Writer Lisa Rogak considers herself a former crazy cat lady who has, perhaps, had far too many felines for one lifetime. These days, however, she’s content to just write about kitties from her New Hampshire home.
One of Rogak’s popular books, “Cats on the Job,” profiles 50 fabulous felines who really, as she puts it, “sing for their suppers.” There’s Princess, the “mouser” at Mill Ridge Farm’s stables in Lexington, Kentucky, and Mayor Stubbs, the orange tabby who holds office in Talkeetna, Alaska. And Rogak couldn’t forget the more serious hospice cat, Tom, who spends his days visiting veterans and those under nursing home care at a hospital in Salem, Virginia.
But while Rogak says that all the cats she profiles in the book caught her heart in one way or another, there were two cats in particular from her own home state that were really a lot of fun to write about. “One is the weather observer cat at the top of Mount Washington Observatory, and the other was a farmer cat who supervises a small organic tomato farm near Concord,” she notes.
The first cat profiled in the book is pretty special, as well. Sable was a black cat that showed up at Enterprise Middle School in West Richland, Washington, in 2011 and started watching the crossing guards doing their jobs. Soon the cat started mimicking the crossing guards’ actions, monitoring the students and traffic from his corner, and occasionally walking out with the safety guards as they guided students across the street. “When you think of a regular occupation and morph it with a cat, you would probably never come up with a crossing guard cat,” says Rogak. “But that was such an amazing story that no one would believe, so we all thought that had to go first [in the book].”
In fact, finding all 50 cats to profile in the book turned out to be pretty easy.
“It started out as sort of a goofball book, but once I started to decide who would be in the line-up, that’s when the serious cat jobs started to appear,” Rogak says. “The research was alternating between hysterical and heartening. It ended up a different book than I had envisioned.”
But still, cats as coworkers? It’s not necessarily an idea that most people would find commonplace. However, Rogak says maybe we should start giving working cats their due. “Cats are great coworkers because they’re there, but they’re not there unless they want your attention,” says Rogak. “You can bounce ideas off of them … but cats are kind of indifferent. Still, they will give you feedback if they’re not happy.”
Images: Courtesy Lisa Rogak http://www.lisarogak.com