EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 15, 2012

Cat tail: Reporter in search of a story finds a cat

In search of a story, writer finds a cat

By Jo-Anne MacKenzie

---- — SALEM — I’ve always worked hard to maintain my journalistic integrity. Ferdinand wiped that out with one swipe of the paw.

I arrived early for an interview at Salem Animal Rescue League and wandered in to Kitty City, hoping to scope out some of the residents I would be writing about.

Ferdinand, a 5-year-old package of personality plus, was perched on top of the refrigerator and stretched out to catch my attention. He did.

As photographer Mary Schwalm said, “He had you at hello.”

The black-and-white, long-haired cat has been at SARL since March, save a brief few weeks in an adoption that didn’t work out.

Why he wasn’t adopted is a mystery to SARL staff members and volunteers. He is a presence.

But he lingered, even after being featured as “Pet of the Week” in The Eagle-Tribune a few weeks ago.

He was, indeed, on my list of “tough-to-adopt” pets to feature.

He jumped from refrigerator to sink, patiently waiting for someone to turn on the faucet for him. When Schwalm turned her lens his way, he performed — and then some.

I wasn’t in the market for a cat, although we had said goodbye to our resident feline of 15 years a few months ago.

But something about Ferdinand kept me returning to his cage, to the cat room, to thoughts of adoption.

I got his story — age, history, health status. I dutifully recorded my notes, but my motivation became personal.

So, I went to SARL for a story and returned a day later for Ferdinand, proof that older animals with too much time at the shelter really are worth a second look.