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American Library Cats 2


Libraries H–N


Libraries A–G  |  Libraries O–Z

These pages are devoted to library cats, both past and present, in the United States of America, and we collected them together into a separate set of pages because there have been quite a large number of them over the years. While budget cuts and other difficulties have meant that some American libraries have been unable to keep their feline mascots, or cats have not been replaced when they died, in other places library cats remain alive and well and are continuing to give great pleasure to staff and patrons alike, as well as performing their job of rodent control. Dewey Readmore Books of Spencer, Iowa became the most celebrated library feline of recent times (he died in 2006), whereas in the early 1980s Baker and Taylor, two Scottish Fold cats, arrived at a small-town library in Nevada (see entry for Douglas County) and for over a decade were very famous throughout the States and beyond. We dedicate these pages, though, to all the other unsung library cats across America who have made, and continue to make, libraries pleasant and 'fun' places to be. There's no doubt that cats and books go well together!

Information and images have been gleaned from many sources, notably but not exclusively library web pages, and we express warm thanks to all who have supplied information, particularly those librarians with whom we have been in touch. If you see anything incorrect or incomplete, we'd be pleased to hear from you so we can amend it.

Special acknowledgements must go to Gary Roma, whose interactive Library Cats Map perhaps inspired this whole project as well as providing certain images, and whose 1997 film Puss in Books (available on video) gave a fascinating insight into the world of library cats. His listings were collected over a number of years and were more complete than ours could be here, and also extended to library cats in many other parts of the world. Gary moved on to other things, his site wasn't updated for a long time and then, probably around the end of 2016, it disappeared and the domain appears to have been given up. A copy of his pages can still (early 2023) be seen here, although it's not known if the information has been updated in any way. The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine also has copies of Gary's pages, although it's possible their archive of the site may not be complete.



Entries arranged alphabetically by library name

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Library cat Bob - late of the Hall Memorial Library, Ellington, CT

   HALL MEMORIAL LIBRARY
Ellington, Connecticut

Bob arrived at the Hall Library as an older stray during the early 2000s and became a much loved resident. He died in October 2008 and was not replaced. He was a handsome and 'chunky' tabby, but although we have some images, we have no other information. A video clip of Bob is unfortunately no longer found.

Website | Facebook




XXX

   HASKELL TOWNSHIP LIBRARY
Sublette, Haskell County, Kansas

Jamie Wright, library director of Haskell Township Library in the small farming community of Sublette, south-western Kansas, USA, kindly sent details of their two library cats Emma and Madeline. She related that in late 2001 the library board gave her permission to adopt one cat from the animal shelter in Garden City, Kansas — but maybe it wasn't a wise decision on their part to send to make the choice someone who had always enjoyed animals and had herself taken in many unwanted and homeless ones!

On the day of her visit to the shelter, Jamie said she chose Emma, the all-black one, while trying not to make eye contact with any other animals. All went well until she opened the door to leave, when there began a loud and distressing meowing and crying from another pen. It turned out to be occupied by Emma's sister, and the two had never before been separated. Well, of course the library ended up with two cats! Fortunately the board members were understanding, and a competition to name the second arrival was held among the children. 'Madeline' was chosen after the Madeline books by Ludwig Bemelmans; it became shortened to Maddie for the black-and-white cat.

Both cats were estimated to be about a year and a half old when adopted, and were a great success with the children and with most adults — 'a wonderful addition to the library', said Jamie. While Emma was very outgoing and vocal, often greeting patrons at the door, Maddie was shyer — but liked nothing better than sitting on a child's lap and being petted for as long as possible. Indeed, some children wouldn't read unless she was on their lap!

For some months there were problems with Jamie's five dogs at her home, as they could smell cats on her when she returned from work — and Emma and Maddie could smell dogs when she got back to the library. However, all then seemed to be well.

By 2013 both cats had developed diabetes, and after a time there were problems controlling their medication and they became quite ill. They died in November 2013, after a dozen years at the library. As far as we know there were no plans to continue the feline presence at Haskell.

Website | Facebook




Library cat Max - Hastings Branch Library, Pasadena, California

   HASTINGS BRANCH LIBRARY
Pasadena, California

From the early 1980s right up to 1996, Max spent a lot of his time at the library. He didn't actually live there, but his home was nearby and he just loved being among the books and the patrons. At first library staff kept putting him out; but he always came back, and as soon as someone opened the door, he was in! He loved exploring, everything from the toybox to the top of the bookshelves, and he made friends with the children, even attending storytime, puppet shows and the like. He seemed to enjoy looking at books with mice, too! After a time, staff realised that they effectively had a library cat, and so they even issued him with his own library card. It seemed Max had come to stay.

But one day he just didn't turn up. Missing him, and wondering what had happened, staff made enquiries and found he had moved with his family to live in the country, at Altadena, where he had a lovely new home. A couple of the library staff went to visit him, and he was delighted to see them. They realised that with the internet they could post photos of him that the children at the library could see. The Internet Archive has a copy of a past page with some pictures of Max in his library days.

Web page | Facebook




Library cat Libby Libra, late of Haysville Community Library, Haysville, Kansas


Library cat Rocco Reader, briefly of Haysville Community Library, Haysville, KS

   HAYSVILLE COMMUNITY LIBRARY
Haysville, Sedgwick County, Kansas

A beloved member of the library staff for over 20 years, Libby Libra the library cat was put to sleep at the end of April 2004 following persistent thyroid problems. She had been found in April 1983 as a kitten, injured and abandoned outside the library after she'd been thrown from a car; the staff adopted her and nursed her back to health. In no time at all she had earned her 'LMS degree' (Library Mouser Supreme) and rid the old library building of mice.

