Gus the Trucking Cat

Dear Cat Faeries customers and friends,

Thanksgiving just past and we are now in what some call “the season of giving.” Winter is a great time to reflect upon who we are, where we are, what we’ve accomplished, and to celebrate our lives and the lives and stories of others. Let us give you the story of Gary, an 18 wheel trucker and his cat Gus. Their dear friend LaVonna is the feline/human matchmaker crucial to this story. This is what LaVonna has to tell us about highway adventures of Gus and Gary.

From LaVonna…

It all began when my own gray cat disappeared one Summer. She was gone for so long that I thought she was gone for good. Gary, my friend, a truck driver, accompanied me to the shelter several times looking for “Stormy” but we never found her there. On one of our trips we saw a Stormy-look-alike named Gustav. He was a young beautiful Russian Blue cat (and still is as you can see) so I decided to adopt Gus (also called Gus Gus) for my own to replace my beloved Stormy.

After a few weeks, guess who returned? Stormy! But it was not to be a feline match made in Heaven between she and Gus. The two of them collided and would not become friends. So, Gary, being the kind-hearted animal lover he is, decided to take Gus with him on his journeys in his 18-wheeler. Gus rides on the dashboard of the truck watching the scenery whiz by, and keeping a sharp feline eye on the road. I think he has been in most of the 48 states and Canada.

Gary contacted me just this Fall to tell me that last year Gus disappeared at a truck stop. Gary had to continue on his journey as he was “under a load”, but worried the entire time, sick at the thought that Gus could become a coyote’s dinner. But when Gary returned after a couple of weeks, other drivers told him they had seen a gray cat around. Gary searched for Gus and when he found dear Gus he was one very flea and tick infested feline. It didn’t matter! Gus Gus was back in his arms and on the dashboard once again. Gary also told me that Gus does NOT normally like to go to the groomers but I think this particular visit to the groomer was an exception!

Gary could talk your arm off telling you tales about Gus Gus and all the many adventures they have had together. Gary has had this trucking buddy now for over 12 years. Gus Gus has become a bit of a “Folk Hero” across the highways.

Cat Faeries is urging Gary and LaVonna to start a blog with the road trips of Gary and Gus Gus! If they do, you dear readers, will be the first to know! If you wish to encourage them you may write to us and we’ll forward your message. Send it to and put Gary and Gus in the subject line. Happy Trails to all and wishes for a peaceful holiday season!


Do You Have a Healing Kitty in Your House?

by Alison W. – Certified Veterinary Technician

It was the final hot summer before the shelter in Florida closed. The adoption area was filled with adult cats and the unavailable kittens were in a separate building not open to the public. The one room building also housed the washers and dryers for the entire shelter. As you might imagine, the A/C couldn’t keep up. Two walls of cages were full. The remaining kittens lived in plastic carriers stacked on top of each other. Most of them just had numbers on their tags. They didn’t get names until they were moved to the adoption area. But one crate near the washers held a black and white kitten with a name – “Weety”. He was an owner surrender and had probably been named by a child in the family. Whenever I went to do laundry I looked for him and said “Hi Weety”.

Weety and me summer 2008


One day I went to check laundry and Weety was gone! There was only one possible reason. He was sick and had been transferred to the hospital area. The Green Room (named for the color of the walls) was even smaller than the holding area. Most kittens who were sent there had upper respiratory infections. They were treated with antibiotics and, if they survived, sent back to the holding area.

When I found him he was so dehydrated he didn’t have enough moisture in his body to sneeze. Luckily, the surgery/clinic area was closed that week. Normally sick animals were not allowed there. I gave him SQ fluids, canned food and a towel lined bed made from a plastic hospital basin. He was SO HAPPY to be in a clean, comfortable place. I’ve never seen a sick cat react with such intense affection. At the end of the week I took him home to finish antibiotics and make sure he didn’t have a relapse. Of course, by then I was totally in love so I formally adopted him.

Later that summer I had a respiratory infection myself. Whenever I was lying down Weety would sit on my chest and purr. (He still does this whenever I am sick.) I don’t think there is any more relaxing sound than a cat purr. But, it is a misconception that cats purr only when they are happy. They also purr when stressed (e.g. visiting the vet) and when they are sick. This is not surprising since the 26 Hertz range of a cat purr promotes tissue regeneration. It may even heal and strengthen bones.

Weety is very sensitive and always seems to know when I need some healing kitty energy. I like to think he is returning my earlier kindness to him.

He was my final rescue from Florida and has remained my designated Healing Kitty. He also does a great Cheshire Cat impression. =^..^=

Meet a cat who travels the world on a boat!

Ahoy mates! Have you ever dreamed about saying bye-bye to all that binds and holds us back and saying to hello to a life of total freedom and adventure? And with your cat?

What better way to continue the 4th of July celebration freedom than by meeting Matt and Jessica Johnson who quit their jobs, sold everything and in August of 2011 they set sail around the world. A year later they adopted a cat named Georgie who not only loves living on the boat, but loves a good swim! Inspiring story. Great photos!

A Heartwarming Kitten Rescue Story from a Customer

Here’s a wonderful charming story about some kittens from our customer Carol…

The kittens soon after they arrived. A neighbor who worked in the old Lincoln Heights Jail found them huddled in a corner. Some of the building was adapted for other uses, but large areas remained empty. He waited for the Mom to show up, but she didn’t—so he picked them up and wrapped them in a towel. They were thin, dirty, and scared. Obviously Mom was having a hard time feeding these little ones. Other cats had been found in the building, too.

