I was surprised when an overweight woman in her 70s touched my arm. I hadn't noticed the woman with grey hair pulled back in a bun because I was so focused on all the cats living at the sanctuary. She obviously heard my remark about wanting the big black cat with the torn ears.
“Oh that’s Dino, named after Dean Martin. He’s been with us for six years, been in a few fights that one,” she wiped her eyes. “You’ll love him.”
Turns out Pet Pride named all its cats after celebrities in honor of Edith Head, the legendary costumer who left all her money to them when she passed away. The grey haired woman pointed out the sanctuary's version of the Rat Pack: Frankie (after Frank Sinatra) who was a Siamese with blue eyes, Sammy (after Sammy Davis Junior), who was missing his right eye and a tall lanky tortoise shell named Lawford.
"Joey Bishop was adopted to a wonderful family last week," she explained. The original Rat Pack was started by Humphrey Bogart in the 1960s and I wondered if there was a cat roaming around named after him. The media gave the group of actors it's name and it stuck. I figured a cat named after a member of the Rat Pack would take have to live up to his name!
Pet Pride gave me a cardboard cat carrier for Dino. He wasn't too happy about going in there, spreading out his front legs. But the Pet Pride woman had obviously done this before because she simply turned him around and placed him inside feet last. He barely fit in the small space. All the way to the Perkins house, Dino cried. I felt bad about taking him from his home and all his kitty friends.
I brought Dino inside and introduced him to the dogs. He was such a big cat that the dogs didn't dare mess with him. I was hoping the rats would feel the same way.
From the moment I put him down, Dino made himself right at home. Although I had prepared for his arrival, setting up a box with kitty litter, Dino preferred to relieve himself where-ever he wanted.
I saw Dino the first night in the kitchen, crouched down hiding waiting for the right moment to pounce on the biggest rat I had ever seen. The creature was perched on top of the kitchen curtains. I bite my nails in anticipation as the rat came down onto the counter, not noticing, or not caring that Dino was watching. Then, Dino moved into position, like a tiger would. In one move he leaped onto the counter and landed on top of the rat, grabbing it in his paw and bringing it down to the floor in a masterful tuck and roll. Quickly, I opened the back door to let Dino outside with his prize to do with it as he pleased.
Word must have spread quickly in the rat community because the house became very quiet within a matter of days. I still had to clean up the cat's poop and pee every day but at least I got some undisturbed sleep at night!