The beautiful, fluffy grey cat was a survivor — over the years she survived being run over, being kidnapped, a horrific hailstorm, ten days locked in an abandoned wing of the old library, and a tornado in May 1999 that tore the roof off the building! After that tornado Libby developed a fear of thunderstorms; she could sense a storm coming and would seek a place to hide, often huddling in a staff member's desk, a cupboard or, on more than one occasion, beneath the library director's office rug. The library was Libby's permanent and only home; she belonged to the community, acted as official greeter and charmed many patrons with her antics as a youngster.

As she became older she was less playful — but her mischievous streak would show itself from time to time as she walked across keyboards, nibbled from staff members' plates (she had a great fondness for banana bread!) or sipped spring water from their cups. She could often be found napping on a sunny window sill or curled up on her favourite chair. She was loved by nearly everyone and had fans across the globe; occasionally she even received mail. At various times she appeared on television, in newspapers, and in a book, The Kingdom of the Cat, by British author Roni Jay. There were many occasions when people would come to the library specifically to see her; she had even given out a few autographs! Libby Libra was quite a character and the library missed her greatly when she'd gone. At the time, donations were being accepted towards the cost of a memorial to her, but whether that came to fruition we haven't been able to find out.

In May 2004 a new, two-year-old male cat was adopted by library staff and named Rocco Reader. However, added to the argument that he'd been adopted by staff rather than having been a stray like Libby, Rocco seems to have fallen foul of the old questions of allergies, pets in public buildings, taxpayers' money and all the usual 'chestnuts' about why cats shouldn't be in libraries. Whatever the rights and wrongs — and we do understand that boards have difficult decisions to make if complaints are made — a series of meetings, occasioned by complaints from a few people, apparently ended with Rocco being banned as library cat, although it was agreed he could visit once a week.

Website | Facebook



Library cat Oreo, of Hennessey Public Library, Oklahoma
Library cat Oreo, of Hennessey Public Library, OK
Library cat Oreo, of Hennessey Public Library, OK

Library cat Trixie, of Hennessey Public Library, Oklahoma
Library cat Trixie, of Hennessey Public Library, OK
   HENNESSEY PUBLIC LIBRARY
Hennessey, Kingfisher County, Oklahoma

In September 2008 the librarian at the Hennessey Public Library was bemoaning the fact that, once again, mice had eaten some decorations she wanted to put up, and said 'We need a cat!' At lunchtime just two days later there was a loud meowing at the door and a cat was standing on its hind legs trying to get in. He was only a youngster, possibly just a few weeks old, was skinny, had ear mites and fleas and thin fur. He was allowed in, very soon took the place over and grew into a fine cat who purred constantly, was loved by the patrons and proved to be the perfect library feline. He even caught mice! He was named Oreo, and there's a host of great pictures of him as a youngster over several pages (no longer available at the library website, but preserved at the Internet Archive — take the link below).

By early 2014 Oreo, aged 6 in the following August, had developed into a 'cantankerous, irascible, demanding lord of the library' — but was loved and had many devoted followers. He certainly solved the mouse problem in short order, being a magnificent mouser, and he kept many of his kitten traits. He was very much the alpha male around the place — definitely not a lap cat — and 'brooks no familiarity unless it is on his command, and then only for so long as he desires'. He took short vacations in a staff member's home, but needed the stacks and halls, chairs and computers, and high space of the library in which to be comfortable. His favourite activity was interfering with work, while a favoured sleeping place was on top of one of the printers, where a box bed was made for him so that the machine can actually still be used! The blanket was made by a patron and her autistic son, who had a love/hate relationship with Oreo; autistic children are so drawn to him that one parent acquired a cat for her son to love and care for — which he did successfully.

Sadly, Oreo went missing while staying with a patron during 2016 and was never recovered. A new cat, Trixie, was taken on in December that year, but she now (late 2018) lives with the retiring library director, as the new director is allergic to cats — so presumably there´┐Żll be no more cats at Hennessey in the foreseeable future.

Very many thanks to Mary Haney, the then library director, for the 2014 update and image of Oreo as an adult.
Website | Oreo's pages/galleries (archived copies) | Facebook




Library cat Jamback, late of McDonough Public Library, Henry County Library System, McDonough, Georgia

   HENRY COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM
McDonough, Henry County, Georgia

A shy and skinny young black cat turned up at the library one day in 1996 at the former library building and, once he had assured himself there were regular meals and people liked him, he became the resident library cat. He was named Jamback, after a rural byway in northern Alabama called Jamback Road. 'Jammie' would stretch himself out on the front desk and 'assist' while patrons stroked and admired him. When the mood took him he would sit on top of a stack of boxes and swat the head of anyone passing below him! He remained official meeter and greeter for five years, until in 2001 the library moved to new quarters. There he was restricted to the office areas, but adjusted well, starting to sleep more as he entered middle age. He developed feline diabetes, and his devoted staff gave him insulin injections twice a day until he passed away in September 2008 aged about 13. He was a joy to all who knew him and was much missed.

