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

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.

click to enlarge 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

click to enlarge 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

click to enlarge PHOTO BY TOM PITERA
  • Photo by Tom Pitera

Mac

AGE: 3 years

GENDER: Male

STAR SIGN: Libra

CURRENT HOME: Orange County Animal Services

CELLMATE NUMBER: A391919

COMFORT FOODS: Mac & cheese (hint: I'm the Mac)

GUILTY PLEASURE: Smoking a little cannabis ... all the time

HIDDEN TALENT: Ability to light said cannabis without possessing thumbs

NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION: To further my wardrobe of multi-colored, ruffly collars with little bells on them

MOST SUCCESSFUL PICKUP LINE: "Are we in a litter box? Because I'm diggin' you."

FAVORITE BAND: Pussy Riot

FAVORITE HANGOUT: Behind the couch, barely out of sight, so I can swat at unsuspecting messy man-buns and other fading fashion statements, like giant scarves

FAVORITE PLAYWRIGHT: Tennessee Williams, particularly Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

click to enlarge PHOTO BY TOM PITERA
  • Photo by Tom Pitera

Horton

AGE: 2, but this is only my first of nine lives

GENDER: Male (definitely male, very male, so male it hurts)

STAR SIGN: Taurus

CURRENT HOME: Orange County Animal Services

CELL NUMBER: A392429

TURN-ONS: Birdwatching (or, as some felines call it, "birding"), bird-eating, eating other small available rodents, Tucker Carlson

TURN-OFFS: "Dog people," vacuum cleaners, bodies of water, pretty much all water, the satisfaction people get out of putting pet sweaters on me

GUILTY PLEASURES: Watching YouTube videos of people falling down, long naps,pawing at and chasing Christmas ornaments

MOST SUCCESSFUL PICKUP LINE: "It's meow or never, babe."

FAVORITE BOOK: Conscience of a Conservative by Barry Goldwater

FIVE-YEAR PLAN: To nail this adoption profile so I won't end up eating out of the dumpster behind Hooters

DREAM JOB: To hunt your run-of-the-muck house mice

PET PEEVE: When I get tape on the bottom of my feet

click to enlarge PHOTO BY TOM PITERA
  • Photo by Tom Pitera

Holly

ID NUMBER: 392980

AGE: 6 months

GENDER: Female

STAR SIGN: An innocent Gemini

CURRENT HOME: Orange County Animal Services

THINGS THAT MAKE ME MEOW: Shredding your last toilet paper roll, slow birds, attacking your feet while you sleep

THINGS THAT MAKE ME HISS: Dressing me in baby clothes

GUILTY PLEASURES: Snacking on emergency bacon, ripping into your bread bag and taking a bite of each slice, watching you shower

SECRET WISH: To grow these ears out and fulfill my destiny of becoming a lynx

JOBS BEFORE MODELING: I had a low-wage gig at JetBlue as a neck pillow that stays warm and will NOT come off despite turbulence.

PEOPLE I ADMIRE: Myself, in the mirror, constantly

AMBITIONS: To find a home with the perfect equilibrium of complete devotion and terrorized respect for me

FEARS: A closet shelf I can't reach

FAVORITE THING TO DO WHEN MY HUMANS ARE AWAY: Watch the "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" scene in Lion King on repeat

click to enlarge PHOTO BY PAUL WEAN
  • Photo by Paul Wean

Willow

AGE: 1 year

GENDER: Female

ID: A388331

STAR SIGN: Sagittarius

CURRENT HOME: Orange County Animal Services

TURN-ONS: Scarves, plastic bags, catnip mice

TURN-OFFS: Dogs, water, citrus

FAVORITE ACTIVITIES: Trying to catch that red dot that appears out of nowhere

HIDDEN TALENT: X-ray vision – only works in the pantry, though

JOBS BEFORE MODELING: Did some seasonal work wrapping presents at the Florida Mall for tips. It didn't go well. How's a girl supposed to concentrate around all that ribbon?

FAVORITE HANGOUT: On top of the couch, preferably one with a window above it

AMBITIONS: I'd like to get my cosmetology license so I can help others with their nails. I'll settle for a high-end scratching post, though.

FAVORITE THING TO DO WHEN MY HUMANS ARE AWAY: Watching reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Hulu and hoping you don't notice the effect on your recommendations

IF I COULD GO ANYWHERE, I WOULD GO: To sleep

click to enlarge PHOTO BY TOM PITERA
  • Photo by Tom Pitera

Julius

AGE: 4 years old

PRONOUNS: Them/they

ID: A391662

CURRENT HOME: Orange County Animal Services

WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF PERFECT HAPPINESS? Rewriting and hitting send on an email to your boss while sitting on your laptop

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST FEAR? Walking on a leash. Actually, that should be YOUR greatest fear – trying to make me.

WHAT IS THE TRAIT YOU MOST DEPLORE IN YOURSELF? Um ... nothing, not one thing, I'm creamy ginger perfection.

