Resident felines keep the customers coming back
It’s not uncommon to enter an independent bookstore, veterinarian clinic, pet food shop or an antique collector’s digs and find a furry feline curled up someplace warm.
Midtown’s many smalltown-feel neighbourhoods have had businesses with cats displaying their wares for the world to see.
If they seem disinterested in customers, that’s their way, but midtown’s three most popular kitties bask in the affections of visitors, and the Town Crier wants to introduce you to them.
How much is that kitty in the window?
Travel down Mt. Pleasant Road to the aptly named Mabel’s Fables to meet the children’s bookstore’s namesake — kind of.
Mabel the Second, was brought to the shop from a Bracebridge, Ont. shelter in 2002 by owner Eleanor LeFave after Mabel the First (1988–2002) went to the litter box in the sky.
It’s guesstimated the petite ginger tabby is 15 years old, said store manager Melissa Bourdon-King.
“Her sister had fallen in love with this really handsome male cat, and was wanting Eleanor to see him,” Bourdon-King said of Mabel the Second’s origins. “And he was really beautiful — a real tomcat, but (LeFave) knew she needed someone for the store with a bit more of a docile nature.”
Activities, pastimes and quirks included in Mabel’s repertoire are sitting in the windows that look on Hillsdale Avenue and Mt. Pleasant, avoiding being held at all costs and a rendezvous with a brush every so often.
Then there’s the old habit of hunkering down on electrical equipment.
“She used to sit up on the computer monitors,” Bourdon-King admitted. “She was a little bit upset with us when he got rid of the huge, honking screens.”
Do the Twist
North of Mabel’s Fables resides another feline with a tale of survival.
Another senior cat, Twist, 15, calls the Mount Pleasant-Davisville Veterinary Hospital home.
After being brought in after an accident, and having a twisted leg, the vets went to work to repair the injured limb, thus giving him his name.
The grey and white short-hair has become a fan favourite for seniors who live in the Briton House, across the street, according to staff members.
He has tons of people who come in to see him on a daily basis,” Alison McGowen said. “He has one friend who comes every Friday. He will drop literally everything that he is doing.”
That one friend is Kevin Smith, and Twist will not care who else is in the room when he arrives.
“One lady was so insulted, because she was petting (Twist), Kevin walked in and Twist was, ‘See you later’,” McGowen said. “Now she comes in on a different day.”
For being a senior citizen himself, Twist does not shy away from physical activity, often somersaulting off the arm of the couch in the waiting area.
In the redeveloping area of Laird Drive, the Laird Eglinton Pet Hospital has a popular resident: Noodle.
The ginger tabby, aged somewhere in the ballpark of 3 or 4, quietly watches the comings and goings of the pets who come to see the doc.
When Noodle came to the vet’s clinic for the first time, his owner was having a tough time paying for medications for his flurry of eye infections. In addition, the owner had a medical condition which inhibited him from keeping cats.
The sad story, shared by Dr. Ryan Franklin has a happy ending though, as the clinic would broker an agreement.
“Noodle’s lower eyelid used to be two and a half times too long so it would all curl in. All that fur up against his eye, he would constantly have eye infections,” Franklin said. “We came to the deal that we would do the surgery if we could keep him.”
Noodle has become one of the family, and the resident bouncer.
“He’s a pretty good clinic cat because you can let him go anywhere and he doesn’t really get into fights with other animals,” Franklin said. “Sometimes when a cat’s getting mad at us, he’ll come running out and we have to grab him.”
Put that in your pipe …
No homage to the business cats of midtown would be complete without a tip of the deerstalker cap to the Sleuth of Baker Street.
From 1994 to 2008, eight felines called the stacks of the novel shop home: Porky, Winston, Popi, Princess, Peaches, Petosky, Perry and Paddington.
Since Paddington’s denouement, the Millwood Road shop has been home to Sir Percival, a poodle of noble Pendragon breeding.
We won’t hold that against them.