Website | Facebook | Twitter




Library cat Sasha, of Hopkins District Library and Dorr Township Library, Michigan
Japanese Bobtail Sasha is the library cat for both Hopkins District & Dorr Township libraries, Allegan Co, MI

   HOPKINS DISTRICT & DORR TOWNSHIP LIBRARIES
Allegan County, Michigan

One day the mother of Natalie Bazan, director of the two libraries, was walking in a town park when she heard a meowing from a nearby tree. It was a young kitten, about 4 months old; the kitten was coaxed down and soon Natalie received a call from her mom asking her if she could 'do something with this kitten'! She took the little feline to the Dorr library and the next day to the vet, where the cat was found to be basically in good health, if a bit undernourished. Natalie approached the library boards, and they agreed that the kitten, now named Sasha, could become part-time library cat. So she accompanied Natalie to Hopkins on Mondays and Wednesdays, and to Dorr on Tuesdays and Thursdays, spending the rest of her time at home. Dividing her time in this way was a neat way of allowing for patrons who might have allergies, or don't like cats, and in addition both libraries had 'cat-free zones'.

So Sasha greeted people, took naps on chairs, wandered over the bookcases and played with anything she could get her paws on! She loved the teens and children (as long as they did't scream ...), while patrons loved coming in and playing with her. 'They've brought toys, they've brought food, treats, all kinds of stuff. It's just wonderful,' said Natalie. 'We hope to use her to draw attention to the local Humane Society by raising awareness of homeless pets,' she added.

The Hopkins and Dorr libraries had a new ambassador, a stray kitten had found a perfect home — and she was surely the only Japanese Bobtail library cat! A first birthday party was planned for her in May 2015.

By late 2018 Sasha was no longer at either library, as her owner had moved elsewhere to a new library — but Sasha isn't a library cat any more.

Many thanks to Natalie for the original images and information on Sasha.
Hopkins website | Dorr website | Hopkins at Facebook | Dorr at Facebook | Pinterest
Channel 3 News with video clip: Meow! Stray cat finds new home at two local libraries




Library cat Trixie, Independence Public Library, Kansas
Library cat Trixie, Independence Public Library, KS
Library cat Trixie, Independence Public Library, Kansas

   INDEPENDENCE PUBLIC LIBRARY
Independence, Montgomery County, Kansas

Trixie, or 'Trix' for short, is the handsome silver tabby cat who has lived here since October 2009, when she was abandoned in front of the library while still a kitten only about two months old. Rescued by staff and given the job of library cat, she's been there ever since. She likes people and loves to play, especially with feathers and wool (yarn), and will chase balls but doesn't fetch them back as she used to. Her other favourite pastimes are given as eating, sleeping, bird-watching and disrupting staff meetings! She likes to sit on the circulation desk, where she can supervise the staff and be petted by patrons; also sits on laps and newspapers, and occasionally visits the children's library during storytime. Sleeping is best done in her soft, warm bed, on her cat tower, on patrons' coats, on chairs — or anywhere there's sunshine. Frightened at first of the elevator (lift), she now rides it happily, like several other library cats.

In 2012 IPL won the Best Small Library in America Award.

In late 2018 Trixie was still gracing the library with her presence, and she had an active Facebook page.

Many thanks to Blinn Sheffield, Children's Librarian, for original information and images of Trixie.
Website (Trixie is included/pictured on the staff page) | Blog | Facebook: Trixie the Library Cat




Library cat Star, of the J Robert Jamerson Memorial Library, Appomattox, Virginia
Library cat Star of the J Robert Jamerson Memorial Library, Appomattox, VA

   J ROBERT JAMERSON MEMORIAL LIBRARY
Appomattox, Virginia

Star was just six weeks old when he was taken in from an animal-rescue group to be fostered at their home by librarian Katharine Butler and her husband, who already had several cats. The plan was to rehome him when he was older; but by the time he was eight months old and a large, sleek, black boy with just a white 'star' on his chest, no home had been found and the Butlers decided to keep him. One day in 2005 he followed Katharine to the library, liked what he saw, and then visited most days. Hewas the 'voice' behind Appomattox County's Star's Pick of the Litter, a library feature that promoted books of Star's choosing that focused on animals. He was said to be 'a lover of books that feature mischievous kitties'.

But Star didn't spend all his time at the library. Not content with just being a library cat, he became a 'cat about town'. Once he'd satisfied himself that opening time had gone well in the mornings, he liked to cross the road to Coleman and Sons' 'Southern States' shop where he went hunting in the basement and other nooks and crannies — sometimes returning covered with cobwebs! He also had a calico lady-friend there, called Sally. Then he'd move on to make other visits on his by then extensive social round, which included several shops, the county jail, a lawyer's office and several churches (especially for Wednesday night dinners!). He thus became quite a well-known feature in Appomattox; people brought him treats and asked about him when he was not at the library. He was rarely at his real home — just when it was bad weather or too cold to go out visiting!

In 2018 the library reported that a few years ago, in 2014, Star had been 'catnapped', or stolen, and his whereabouts were unknown. He is missed, but the County of Appomattox would not allow another cat to take his place. We hope that whoever took Star has treated him well.