He drove around the neighborhood trying to find someone to take them in. The local shelter had told him that they were overwhelmed with kittens and would have had to euthanize immediately. At two weeks old, they would need constant care and feeding, unless Mom or a surrogate could be found.

We needed a team of people to take care of these little guys— they were so tiny, and keeping them warm, clean and fed was a challenge. They were covered with dirt and fleas. And they had never seen humans before. But soon, they were thriving. And we all developed a deep respect for cat moms— we needed several people feeding around the clock to approximate the love and care of one Mama Cat.

Clio liked to help mix up their baby formula.

At six weeks, they were tearing around their playground. They all grew up to be beautiful, loving kits.

Scientists Prove Sitting in Boxes Calms Cats

Cats and boxes. Has your cat ever met a box it didn’t like (other than a teeny tiny box that a fabulous piece of jewelry came in)? Cats love boxes. Even boxes that appear to be too small for them, somehow your cat will squeeze into it and be blissful.

We found an article on about fascinating scientists who have researched why cats love boxes so much, and from one in particular you’ll learn why boxes are a good thing. Claudia Vinke, a Dutch Ethologist* worked with cats in a Dutch shelter. She provided boxes for a newly arrived group of cats while not giving boxes to another group. She found a significant difference in stress levels between cats that had the boxes and those that didn’t. The cats with boxes got used to their new surroundings faster, were far less stressed early on, and were more interested in interacting with humans.

The article on has more fascinating scientifically proven reasons for why cats love boxes – and actually need boxes. This has us thinking about our recent article about cats, stress, over grooming and the benefits of wearing a jacket or sweater for purposes of calming. We at Cat Faeries wonder: would cats who are self-barbering or over grooming not just benefit from a sweater, but also from having several boxes in the home to hang out in? It’s certainly an experiment that’s virtually free of cost, doesn’t take up a lot of space, and your cat could love it and be happier. What do you think?

Here’s the article about cats and boxes at Wired:

Here’s a link to our our story about cats and sweaters written by Cat Faeries’ friend, Newton, a cat who knows everything –

* Ethology is the scientific and objective study of animal behavior, usually with a focus on behavior under natural conditions. Behaviorism is a term that also describes the scientific and objective study of animal behavior, but it usually refers to the study of trained behavioral responses in a laboratory context.

Why Male Calico and Tortie Cats Are So Rare

Recently we stumbled upon an article about an extremely rare male calico kitten up for adoption in Silicon Valley. Less than 0.1% of all calicos or torties are male. And, it’s likely this kitten, named Sherman, or any other male calico or tortie was born sterile.

‘Unicorn Cat’ Makes Its Way to Silicon Valley Animal Shelter

By Renee Schiavone (Patch Staff)

A very special kitten has found his way to a Silicon Valley animal shelter, and now representatives are hoping someone will be willing to give him a forever home.

Sherman is a male calico cat. Which is apparently really rare.

Dr. Andrea Berger, who is a veterinarian at the Humane Society Silicon Valley, says the chances of a calico cat being born male is less than 0.1%.

“It’s like a unicorn! I’ve been involved with shelters for 20 years and I have never seen one,” Berger said.

The four-month-old kitten recently arrived with the HSSV, as a transfer from one of their sister shelters, which was full.

“We work with shelters in the area to help alleviate the strain on resources when shelters are too full and when there’s an animal who needs a little extra help getting adopted,” a spokeswoman told Patch.

Anyone interested in adopting Sherman can stop by the Sunnyvale Neighborhood Adoption Center, inside Petco at 160 East El Camino Real. The adoption fee is $175.

By the way, shelter representatives say the little fur ball is very personable and friendly– and he’s a sucker for people and wand toys.

We asked guest writer and over all “one smart cat” Newton to give us the science behind the rarity of male torties and calicos. Here you go!

Newton’s Perspective: Calico Genetics

My namesake, Sir Isaac Newton, was a renowned physicist and mathematician. Although some credit him with inventing the cat flap to protect his experiments from light exposure (, I doubt that he actually knew much about cats. That’s not surprising since we are WAY more complicated than physics! Recently my insatiable cat curiosity led me to a book about a male calico cat titled “Cats are not Peas” – Well, that seems pretty obvious. I thought this was about genetics, not gardening. But what I read was far more complex than I imagined.

Have you ever met a male calico cat? If you said no I am not surprised. Less than one percent of all calico cats are male. But before I go any further, let’s define calico. Calico is a color pattern. When I think “calico” I see a cat that is predominantly white with patches of orange and black. However, this is only one variation. The key is having both orange (or beige) and black (or grey) colors.

The genetic code for black and orange colors is located on the X chromosome. Females have two X’s (XX), while males have an X and a Y (XY). If a female kitten gets both an orange and a black X then she will be calico XoXb. A male kitten from the same litter would get either an orange or a black X with the following results.

The only way for a male to have both orange and black colors is through a genetic mishap that gives him three chromosomes XoXb Y instead of two XoY or Xb Y. This is called Klinefelter Syndrome in humans and generally results in feminization and sterility.

So now you know why male calico cats are so rare. But I’m sure you’ll agree, all cats are special, no matter what color they might be.