Kate Benjamin–whom I suggested you could call a cat lady while noting, in this case, the term would be strictly intended as a compliment, given the scope of her expertise and the two feline-oriented bestselling books she’s co-written, as well as the 13 cats she lives with—returns to “Talking Animals.” Benjamin acknowledges that she responds case-by-case when deciding to reveal to new people she meets the number of cats occupying her two-bedroom condo (along with her husband). She charts how her cat population grew to this number, explaining that she’s very involved with rescues and shelters in the Phoenix area, so kitties have landed there from TNR efforts and fostering—and many of those cats are too aggressive, or have other behavioral issues, to allow adoption placement. So those stayed with Benjamin. (Five of the 13 cats are jet black, typically the last to be adopted at shelters and rescues, if adopted at all.) Benjamin presides over Hauspanther.com–a sprawling website showcasing an array of feline-oriented designs, accessories, other products, information, and other resources–Benjamin recounts how her passion for design merged with her passion for cats. Her ensuing blog led to, among other things, “My Cat From Hell” host Jackson Galaxy contacting Benjamin with an invitation to collaborate; they co-wrote two bestselling books, “Catification” and “Catify to Satisfy.” Benjamin explains what it means to “catify” a living space, emphasizing the design elements involved, and the environment for feline dwellers it tends to cultivate. She points out that there is scientific literature and other forms of research that document the virtues of catifying various areas where cats reside. She shares her litterbox strategies and techniques, favorite litters, boxes and other products—expertise and experience developed over many, many years of living with many, many cats—echoing a November profile of Benjamin published by The Washington Post. She concludes the conversation with a rather poetic answer to my inquiry about the best thing about sharing her home with 13 cats.(https://www.hauspanther.com/, https://www.facebook.com/Hauspanther, https://www.instagram.com/hauspanther/)
ALSO: I spoke briefly with Jeanette Edwards, founder of Friends of the Pelicans, who filled me in on a decision by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The FWC has recognized that the extensive fishing on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, in St. Petersburg, places pelicans in jeopardy—chiefly because the fishing hooks cause the pelicans serious injury, or death. So, the FWC has proposed a ban on two types of fishing hooks—but, just a ban for three months. The Friends of the Pelicans’ position is that this ban is ineffective, too brief, impractical to enforce, and is lobbying for a year-long ban. The FWC is slated to meet on this matter in mid-February, so there’s time for concerned citizens to weigh in and help protect the pelicans: Visit MyFWC.com/saltwatercomments where you can scroll to the bottom and leave a comment. (https://www.facebook.com/friendsofthepelicans)
COMEDY CORNER: Paula Poundstone’s “Cats Puff Up” (https://paulapoundstone.com/)
MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals
NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We didn’t play Name That Animal Tune today.
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