Website | Facebook | Twitter




Library cat Andrew Carnegie Jr, late of Jackson District Library, Michigan

   JACKSON DISTRICT LIBRARY
Jackson, Michigan

In June 2001 the Jackson District Library in Jackson, Michigan adopted a kitten after rescuing him from two boys trying to stuff him into a plastic bag. Pronounced healthy after a visit to the vet, he was named Andrew Carnegie Jr, as his place of work was the Carnegie Building of the library. He developed into a large black cat, full of energy, who spent the next ten years in residence there, living in the Reference Department office during the week and spending weekends and holidays hanging out in Ann Arbor. He developed a devoted following among patrons and staff, greeting school groups, celebrating his birthdays with community members, and keeping staff in trim by training them to toss toys that he could chase. He was always eager to have his photo taken and appeared in many library displays over the years.

When his office space was remodelled in 2011 Andrew decided to retire and went to live with Reference Coordinator Debby Sears, spending his 'golden years' lounging on cushions in the company of three other cats and a dog. Debby reports that one day in 2013 she took him back to see his people and visit his old haunts, and says he was 'wide-eyed and so pleased to be back at work'. Normally a quiet traveller, on that day he had a lot to say throughout the entire drive home!

We're sad to report that Andrew suffered a stroke on 27 May 2014 and passed away. He'll be much missed by all his friends — staff and patrons — at the library.

Many thanks to Debby for information and images of Andrew.
Website/blog | Tribute to Andrew (archived copy) | Facebook | Twitter



Library cat Annie, late of James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, Connecticut Library cat Prudence, late of James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, Connecticut Library cat Prudence, late of James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT

   JAMES BLACKSTONE MEMORIAL LIBRARY
Branford, New Haven County, Connecticut

The library formerly had two cats, Annie and Prudence, although we believe they have not been replaced. Prudence was there only from 1978 to 1980, but during that time produced three kittens from a liaison with the cat from the education offices across the road! Annie (outer left) had a longer tenure, from 1980 to 1988, and had a wonderful, loving personality. She liked to curl up on the jackets and book bags of library patrons, and was very much missed by them and by the staff when she died.

Website | Facebook | Twitter




Library cat Jennie, formerly of Jennie Trent Dew Library, Goldthwaite, Texas
Library cat Reggie, formerly of Jennie Trent Dew Library, Goldthwaite, Texas

   JENNIE TRENT DEW LIBRARY
Goldthwaite, Mills County, Texas

Miss Jennie of Goldthwaite arrived one bitter December morning in 2007 when, cold and hungry, she was found mewing at the library door. As she put it, 'It didn't take but a few days to convince Theresa [the librarian] that the library really needed a cat.' Jennie used to run an occasional blog while she was resident there, and also wrote a book column for the Goldthwaite Eagle entitled 'Scratchings from Jennie'. Apparently she and her companion feline Reggie — who was actually her son, the result of a brief fling with alley-cat Tom — liked to relax in the sun on the front stoop of the library; Jennie said people had to watch out for him because he liked to lie in the footpath as patrons came in, being still young and really liking to be noticed!

However, late in 2010 we were notified by current librarian Deb Flowers that the cats had been removed 'at the request of the city manager'. We're pleased to know that both went to excellent homes with other cats for company: Reggie to the previous librarian [presumably Theresa] and Miss Jennie to a local doctor.

Website | Facebook



Library cat Bookend, late of Jervis Public Library, Rome, New York State Library cat Bookend, late of Jervis Public Library, Rome, NY

   JERVIS PUBLIC LIBRARY
Rome, Oneida County, New York State

In August 2011 the library reported the passing of their long-term resident cat Bookend. Her vet said she died from natural causes, as she was quite old. The much loved member of the Jervis family was greatly missed, although the community took some comfort from remembering her long life and recalling the many happy memories she left behind.

Website | Facebook | Bookend - Facebook album




Library cat Thomas, late of Johnston Public Library, Baxter Springs, Kansas


Library cat Miss Kitty, Johnston Public Library, Baxter Springs, Kansas

   JOHNSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
Baxter Springs, Cherokee County, Kansas

Thomas, a red tabby, was born in 1990, but when his mistress died he was taken to a local animal shelter. There the library director saw him and, having consulted with the staff, adopted him as library cat in late 1992. Well known to all library patrons, he also had his share of press in the local newspapers and was featured in such publications as The Library Cat Newsletter and the National Examiner. His story was a part of a state-wide library workshop on library cats.

Thomas died in January 2004 after having been ill for several weeks; he has been greatly missed by all his friends. A new library cat called Miss Kitty, a tortoiseshell-and-white (calico), took over from him later the same year. As a young cat she lost her tail, which means her balance is a little off, and so she enjoys sitting on her bottom with her front paws over a chair rail or on a step. She's a sweet-natured cat and enjoys the attention of everyone who visits the library; she also loves bags and boxes. She's thought to be about 11 or 12 years old (in early 2014) and has been at the library for 10 years.

As her predecessor Thomas used to, she goes in and out during weekdays, but is kept in at night and on weekends; a staff member checks on her during any extended closings. Miss Kitty has allergies but had always been in reasonably good health until recently; a course of antibiotics didn't do the trick, and a blood test revealed that she has feline infectious anaemia. This condition is not curable, but can be treated, so now she's on permanent medication. That's helping, and already she's getting around better and is 'certainly in a better mood'! We wish her well and hope her condition can be kept under control.

In late 2018 it seems Miss Kitty's medication was still proving effective, and we're pleased to say that she was reported as 'still hanging in there'!

