured looks may be out of style, but the cats themselves are timeless. 


Ephemera Liberated Letterpress Cat-Themed Surprise Stationery Subscription Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to all who entered the Cat-Themed Surprise Stationery Subscription Giveaway from Ephemera Liberated Letterpress! I used to determine the winner, and it selected comment #49 belonging to jc, who wrote, "I love surprises!"

Congrats, jc!

The Surprise Stationery Subscription offers $25 worth of quirky, original, animal-themed letterpress stationery right to your mailbox every season. 50% of the profit from each subscription goes to a different animal welfare-related charity, and the spring edition (which you can order now and will be shipped out March 14), will benefit Purrfect Pals Cat Shelter in Arlington, Washington!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Win A Yoga Cat Mat From Feline Yogi!

The Yoga Cat Mat

It's no secret that cats are natural yoga practitioners because of their innate flexibility and meditative nature (who hasn't caught their cat in a "yoga" pose?), so why not get them a mat to practice those sun salutations in earnest? Introducing the The Yoga Cat Mat from Feline Yogi, for "today’s hip modern enlightenment seeking cat." 

Paige Hodges is a 20-year yoga veteran and cat lover who created the Yoga Cat Mat with input and guidance from her kitty, Pippy. The innovative product serves as a toy, scratcher, and most importantly, "an ideal place for kitty to chill out, meditate, and practice Shavasana (aka “resting pose")."


Paige recently shared an adorable testimonial on her website from a Maine Coone named Hunter, who enjoys keeping his practice low-key. The fluffy yogini even has his own ridiculously adorable affirmations (affurmations?), which frankly we could all benefit from:

* My humans provide me with plenty of yummy food several times a day.
* I am the perfect size and I’m grateful for all my fluffy fur.
* I am smart enough, I weigh enough,and doggonit my humans love me!

The extra thick kitty-sized mats are made with phthalate free dyes and inks, and are equipped with a catnip stuffed twine ball on sisal rope "to stimulate and inspire you to transcend any perceived limitations and further explore the inner space of your feline self." 

Also awesome? A portion of all sales are donated to help homeless cats in need.

Enter To Win!

Paige and Pippy have generously offered one lucky Catsparella reader the chance to win a Yoga Cat Mat from Feline Yogi!

To enter, leave a comment on this post with your name, and some way for me to contact you if you win (email, link back to your blog or profile, Twitter, etc.) The winner be will chosen in a random drawing next Tuesday, February 26 at 5:00PM EST. This giveaway is open to everyone, so our international friends can participate too! One entry per person, please.

Good luck, and be sure to visit the Feline Yogi website and Etsy shop, and follow them on Facebook for more tips on helping your cat follow their path to feline enlightenment!

(If you have trouble leaving a comment, please email me at

[Comments are now closed. Thanks for entering!]


Cat Cupcake Tuesdays

Kitty Cupcakes

I recently came across Jacqui Lundi's adorable kitty creations while spending a lazy Sunday afternoon cruising for cupcakes on Pinterest. I love how she used both fondant and icing to create different textures, including the illusion of shiny kitty fur!

So cute!

Have you created or spotted any kitty-themed baked goods (or other foods) lately? If so, please submit your sweet tips for Cat Cupcake Tuesdays to!


Monday, February 18, 2013

Well-Whiskered Felines Wear Business Catual

The Princess Bride

Neckwear has quickly become the fashion accessory of choice for well-dressed professional felines, and I can't help but think that Business Cat is partly to blame for the buttoned-up trend. But, even an online meme has to loosen up that necktie once in awhile, and that's where Business Catual comes in.

Dad's Ugly Chair

The Count Duckula

Becca and Josh run the feline formal wear collective, and describe their outfit as "one tom and a queen making some scratch while supporting animal welfare here in lovely Portland." Their goal is to use recycled materials that would have otherwise gone to waste, to create "pawsitively purrfect" accessories for cats, while also donating part of the proceeds to Cat Adoption Team.

The Original

The Old Cat Lady

The ties slide on to any collar through a loop on the back, and their quirky designs are just right for kitties who aren't ready to join the corporate rat race just yet. Choices range from oversized felted bowties that are more playful than professional, and fabric designs with hilarious names such as "Dad's Ugly Chair," "Mom's Kitchen Wallpaper," and "The Old Cat Lady."

The Pink Lady

Stop by Business Catual to save your cat the embarrassment of being sent home from work yet again for being underdressed, and they'll thank you in time by getting that two sardine raise you were both hoping for.



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