November 23, 2011, the day before Thanksgiving, marked the passing of a very special cat named Anna. The 7 lb red head with a feisty spirit decided that her life here on earth had come to an end.
I write this tribute to Ms. Anna because I had the pleasure of knowing her. She was an ambassador for the cat grooming movement, giving selflessly toward the efforts to train more pet grooming professionals to safely handle felines and groom them to perfection.
Anna, one of a few lucky felines to be a part of Melissa Verplank’s family, served on more than occasion as a demo cat for my lectures at various trade shows. The first time Anna and I met was in Knoxville, TN at the first Pet Stylists Super Show. Anna was gracious enough to work her coat into a bit of a mess for the occasion, thus giving the attendees an opportunity to watch, up close and personal, how to turn twisted, tangled cat hair into a velvety smooth lion cut with crisp lines at the legs, neck and tail.
For added dramatic effect, as well as teaching opportunities, Anna brought her attitude to the stage. Cat groomer vs. angry flame point Himalayan. Clippers vs. mats. She was truly perfect for the event, eventually drawing blood and leaving me with some memorable wounds on my forearm. In the end, however, Anna looked spectacular and certainly felt a whole lot better. She responded to the handling exactly the way I had earlier explained to the audience. She helped teach a variety of handling techniques, cat behavior responses, and the importance of mat prevention when educating clients about their cat’s grooming needs.
Melissa shared a humorous Anna story with me, that I think sums up the personality of this diva feline. One morning Marc and Melissa were sitting at the dining room table enjoying their coffee. Their dining room is on an upper level overlooking a large great room. Melissa writes, “As we were chatting, Anna was feeling very fresh than morning. She was racing around like a crazy cat. We were both chuckling as we caught glimpses of her streaking by. On one of her passes, she cut sharply to the right – right through the railing – and was suddenly airborne, her creamy coat all poofed out along with all four feet. It was if she thought she was a flying squirrel. Marc and I both heard a thud. I raced to the railing and looked down expecting to see the worst. But instead, peering back at me, was my smooshed-face little cat. She clearly told me, ‘I meant to do that’ as she shook a front paw and walked away from her landing spot, tail up.”
Good bye, Ms. Anna. You are already missed!
Posted on 11/28/2011 at 7:00:00 PM
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