Many thanks to Betty Burrows for updated information about Miss Kitty.
Website | Older page for Thomas (archived copy) Facebook | Miss Kitty at Facebook




Library cats Maggie and Moses, King Memorial Library, Machias, New York State
Maggie and Moses, the cats at King Memorial Library, Machias, NY

   KING MEMORIAL LIBRARY
Machias, Cattaraugus County, New York State

Maggie has been at the King Memorial Library since August 2006; she was a stray when library assistant Willa came across her at a local outdoor food-and-snack restaurant. Maggie was pregnant at the time. She was taken in at the library, where she gave birth to four kittens. Sadly one died, but Maggie was a marvellous mother to the remaining three, of which two were grey, one black, and all were males. They were raised at the library until old enough to be adopted. Library Director Ann took one of the greys home, while the other was adopted by another local cat-lover; both are still going strong in 2015. The black kitten was named Moses and he remained at the library with his mother. The mother-and-son duo have become a fixture at the library; people come just to see them — and parties and special programmes have been held in their honour. They tend to have a particular fondness for certain patrons — the ones who bring them cat treats! They are much loved and it's hoped they'll remain a part of the library for many more years.

In late 2018 the library reported that Maggie and Moses were 'still spry in their advancing years', and had been 'in post' for 12 years.

Our thanks to Ann Parker for the original information about and images of Maggie and Moses.
Website | Cats' page



Library cat Stacks, Litchfield Public Library, Litchfield, Illinois
Library cat Stacks, Litchfield Public Library, IL

   LITCHFIELD PUBLIC LIBRARY
Litchfield, Montgomery County, Illinois

The library cat greeting patrons here is Stacks, a long-haired black female who joined the staff in February 2009, having been rescued as a youngster from a local animal shelter. She soon made herself queen of all she surveyed, and loves to be petted and have a fuss made of her. Like Jesse of Cazenovia used to, Stacks loves to ride the elevator; she also seems to like to walk visitors to the door, but she doesn't go outside. As she is a full-time resident, volunteers call in to look after her when the library is closed, and as with most library cats her food and care are paid for by donations.

Early in 2018 new premises were ready for the library, and Stacks moved to the new facility on the third day of the transfer. At first she was said to be a little worried, but within a further three days she seemed to be thinking, 'Ah, my kingdom has enlarged — I approve,' and she was back to reigning over it all!

Website | Stacks' page/gallery | Facebook




Library cat Sooty, formerly of Llewellyn Elementary School, Portland, Oregon
Library cat Sooty, formerly of Llewellyn Elementary School Library, Portland, OR
Library cat Sooty, formerly of Llewellyn Elementary School, Portland, Oregon

   LLEWELLYN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LIBRARY
Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon

There was a library cat called Lulu at the school from 2000 for a time, but we don't know much else about her except that she retired to live with a custodian (caretaker) who was also leaving the school. She seems to have been a stray, adopted by one of the staff and brought in to the school. However, the school community had liked having a cat around the place, so looked around for one to take Lulu's place, A teacher was a volunteer at the local cat hospital, where Sooty, thought to be about 5 years old, was a live-in blood donor cat but had made his maximum number of donations and was needing a new home.

The grey-and-white feline fitted the job perfectly; he soon had the run of much of the school, sleeping in the building during the week and with employees at weekends and holiday times, while staff pitched in to cover his upkeep and medical expenses. Each school morning he greeted students as they walked in, and he would spend the rest of the day wandering the school and visiting classrooms — well, some of the classrooms; he quickly learned which teachers would tolerate him and which ones wouldn't! The principal's chair was a favourite napping spot. Sooty was a very calm cat, unperturbed by crowds — probably from his earlier experiences at the clinic. 'When at the hospital he was spoiled rotten,' said Cheryl McDonald, school librarian. 'He's the mellowest, kindest cat I've ever met.' Although not an official therapy animal, his fans said that's just what the cat provided, seeking out children who were having a hard time and cuddling up to calm them. 'Sooty was there to soothe someone when necessary or distract anyone who needed a break. He had a knack of knowing whichever child in the classroom needed the most encouragement,' said a former teacher.

In February 2008 Sooty caught the attention and imagination of visiting author Ann Whitehead Nagda, who came in to lead student workshops at the school. She returned in May to shadow Sooty and collect stories about him for a new book. 'I noticed that he made everyone laugh,' she said. 'He just lightened up the atmosphere of the school.' The Valentine Cat was published by Holiday House in October 2008 and tells the story of the life of a school cat, Munchkin, after the protagonist, Jenny, donates him because her allergic brother cannot have Munchkin at home. Dedicated to Llewellyn staff and students, the book draws heavily from their real-life tales and includes excerpts from several notes written to Sooty by students — and has his name in the book's credits.

Unfortunately, shortly before the book was published the decision was made to end Sooty's career as school cat, as his presence was found to be aggravating the allergies of certain children. A very tough decision, but it was felt the children's needs had to come first. Sooty went to live in Lake Oswego with a retired engineer, father of one of the teachers, and although he missed his friends he settled well into home life. He did go back to visit several times and clearly enjoyed doing so.

When his human died Sooty moved in with a former teacher, whose family has a vacation cabin in the country on a lake; although quite an old gentleman now (early 2014) he spends much time there and loves hunting and basking in the sun. In 2011 he won the Oregon Humane Society Diamond Collar Award, given to honour an animal that has provided extraordinary service to humans and animals. They recognised Sooty for his years as a blood-donor cat; his time at Llewellyn, where he soothed and cheered troubled kids, made amazing connections with children with autism and kept everyone laughing; and for the comfort he brought his last human. He is remembered by photos around the school — all of them now adorned with a rhinestone 'diamond collar'.

