After listening to a few episodes, you may have heard a commotion from time to time, caused by my cat, Lottie. I thought you might like to know more about her, so here’s her origin story!
In 2013 we adopted our first pet in over 10 years, Belle. We were living in Tucson, AZ, at the time and went to a few local shelters to search for our new family member. Belle came to us with that name already and she fit in perfectly. She was found in the desert as a feral kitten, brought in to be fixed, treated, and adopted. We loved her at first sight!
A few months later we couldn’t stop thinking about one of the shelters we had been to, the Hermitage, a no-kill sanctuary for cats where they are allowed to roam free within their space. Cats are divided into different areas depending on their needs – general population, kittens, geriatric, dietary restriction, FIV positive, feral, and even cats with Manx Syndrome.
My husband and daughter started volunteering at the Hermitage later that year. Each week, while most volunteers spent their time playing with the cats, my husband took it upon himself to take care of the most overlooked cats, the ones with Manx Syndrome. This is a deformity of their tail area that can cause them to have uncontrollable “messes”, to put it delicately. He would clean their room, wash their blankets, then get clean towels for his lap so he could give these cats the love they deserved.
Our daughter was only 11 at the time, so she volunteered in the kitten room. On the days I joined them, this was my favorite room to be in as well. These kittens were usually born in the shelter and needed volunteers to help socialize them and get used to humans so they could be adopted later. And boy were they cute! We always had our favorites, and one of those was a little grey fuzzball named Jubilee.
By this time we’d started thinking about getting a second cat and knew it would come from the Hermitage. We just couldn’t decide which one. Jubilee had caught our eye, but she was already on an adoption list for someone else.
3 or 4 months went by and one Saturday we found ourselves in the kitten room and there was Jubilee! She’d gotten sick and the family that had adopted her decided they didn’t want to take care of her so they brought her back. When we asked at the front desk, we were told that another family had signed up to adopt her but they didn’t show up and that if we wanted her, they would rather she went home with us!
So how did she go from being Jubilee to Lottie?
We already had a princess in the house, so it was only fitting that we chose a princess name for Jubilee as well. The only problem was… she wasn’t very princess-like. She smelled terrible for one thing, and we had to give her two baths to get the shelter smell off of her.
We also learned that she had digestion issues. We had to go to Whole Foods and find plain, whole milk goat milk yogurt to help settle her stomach. Every night for about a month, one of us had to sit on the floor and spoon feed her the special yogurt. She was better after that, but we still have to be very careful about changing her food.
She was also extremely demanding, loud, and liked to head butt us. A lot. And she only wanted to fall asleep on my husband’s shoulder. While trying to come up with a Princess name, he asked us, “Which of the Disney princesses are demanding and loud?”
Well, none of them! Pretty much goes against the essence of a Disney Princess now doesn’t it?
But there was one character who stood out to us. Not a princess, but a sort of side-kick instead – Charlotte, from the Princess and the Frog! That just happens to be one of our favorite movies, so it was a perfect fit.
Six years later, and the name still perfectly fits her. Lottie is our time-keeper. Even if you’re not ready to be up, she thinks everyone needs to be out of bed by 6:03. And later, I need to be out of my office by 5pm. When we record the podcast, she’s very agitated, laying on my desk, walking around, knocking things off, and generally just making her disapproval of our late nights known to all.
Sadly, we lost Belle last year to what may have been cancer, so Lottie is our only cat right now. Belle was 100% our daughter’s cat, while Lottie annoys all of us equally these days. Her favorite place to be is wherever you don’t want her to be. Her favorite toy is a long yellow stick we found in the hallway of our apartment. Her favorite food to steal from us is chicken, and she loves to go out on our screened patio.
So next time you’re listening and hear a commotion, say hi to Lottie!