Pet Tips 'n' Tales
"King Pin" Kat
Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
Natalie, co-owner of The Cottage Bowl holds Alley Cat, an  "alley cat" who made their business his home. Alley Cat is now an official member of their bowling "family" team. Top row: Sandy, Doyle, and Debbie.

TALES


Not every business is lucky enough to be honored with a "mystery cat" to guard their front entrance. Over a year ago, a starving but beautiful and loving, black and white short-haired cat, mysteriously appeared at The Cottage Bowl's door step on Row River Road, and has remained ever since!

Where did this cat come from? Was he an "alley" cat living in the "gutters" of life? The subject of "foul" play? Abandoned? Regardless, there's never a "spare" moment for this "striking King Pin Alley" cat with so many bowlers, young and old alike, to meet and greet every day. This friendly, talkative cat with the Tenpin-sized heart, has transformed The Cottage Bowl's patrons and employees into one big family.

Opinions are "split" over his name because it seems "everyone" has bagged a different one for him: "The Alley Cat", a stray cat- and bowling alley-related pun; "Lane" (bowling lanes); "Lil Stinky"; "Frank" (unknown reason). But, considering that he looks like he swallowed a bowling ball, he should have been named "BB"!

"All of the bowlers love this cat," says Natalie, co-owner of the lanes. "They say 'Hello' to him and pet him as they come and go, and feed him!  Oh, yes! Each bowler that the Alley Cat strikes his 'hungry pose' for feels obligated to spare him a morsel or two. He is a naturally talkative cat, his favorite topic of conversation being FOOD, just like Audrey, the Venus Fly Trap in "The Little Shop Of Horrors" who demands, 'F...E...E...D  ME.'

"The cat looks very pregnant, although we don't know if it's a 'he' or a 'she'. I tell those bowlers worried that 'he/she' is pregnant, that if so, 'he/she' has been pregnant for a year," laughs Natalie.

"Our bowlers are real animal lovers who have donated The Alley Cat's food, food bowl, and a comfortable bed to keep him warm. Our staff, too, contribute to The Alley Cat's well-being by bringing in discount cat food coupons. Everyone wants to make him feel loved and appreciated. 

One of our favorite patrons, Doyle, an 80-year-old 'retired' bowler, comes in just to socialize and to watch others bowl. He eats his cod dinner here so he can share it with The Alley Cat- his favorite guest. Just like The Alley Cat, Doyle's is part of our bowling family too.

Like many cats, The Alley Cat loves sunbathing on a parked car. Imagine his luck in landing his very own parking lot with a wide variety of makes, models, and colors from which to choose. He is the envy of other cats!

The Alley Cat likes to come into the bowling alley when its quiet," says Natalie. "But one time he ran into the building like something had scared him. He stunned us all by running down a lane's ball return. It was definitely out of the ordinary to see a cat and not a ball streaking down the lane! Everyone was genuinely concerned for him and the leagues stopped bowling until he was safely carried outside.

This cat loves everyone; he is not prejudiced. He loves the men's and women's leagues bowlers, drop-ins, and our Saturday Star children. 
 
The Alley Cat always greets the staff when they arrive to open the lanes at 2 PM, and says, 'Good night!' to them at 9 PM by asking for MORE food. This is of course after the bowlers have been feeding him all day long. His initial starvation must have left such an indelible mark on his soul that he needs to reassure himself he'll never starve again."
 
The Cottage Bowl is closed on holidays, so one of the bowlers makes a special trip there to feed The Alley Cat. This is one of the many blessings of living in a small town filled with big hearts!
 
"Our customers are doing all they can to fill the cat's heart, soul, and stomach with love and good will to make up for his pre-Cottage Bowl life," says Natalie. "He is obviously in a league of his own. The Alley Cat is the King Pin of the lanes as he spares nothing to strike a path into our bowlers' hearts. In the world of bowling, he is definitely a '300 game!'"


TIPS


Determining a cat's sex is easy: Two adjacent openings under the tail = female; a space between the "privates" = male.
 
"When I bring home a rescued cat, I immediately put the cat into a crate large enough to hold a litter pan and for the cat to lie down. I carry the crate into the main living area of my home so the cat feels secure and protected as I introduce it to my dogs", says Animal Planet's" Pet Psychic, Sonya Fitzpatrick. "I maintain this routine for two weeks before letting the cat out of the crate to gradually adjust to the household. A peaceful household introduction is important in creating one big happy family."
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Mary Ellen
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