Arts & Culture » Arts Stories & Interviews

Get to know the twelve Christmas cats of Orlando, and maybe bring one home

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We haven't brushed up on the whole Nativity Story thing since like fourth grade, but as we recall, nobody liked the guy who said, "No room at the inn!" Don't be that guy. Open up your home, your heart and that cabinet where you keep all your tuna to one of these cute creatures this week – or go on down to the Orange County animal shelter and meet dozens more. It's a sure bet that there's a furry friend there just waiting to meet you.

About these photos: They were taken, with much effort and patience, by Pawsitive Shelter Photography (shelterphotos.zenfolio.com) and Hot Dog Pet Photography (hotdogpetphoto graphy.com). Cats can be more difficult to photograph than dogs, and Tom and Erika Pitera of Hot Dog and Paul Wean and Joan Reines of Pawsitive are candidates for sainthood in our book. Not just because of how hard they worked on this project – it took half a day to get these pictures, and if you've never tried to put a hat on a cat, you haven't lived – but because of the real effect they are having on adoption rates. In 2011, OCAS put down 11,000 animals; this year, thanks to the hard work of dedicated volunteers and full-time staff, just 4,500 so far in 2017.

For the entire month of December, Orange County Animal Services has reduced adoption rates to only $12. Adoption fees cover sterilization, vaccinations and microchipping. Orange County Animal Services is located at 2769 Conroy Road, and the shelter is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1-5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 407-836-3111 or visit ocnetpets.com.

PHOTO BY TOM PITERA
  • Photo by Tom Pitera

Leah

ID NUMBER: A392739

AGE: 7 months

GENDER: Female

STAR SIGN: Clearly a Jellicle

CURRENT HOME: Orange County Animal Services

TURN-ONS: Breaking your spirit until you become subservient

TURN-OFFS: Being grabbed by tiny presidential hands

FAVORITE ACTIVITIES: Napping in a ray of sunshine with my butt on your pillow ... hello, adult acne

HIDDEN TALENT: Can meow in Spanish. Listen – ¡miau!

JOBS BEFORE COVER MODEL: I worked part-time in the Texas toddler pageant circuit as a wig bun. You know what they say – the bigger the hair, the closer to the Holy Ball of Yarn in the sky.

FAVORITE HANGOUT: The smallest cardboard box you own

AMBITIONS: To be adopted by an entrepreneurial teen who will make me a viral meme that will advance my dominance over humans for the next century

FAVORITE THING TO DO WHEN MY HUMANS ARE AWAY: Making you a better person by destroying the things you love (mostly just Taylor Swift posters)

IF I COULD GO ANYWHERE, I WOULD GO: To Beyoncé's house, duh

PHOTO BY TOM PITERA
  • Photo by Tom Pitera

Simon

AGE: 2 years

GENDER: Male

STAR SIGN: Leo (natch)

ID: A391008

CURRENT HOME: Orange County Animal Services

TURN-ONS: Eye contact, slow blinks, catnip

TURN-OFFS: Hands coming within 100 yards of my stomach

FAVORITE ACTIVITIES: Sleeping in sunlight, drinking out of the shower tap, reading Susan Sontag novels

HIDDEN TALENT: Can see ghosts

JOBS BEFORE MODELING: Intern bookstore cat

FAVORITE HANGOUT: Wherever you are (though at a respectful distance)

AMBITIONS: To catch that laser pointer bead

FAVORITE THING TO DO WHEN MY HUMANS ARE AWAY: Hiding articles of clothing and personal effects under furniture for later inspection

IF I COULD GO ANYWHERE, I WOULD GO: To the Strand in New York