Sooty is also remembered in another, more unusual way. When the school was built in the late 1920s, it seems that a time capsule was placed in the fabric of the building: it was opened in 1978 for the 75th anniversary when further items were added, and again for the 101st anniversary in 2009. On this occasion, inter alia, students chose to add a photo of Sooty and another of the cover of The Valentine Cat with an article about the book. After being resealed the brass box was returned to its spot, to be reopened in perhaps another 25 or 50 years.

We very much appreciate Cheryl McDonald's help in putting together Sooty's story.
School website | Oregon Humane Society video clip




Sir Eli, library cat at the Los Robles Elementary School Library, Porterville, California, USA

   LOS ROBLES ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LIBRARY
Porterville, Tulare County, California

By the time he was six months old, in October 2011, Sir Eli, a handsome Ragdoll cat, was already a veteran library cat at the school library. He's not a resident, but goes in twice a week during term time with his human, librarian Marilyn Barsaleau. Children have to be on their best behavior to earn the chance to come and stroke Eli. 'Some kids come just to see him,' Barsaleau says. He doesn't only rule the library stacks: he can be found from time to time in the nurse's office, comforting sick children who are waiting to get picked up and taken home; he helps to calm them down. As a docile, tolerant and accepting cat, like most Ragdolls, Eli is also in demand to visit elderly people as a therapy animal, going into hospitals, adult care facilities and hospices where he charms patients just as he charms the library patrons.

In early 2014 Sir Eli was still carrying out his library visits, especially on Wednesdays, when Marilyn reads to the 'special education' students; he seems to especially like these children. She says, 'He loves coming, and starts bugging me to take him to school first thing in the morning when I get up. I tell the children that he picks out the stories I read to them; we read books about animal teeth, ears, tails and so on, then we compare Eli's body parts to the book explanations to see how his tail and ears work for him, for example, or if he is a meat eater or plant eater by looking at how his teeth are shaped. Eli brings a lot of joy to the children. Every once in a while if a child doesn't want to go to class, or is extremely upset, Eli will walk them to class, and can usually calm them down. He truly is an amazing cat!'

Our thanks to Marilyn for telling us about Sir Eli, who indeed sounds an amazing cat.

Update: in 2018 the school reported that both Marilyn and Eli had retired in November 2017, and were 'doing well and enjoying themselves'.

School web pages




Library cat Emma, late of Lyme Public Library, Connecticut
Library cat Emma, late of Lyme Public Library, CT
Library cat Emma, late of Lyme Public Library, Connecticut

   LYME PUBLIC LIBRARY
Lyme, New London County, Connecticut

Emma graced the library in Lyme from 2003, when she came from a local animal shelter and was known at the time as Nina; a party was held to decide on a new name. She was a tabby Maine Coon of some 13 to 14 years in 2010, and the staff referred to her as 'Her Royal Highness', 'Queen Emma' or simply 'The Boss' — which gives some idea of who was in charge of the place! Perhaps that's because there was an entire chapter devoted to her in the book Working Cats of Southern New England, by Barbara and Melissa Moss.

Emma's favourite place was the stool at the circulation desk; she liked to sit (or sleep) there and supervise library activities. If any of the library staff dared to sit on that stool, Emma would sit and stare at them until they moved. It was also a prime location to get lots of attention and stroking from patrons who came into the library. She captured the hearts of library staffers (including the Library Director, who frequently made a fool of herself over Emma), patrons and town residents. Her many friends and admirers (or subjects, if you wish) brought her toys and treats and generously donated toward her food and care. She was friendly, affectionate, and a wonderful companion. She greeted the library staff as they arrived for work in the morning and let them know that all was well; she welcomed patrons and guests to the building; and — more than anything — Emma made the Lyme Public Library a wonderful place to work and to visit. She celebrated her 10th anniversary at the library in February 2013 when a special party was held in her honour.

But a year later, in late January 2014, she became ill; it was learned that she had cancer and didn't have long to live. The library said: 'We want to give those who live nearby the opportunity to stop in and say "farewell", and those who cannot come the opportunity to post their thoughts on Facebook and Twitter. Though we are extremely sad at this development, we are grateful for the 11 years that Emma has graced our lives and made the library a welcoming and happy place. We're cherishing every minute that we have left with her and letting her know how much she means to us and to our community.'

And then: 'It is with great sadness that we must announce that our beloved Emma passed away on February 27. Our hearts are broken. She brought joy and laughter to our library and our community for 11 years. There was no better library cat in all the world, and she will be forever missed.'

There was a beautiful and heartfelt tribute to Emma at the library's blog.

Website | Emma's page (archive copy) | Facebook | Twitter | Emma at Twitter

For two images used, acknowledgements to Emily Alling at Flickr where they can be seen full-sized.




Library cat Maxie - Maxie Speer Elementary School Library, Arlington, Texas

   MAXIE SPEER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LIBRARY
Arlington, Tarrant County, Texas

Maxie, or Maxie Speer Huett to give her full title, was the official library cat of this school. Like her near-namesake Max of Pasadena, she didn't actually live in the library, but went to work with librarian Charlie Huett. She was 90 per cent blind from birth, but that didn't stop her from performing her important daily tasks.