WHAT IS THE TRAIT YOU MOST DEPLORE IN OTHERS? Being stingy with the Flamin' Hot Cheetos

WHICH LIVING PERSON DO YOU MOST ADMIRE? Ava DuVernay

WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE WRITERS? T.S. Eliot, Edward Lear, Christopher Smart, Tom Cox, H.H. Munro

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Nothing (see above)

ON WHAT OCCASION DO YOU LIE? Every morning, when I swear to you that I haven't eaten yet

click to enlarge rocky1-by_tom_pitera.jpg

Rocky

AGE: 1 year

GENDER: Male

ID: A392716

CURRENT HOME: Orange County Animal Services

TURN-ONS: Dank memes, free wifi, that web video where the dog can't catch anything

TURN-OFFS: Ajit Pai, telecom companies that are trying to end net neutrality

FAVORITE ACTIVITIES: Sharing selfies on Instagram, cultivating my brand, preparing meals from Blue Apron

HIDDEN TALENT: Ranked in the top 20 percent of players in PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

JOBS BEFORE MODELING: I briefly worked as an assistant parfumier, but the company wasn't willing to go "fish-forward" as much as I wanted. Their loss.

FAVORITE HANGOUT: Right on top of your iPad

AMBITIONS: To make the front page of Reddit

FAVORITE THING TO DO WHEN MY HUMANS ARE AWAY: Share pictures of cat food on Snapchat

IF I COULD DO ANYTHING, I WOULD: Poop in Bright House's shoe

click to enlarge PHOTO BY PAUL WEAN
  • Photo by Paul Wean

Snow

AGE: 2 years old

GENDER: Female

STAR SIGN: Scorpio

ID: A391746

CURRENT HOME: Orange County Animal Services

THINGS THAT MAKE ME MEOW: Artisanal catnip, feet that are under blankets

THINGS THAT MAKE ME HISS: Tinder conversations that begin with "Did you see that article on the Huffington Post?"

GUILTY PLEASURES: Empty plastic shopping bags, bobby pins

SECRET WISH: To lead an all-cat choir singing "Do They Know It's Christmas?"

JOBS BEFORE MODELING: Hypnotist (LOOK INTO MY EYES)

PEOPLE I ADMIRE: Robert Smith, Bob Morris

AMBITIONS: To be a MacArthur Genius Grant recipient

FEARS: Bodies of water, Twitter

FAVORITE THING TO DO WHEN MY HUMANS ARE AWAY: Workshop my modern dance routines

click to enlarge PHOTO BY PAUL WEAN
  • Photo by Paul Wean

Caterina

AGE: 1 year old

GENDER: Male (but gender is just a social construct)

ID NUMBER: A391469

PERSONAL MOTTO: "Raaaeeeeeerrreee"

HOBBIES: Sunbathing, pressing my face against yours, sticking my paws under the bathroom door because I know goddamn well you're in there doing something

WEIRD TALENT: I can position my butt directly in your face while you eat, no problem.

THREE TRUTHS AND A LIE: I've never been to Paris. I hate dogs. I can swallow a fidget spinner.

DARK CONFESSION: I once pretended the owner of a cool beach house was alive so that me and my buds could throw an awesome weekend rager.

IDEAL HUMAN: Not picky at all, just looking for a human that's subordinate and rich in kitty litter

TURN-OFFS: Baths

CELEBRITY CRUSH: John Cena

DREAM JOB: I'd love to curl up on Rick Scott's head and have him wear me like a turban.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY PAUL WEAN
  • Photo by Paul Wean

Grinch

AGE: 8 years old

GENDER: Male

PRISONER NUMBER: A393542

NICKNAME: Burger ... yeah, it was self-administered.

I WISH I HAD: A Sonicare toothbrush

HOBBIES: Power naps, getting in close for a serious snug, staring at nothing and screaming, waking up at 2 a.m. every night for a jog around the house, Bikram yoga

FAVORITE FOOD: Fancy Feast, plastic bags, power cords

SECRET DESIRE: Me, perfect and wonderful, sitting on your face while you, weak and pathetic, turn on the TV

EMBARRASSING MOMENT: I once got my head stuck in a Pringles can for three days, but it turned out OK because it was Screamin' Dill Pickle flavor.

CELEBRITY CRUSH: Martha Stewart

DARK CONFESSION: I think fruit on the bottom yogurt is better if you eat it straight up and don't mix it.

DREAM VACATION: You gone for two weeks

click to enlarge PHOTO BY PAUL WEAN
  • Photo by Paul Wean

Chestnut

AGE: 4 months old

GENDER: female

PRISON NUMBER: A393541

CURRENT HOME: Orange County Animal Services

WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF PERFECT HAPPINESS? Making biscuits and drooling on your T-shirt, with occasional affectionate claw puncture wounds

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST FEAR? The OCAS staff is really lovely, but I wouldn't want to live here forever ... I am afraid I'll never get adopted.

WHAT DO YOU MOST DISLIKE ABOUT YOUR APPEARANCE? Well, I tried to bleach my mustache, but it didn't work out so well.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST MARKED CHARACTERISTIC? My jaunty half-white mustache (lemons outta lemonade, baby)

WHAT IS THE QUALITY YOU MOST LIKE IN A MAN? Ability to use a can opener

WHAT IS THE QUALITY YOU MOST LIKE IN A WOMAN? Willingness to share sushi

WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION? My catnip-stuffed Trump doll

WHERE WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO LIVE? YOUR HOUSE

WHO ARE YOUR HEROES IN REAL LIFE? You, if you take me home.

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