The ballots are live — let the voting begin!
But before you start, know this important fact — for its 22nd year, the Inlander's annual Best Of the Northwest readers poll has a single important question: Best Local Cat. Yes, this is real, and we are serious, however, the story of how this question came to be included on the ballot this year is a little... less serious. In fact, after a brief lapse in memory this writer (aka the only one on staff who writes the Cat Friday blog) realized she is responsible for the existence of the "best local cat" category on the 2015 poll's ballot. What goes around comes around, it seems. (Disclaimer, it was not known during ballot creation that I was the one who jokingly (sort of) nominated "best local cat" as the "best question not asked" on the 2014 Best Of ballot.)
Before you bust out that pen (paper ballots are included in the current issue of the Inlander, Jan. 29-Feb. 4) or log on to vote online for your own feline friends, hear me out. There are lots of publicly known cats around town, so perhaps choose from the following pool of nominees instead to give a local "celbri-cat" some deserved recognition!
Bento the Keyboard Cat is the reincarnation of Spokane's most famous cat, Fatso the Keyboard Cat. Fatso is also the "original" internet cat meme, and should go down in history as one of the Lilac City's most famous residents of all time. Bento may already be an obvious choice for locals who know of his important role in pop culture, but in case you didn't know, we wrote about him last year. His owner is local artist Charlie Schmidt.
A somewhat dormant Cat Friday series profiling local business's resident cats highlights a few other felines in the public eye, like the two cats of Interiors By Robin, in the Garland Business District. Dolly and KeeKee often captivate passersby by laying in the business's storefront, adjacent to the Blue Door Theatre.
While they don't actually interact with the public, the three cats of Spokane Vintage Warehouse (Zoey, Aiden and Zelda) were our first "business cat" profilees, having gained a following by photobombing pictures of the business's inventory, often shared on its Facebook page.
A very special cat often makes the rounds of downtown Spokane web/graphic design firm Design Spike. Maddie was the second profile in the business cat series, and continues to make appearances now and then (when she isn't too cozy to leave the house) at the second floor office in the Liberty Building, above Auntie's.
While we've not profiled (yet) the following kitties, patrons of their business homes should recognize these friendly felines.
Alfred, a three-legged, jet black cat, is the official mascot of Cat's Meow Feline Veterinary Clinic in the South Perry neighborhood.
In the North Monroe Business District, Laney the calico has been greeting patrons of Dan's Barber Shop for nearly the past decade.
Although Northwest Christian Thrift Store sadly lost its well-known store cat, Mouse, in recent years, Kiera the tortie has been keeping the facility under her careful watch in her stead.
Both locations of local business Northwest Seed & Pet have beloved resident kitties. Gertrude, a black, former shelter cat from SCRAPS keeps an eye on things at the East Sprague store, while Wallace and Django keep the store's animals in line on North Division.
You should bring something to drink to that Super Bowl party on Sunday. That's just what you do, because if you're old enough to drink, you're old enough to realize that when someone invites you to their home to watch a game as enormous as this, you bring something to drink. Those are the rules.
Thankfully, there is no shortage of entrepreneurs looking to set you up to sip your way to a Seahawks victory. Here's a quick guide to the possibilities.
THE 12TH CAN: HILLIARD'S BEER
12 MAN PALE ALE: DICK'S BREWING CO.
12TH MAN GROWLER: GROWLER GUYS SOUTH HILL
BATCH NO. 12 VODKA, BOURBON AND RYE WHISKEY: HERITAGE DISTILLING CO.
While it's a bit far away for us Inland Northwest cat lovers to visit as often as we'd like, the nearest cat cafe to the Spokane area is opening tomorrow, Jan. 24. This weekend, Purringtons Cat Lounge in Portland becomes the first such business in the Rose City, and in all of the Pacific Northwest.
Following in the steps of its forerunners — Oakland's Cat Town Cafe and the recently-debuted Meow Parlour in New York City — Purringtons is "staffed" with adoptable cats. Through a partnership with the nearby Cat Adoption Team, the cafe serves as a satellite adoption center, bringing in new cats when those on site have been adopted. To prevent impulsive decisions, all cat adoptions must be done by appointment and never on the same day an adopter becomes smitten with a kitten.
As a cafe, Purringtons serves small food plates, pastries, coffee, tea, beer and wine from an adjacent and separately accessed space to the cat lounge. On the weekend, guests can also enjoy "Meowmosas" as they pet a soft, soft kitty.
The American cat cafe trend has been steadily building since last year when the first in the U.S., Cat Town, opened in October. It's looking like the next Northwest cat cafe may be Seattle Meowtropolitan. The latest update from its owners predicts a mid-2015 opening, though they're still searching for an appropriate location in the city.
Meanwhile, you can book reservations to visit Purringtons starting this Sunday, Jan. 25. To ensure masses of hysterical cat lovers aren't overwhelming its feline residents, the cat cafe business model seems to have adopted the unwritten rule of reservations-based visits.
For tomorrow's grand opening, the cafe's website explains that it won't accept reservations, instead allowing guests in for half-hour sessions on a first-come, first-served basis. For those who happen to be in Portland, expect to see a line of really excited cat lovers stretching down MLK Blvd.
For fellow cat lovers not able to visit Purringtons in the near future, here's a sneak peak from Willamette Week:
"And you're giving them bread?" I said to Paul. It made me think of my first visit to Spokane, Washington. I was walking through the park that fronts the river and happened upon people feeding animals that resembled groundhogs.Read the whole story right here — you won't be sorry.
"What are these?" I asked a man who was kneeling with his arm outstretched.
"Marmots," he told me.
"And what do they eat?"
He reached into a bag he kept at his feet. "Marshmallows."
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