Each morning Maxie assisted with the Pledge of Allegiance; then she helped to turn on all the computers. After that she was kept quite busy, as a different class arrived every 25 minutes. She seems to have appointed herself as guardian of the students' good behaviour: her keen hearing could detect the sound of a candy wrapper from anywhere in the library, and she would point out students who were eating, or even carrying candy. Any ball of paper dropped on the floor was promptly picked up by Maxie and returned to its owner!

When the pair retired from their librarian duties, we think in about 2011, Maxie had accompanied Charlie to work for five years. In mid-2013 she was living at home with other Huett family cats and, as far as we know, was doing well.

School web pages




Library cat Cauli le Chat, of Mooresville Public Library, Indiana
Library cat Cauli, Mooresville Public Library, IN

   MOORESVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
Mooresville, Morgan County, Indiana

The library in Mooresville is in a largely residential area, so when a black cat started hanging around outside there in November 2010, staff thought she probably belonged to one of the houses. She seemed hungry — although appearing to be well fed and not thin — so food and water were left out which she seemed to appreciate. She did not live in the library, but came and went as she pleased and particularly enjoyed the outdoor children's garden. Named Cauli because of an injured left ear, she was fairly timid but could be sweet and friendly when she felt comfortable with a person. The vet estimated that she was between 4 and 6 years old, and had been spayed.

In December 2010 Bill Buckley, Historian and Reference Coordinator at the library, and his wife Janet had the idea of starting a blog in Cauli's name, with the aim of disseminating library news, programs, events and promotions, along the lines of Tober's blog, another well-known Indiana library feline. For this Cauli had the title Cauli le Chat (which of course sounded more sophisticated than 'Cauli the Cat'), and so she began an extensive blog. Because she roamed about, she was obviously busy gathering news: and she was assisted by 'roving reporters' — a.k.a. the Buckleys' two kittens!

After three years, in December 2013, Cauli posted that her humans were moving away and bade her followers farewell. The blog would remain online for those who still wished to read it. But in June 2014 she returned — one of her humans had found another job back in Mooresville. Her home was then on the other side of town rather than close to the library, so she wouldn't be able to drop by as often as she did previously, but she hoped to visit sometimes and planned to resume her roving reporter role, although not be blogging as frequently.

Update: Cauli eventually retired permanently and became an exclusively indoor cat; she died in early August 2020. Bill said, 'I will miss her cheerfulness, her good company, and the sheer joy she radiated at being alive and free.' He wrote a nice tribute to her, along with her full history.

Many thanks to Bill for providing us with initial information about Cauli.
Website | Cauli le Chat's blog: Cat's Eye View | Library's blog | Facebook | Twitter




Library cat Emily, late of Mystic and Noank Library, Mystic, Connecticut
Library cat Emily, late of Mystic and Noank Library, Mystic, CT
Library cat Emily, late of Mystic and Noank Library, Mystic, Connecticut


Library cat Mito, late of the Mystic and Noank Library, Mystic, CT
Library cat Mito, late of the Mystic and Noank Library, Mystic, Connecticut


Library cat Matilda, of the Mystic and Noank Library, Mystic, CT
Library cat Violet, of the Mystic and Noank Library, Mystic, Connecticut

   MYSTIC & NOANK LIBRARY
Mystic, New London County, Connecticut

A 'throw-away kitten' saved by a library patron, Emily joined the staff of the Mystic & Noank Library in 1989 and found a home among the books. The domestic tabby was given a name with a rich literary heritage, being named after authors Emily Brontë and Emily Dickinson. She cheered readers by twirling with the new books on the revolving bookcase and sprawling flat on her back, paws straight up in the air, at the end of an aisle — and she never passed up a ride in the elevator (lift). 'People came in just to see Emily. She was pretty famous,' said a library assistant. 'Everyone commented on her pretty green eyes.'

Her fame spread beyond the local area. She appeared in Gary Roma's Puss in Books video, was featured on the front page of the New London Day newspaper and enjoyed good press from the other local papers. She was also included in the book Library Cats Just Making a Living, by Buffy Panther McClellan.

Emily was blessed with a wonderful home and life at the library, with much love and friendship from all her many admirers. Sadly, she died from kidney failure in early May 2006. She's buried in the library grounds beside the walk from the parking lot to the building; a beautiful marker was made for the spot with her name, dates and four paw prints walking across the stone. A scrapbook of her life was made available on the main reference desk in the library and recalled her many appearances in newspapers, magazines and books. Her web page, from which this account is taken, remains at the library site in mid-2014.

Late in 2016 a new cat joined the library: Mito, thought to be about four years old by then. He was adopted from a shelter in Uncasville, where he was found as a stray near a biological sciences laboratory on Powerhouse Road — hence the name Mitochondria, or Mito for short, after the 'powerhouse of the cell'. He was 'very friendly, likes strokes and cuddles and loves all his people and his new home'. The library has a webpage for him, which also remembers Emily, and Mito has an Instagram account where he shares news of his adventures and his opinions on being a library cat!

By 2020, however, the library reported that 'owing to health issues' Mito had retired to a private home, where he was king of all he surveyed, He was said to be 'very happy and doing great!'

But by early 2021 two new youngsters had joined the library! Matilda and Violet are sisters, who were about a year old when they arrived. They were found by the children's librarian at the Stonington Humane Society and, by year's end, had made themselves thoroughly at home.

