“What’s green, purrs and gives free therapy?”
You might want to respond with: “A happy pickle with a psychology degree.” Close, but you’d be wrong. The real answer is Mr. Pickles.
Who? … Well he’s a very clever tabby cat, and although he’s grayish brown and not green, all the other outdoor cats who live in the area are green with envy at his lifestyle.
We came across this remarkable story after speaking with Jill Chang who is the Communications Director at Bayview Retirement Community in Seattle, Washington. Jill told us about their wonderful resident cat (aka Mr. Pickles) and we just had to learn more.
This story began almost 5 years ago when Mr. Pickles one day ventured onto the grounds of the Bayview Retirement facility for a quick scamper through the grass followed by a catnap.
Once refreshed and alert, he decided to explore further and ventured right inside their main building entrance. The caring residents were so delighted at his unexpected arrival that they tossed him bits of food and made him feel completely welcome. And so began the regular daily visits with his newfound friends. >^..^<
Turns out Mr. Pickles (an outdoor cat) had an owner who lived nearby but was frequently away from their home due to medical issues. Whatever the reason, Mr. Pickles came and went for his daily visit until one day (almost a year later) his owner finally walked through the doors of the retirement community and introduced himself, saying: ‘You don’t know me, but you know my cat.”
He then informed them that he was moving away and offered to let them keep his cat. The residents at Bayview happily agreed. And the rest as they say is hiss-tory.
That was the day that Mr. Pickles became a permanent resident and now he spends his days sleeping beside a resident, or keeping someone company, and of course even allows residents to scratch his chin with their canes. He’s a true therapy cat and having this lovable, charming four-legged friend around does wonders for the physical and mental well-being of these residents.
Mr. Pickles is believed to be about 10 years old and now stays mostly on the lobby level of the large complex.
He’s adored by just about everyone. In fact, those who prefer not to speak to other people will happily interact with him! According to Mary Swartz (one of Bayview’s admissions coordinators), “He pretty much owns the lobby, but he knows to stay out of the dining area; he’s caught on pretty quick.”
The community does have other pets but they live with their owners. In fact, Mr. Pickles is no longer the only cat who lives in the facility’s common areas. There are now two other cats (Frankie Blue Eyes and Tom) but Mr. Pickles is more of a people-person and he rarely interacts with the other cats.
Turns out he’s a real ladies man (umm…we mean cat). Here he is hanging out with Marion Watanabe, one of his many “moms” at the home. She described a time when Pickles dropped in on a monthly meeting between residents and Bayview’s CEO. Marion shared, “The CEO got up to start the meeting and he said, ‘Now, if that resident would just sit in a chair we could start this meeting.’ … I’m not sure if it was by accident, but Pickles got right up and sat in a chair.”
Here’s another shot of Mr. Pickles proudly wearing his Seattle Seahawks toque … notice the purrfect match to his gorgeous green eyes!
Mr. Pickles is never one to pass up a photo opportunity. Being such a celebrity he’s been known to don the shades every now and then when the paparazzi show up so they won’t recognize him.
As you’ll notice (below) Mr. Pickles is certainly not underfed and meal time is pretty much anytime with all his surrogate loving moms! But he does get his exercise wandering around the main floor, visiting the offices, spending time in the common rooms, attending meetings and film screenings, accompanying residents as they walk on the grounds and keeping the groundskeeper company as she works.
Birdi Adams, another one of his “moms,” stated, “He’s a smart cat…when he wants water, he wants fresh water. He’ll wait by the sink until I get water for him, even if he has a dish right there. He’ll also drink more if I stand right by.”
Being such a celebrity does require a bit of help and he’s more than willing to get a brushing and makeover for the cameras.
We’re still not quite sure where the name Mr. Pickles came from but we’re certain that most other cats would be green with envy at his pampered life! If you enjoyed this tale of a trojan cat who sneaked in and stole the hearts of these residents, you’ll also enjoy our article on the Campus Cat.
Please check out this delightful video to learn more about the charming Mr. Pickles and his role in this retirement community.
We hope you enjoyed this story and would love to hear any stories you know of special cats that have transformed peoples lives.
Finally we wanted to share our latest charitable promotion just in time for Valentine’s Day. We’re big fans of the incredible work and people from Milo’s Sanctuary & Special Needs Cat Rescue. They are a non-profit 501(c)(3) founded on the belief that all cats deserve a second chance at life, especially those that have physical disabilities, are seniors, have a terminal illness, or have been abused and need someone to care for love and understand them.
We partnered with Ideal Fashions to offer a stunning collection of very special cat themed watches for ladies. $5 for every watch sale goes directly to Milo’s Sanctuary to help them help cats in dire need. And shipping is FREE within the U.S.
Please help if you can and proudly wear one of these fashionably feline watches and know that you’ve made a difference to improving a cat’s life! Simply click on the image below or one of the links to see the whole collection.