We had no idea what to expect after placing one of the most unusual questions on the ballots for this year's Best Of the Inland Northwest
readers poll: Best Local Cat.
The unlikely odds this question ended up on the ballot was actually in part thanks to this writer, who, in testing last year's online voting system, half-seriously responded to last year's "Best question we didn't ask?" with a cat-themed inquiry.
Early predictions around the Inlander
office were a runaway victory by Spokane's most influential famous cat
— Keyboard Cat. Yet, surprisingly, it was not Keyboard Cat who took the ultimate title, but a petite little tabby named Laney, who resides at a long-time local business, Dan's Barber Shop. I had the lovely opportunity to write about Laney in this year's Best Of issue
(scroll to the bottom of the linked page for her story).
Once the ballots were tallied, Charlie Schmidt's Keyboard Cat
(who we profiled about a year ago) landed the second-place spot, followed by an unforeseen unknown in third place, a spunky rescue cat by the name of OMAR LITTLE
. Pets outside of the public eye were an obvious trend in responses to this question. To find out more about Omar I tracked down his owner, Robin Haynes, a principal at the Spokane office of the law firm Witherspoon Kelley.
The name Omar Little may sound familiar to some — Haynes' named the cat after a stick-up man who robs drug dealers on the HBO crime drama The Wire
"He's a little gangster with a lot of personality... it's like living with a little panther," Haynes notes. "He likes to punch you in the face with his paw to get you to feed him because his bowl being empty is a problem."
Omar was adopted in 2012 at 11 months old from the Spokane Humane Society
, after he'd already been in three different homes and returned to the shelter each time. At the shelter, he was known as Henri. Haynes says that while there, shelter staff taught him to play fetch, walk on a leash and do other tricks for treats. Omar is currently featured on this year's SHS desk calendar, for which he had a professional photo shoot.
Haynes is a huge fan of The Wire
, and Omar's little brother is also named after a gangster character in the show. Wee-Bey, however, is Omar's total opposite. Haynes calls him the "shyest cat ever."
Scrolling through the hundreds of nominees for "Best Local Cat," I was intrigued to learn more about a few other cats with pop-culture namesakes. And in an age where cats seem to have just as good odds as humans to nab 15 minutes of fame, it's time to let the world know about some of the Northwest's most interesting feline personalities.
: Jerry Schutz
: 2 years
: Humane Society of the Palouse
, in March 2013. (This was after Schutz found the cat wandering around his home, sneaking inside repeatedly for several hours. Once it was determined the cat was a stray, Schutz made it official.)
: President of the Galaxy from Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
. Jerry writes, "As you may recall Zaphod Beeblebrox has two heads — the one without brains who signed the order to blow up the Earth, and the intelligent one that got him elected president, running the 'Don't Vote for Stupid' campaign."
If Zaphod could communicate his surprise at being nominated, what would he say?
“Don't try to understand me, just be grateful that you felt the warmth of Zaphod Beeblebrox's aura on your wonderstruck face.”
: Sarah Knutson
: 9 years
: In September 2006, he was a kitten living at a barn in Montana where Knutson boarded her horse. He loved people, and didn't like to hang out with the other cats on the farm, so the barn owners asked if anyone would take him, and she couldn't resist.
Strangest quirk? "
I swear he is a dog in cat's clothing. He begs for food, patrols the house, and waits at the door for me to come home. He is always happy to see me and follows me everywhere."
If Squeeze Box could communicate his surprise at being nominated, what would he say?
He would wonder if there was food involved, particularly ice cream, which is his favorite.
: Jonathan Manfredonia
: 1 year; his birthday was on St. Patrick's Day
, in September 2014
What is his strangest quirk?
"He's the most seductive cat I've ever met. He immediately jumps into the lap of anyone who comes over, and swoons them into heavy petting with his big, innocent eyes and baritone purr."
If Catrick could communicate his surprise at being nominated, what would he say?
He would quote the other Swayze from Point Break
, "Little hand says it's time to rock and roll!"
: Elliot Stoll
: Around 6 or 7 years
: Partners for Pets
, in September 2010
: The Chupacabra, Chup (choop), Chalupa
"Her need to announce herself with a series of meows when entering a room. However, her frequent vocalizations are what makes her unique. She's an extremely well-behaved cat, and we're glad to have her."
: Nathan and Lisa Smith
: 9 years
: SpokAnimal, in March 2006
: "The first Anchorman
came out while we were in college. We were looking for something unique with some personality, and this fit the bill. Ron Burgundy has a classy way about him."
Favorite thing about him?
"He likes to be where the action is, but he is not too clingy. He has also developed a special bond with our Weimaraner, Yoda. For instance, he likes to hide behind walls and surprise him when he walks by."
If Ron could communicate his surprise at being nominated, what would he say?
Undoubtedly, he would be asking where the afterparty is.