Website | Library Cats page | Facebook | Instagram (including Matilda and Violet) | Mito at Instagram (to 2018)

At Flickr are several photos taken in 2008 by David that include Emily's grave marker and the tree under which she's buried, and shots inside the library of a very lifelike sculpture of a sleeping Emily and showing areas full of mementoes: access from these search results and click for enlargements. For the top photo used here we acknowledge with thanks Jerry Dougherty, also at Flickr where it can be seen full-sized.



Library cat Addison of Nash Library, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

Library cat Addison Nash, Nash Library, USAO, Chickasha, Oklahoma
Library cat Addison Nash, Nash Library, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

Library cat Addison, Nash Library, USAO, Chickasha, OK

   NASH LIBRARY
Chickasha, Grady County, Oklahoma

The library is part of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO). Their resident cat was Addison Nash, a tortoiseshell-and-white female whose duties included meeting and greeting visitors and she was also responsible for student well-being and rodent management. She helped to raise funds for the pet-adoption society Friends With Four Paws. Although present in the library when the university was in session, Addison, three years old in 2010, had a 'vacation home' where she went for Christmas and summer breaks.

In early 2014 we learned that Addison was still at the library; 'She loves her job and gets lonely when the students are on break,' said director Kelly Brown. Addison's silhouette appears on the library logo that's used on signage.

By late 2018 Addison was still going strong as a mature lady of some 11 or 12 years, but in 2020, after 13 years' service, she retired to Norman, OK, where she was very happy with her own room, watching the birds and squirrels from the window. She has her own Facebook page at the link below, which was still available in early 2023 although there had been no new posts since the start of 2019.

Website | Addison's page (archived copy) | Addison at Facebook | Nash Library at Facebook




Library cat Stacks, New Castle Public Library, New Castle, Pennsylvania
Library cat Stacks, New Castle Public Library, New Castle, PA
Library cat Stacks, New Castle Public Library, New Castle, Pennsylvania
Library cat Stacks, New Castle Public Library, New Castle, PA, USA

   NEW CASTLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
New Castle, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania

Stacks roamed into the library during 2010 as a small kitten, immediately went to the book stacks and meowed until a patron picked him up. Library staff tried putting him outside a couple of times, but each time he just came back in through the electronic-eye doors, went back to the stacks, and meowed until he was picked up — that's how he got his name! At that point, staff felt it was meant to be; visitors to the library both young and old fell in love with him, and the Library Board officially adopted him.

He has a very outgoing personality, and it isn't unusual for him to be sprawled on the main floor area, waiting for someone to pet him. He loves library life and feels the place belongs to him; he can often be found in the stacks, or else riding on book carts as books are shelved. In between his naps he patrols the library to make sure everything is in order, or he may be found sitting at the circulation desk to welcome visitors. Staff are lucky that he allows them to share his office space! He loves children, and every May there's a birthday party for Stacks with over 120 children attending; the birthday boy shares all his gifts with the local animal shelter. His vet bills and other necessities are paid for by donations from library staff or patrons.

Stacks has proved to be a great fundraiser for the library. In addition to this year's Baker & Taylor Cat calendar, he's also the subject of the library's in-house calendar each year. Particularly in summer, visitors come to see him from all over the United States, having heard through relatives or friends that New Castle has a library cat; and via his Facebook page he's made other friends from across the world. At weekends and holiday times he lives at the house of Susan Morgan, Circulation & PR Manager at the library; he calls the shots there and keeps Chevy, the black Labrador, in line.

In late 2018 we're pleased to report that Stacks was still at the library, 'being his usual cat self'! He was a bit grumpy at the time, as the vet had put him on a diet, and also his principal carer had died and he was probably missing her.

Very many thanks to Susan for supplying the original biography and some images of Stacks.
Website | Facebook | Stacks at Facebook




Library cat Miss Peabody - North Manchester Public Library, North Manchester, Indiana
Library cat Miss Peabody - North Manchester Public Library, North Manchester, IN

   NORTH MANCHESTER PUBLIC LIBRARY
North Manchester, Wabash County, Indiana

On a chilly morning in September 1998 a thin calico cat turned up at the doors of the library, lost, cold and hungry. She was taken in and given some food and water; then staff put her out again, thinking she must belong to someone nearby. But she kept returning, several times a day, and so eventually, after unsuccessful efforts had been made to locate an owner, she was taken in permanently and became the library cat. Her name became Miss Peabody. She roamed the aisles, kept track of computer users and generally supervised matters. The Friends of the Library adopted her and paid all expenses. Her company was enjoyed especially by senior citizens, many of whom lived in accommodation where no pets were allowed.

After 10 years of dedicated service Miss Peabody took her retirement in summer 2008, moving to her vacation home in Michigan. Actually she had two homes: in summer she resided at the 120-year-old 40 Mile Point Lighthouse, although not in the part open to the public, and the rest of the year she lived in a bungalow in Rogers City with Neil Burchett, a former Friend of the Library, who described himself as 'P.A. to Miss Peabody'. She loved the bungalow, as she could sit in a screened-in porch and watch the birds for hours on end!

Grateful thanks to Neil Burchett for updating us with news of his 'boss' in 2010.
Website | Peabody's page (archive copy) | Facebook



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Our featured feline at the head of the page is Socks, pictured in 2003 surveying his 'estate' in the early morning sunshine. Affectionately known as Soxy, he blossomed from a thin and hungry stray into a substantial and handsome cat who loved life and company, and his gentle ways endeared him to many friends. He is no longer with us, but you can read more from his human companion here.






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