Store cat gets his own highway

Staff writer

For nearly four years, Shaw the cat has been a fixture at County Seat Decorating Center earning him plenty rewards from his admirers.

“The FedEx man brings him treats every day,” owner Jeannie Wildin said. “In fact he was trying some new ones this week with meaty centers and said, ‘Oh, I think he likes these better. I’m going to stick with these.’”

To further win Shaw’s love — which since Shaw is a very friendly feline isn’t difficult to do — a representative of Shaw Carpet, for whom the cat is named, brought him a can of tuna last week.

Food treats aren’t the only things Shaw has been spoiled with lately. Wildin and her husband, Brad, are constructing a cat highway out of damaged carpet rolls suspended from the ceiling. Two rolls currently make up the highway and lead to a dead end, but there are plans to construct a loop around the store with different exits and entrances.

The carpet rolls were damaged by a forklift, so the Wildins thought they would work perfectly for their project. The idea for the highway came from a show on Animal Planet called “My Cat From Hell.”

“Several times on the show it talks about how cats are tree dwellers and need to climb to fully develop,” Jeannie said. “I was talking to my husband and he said, ‘We can do that.”’

Over the next few months, the Wildins hope to complete the project and send a photo of it and Shaw to Shaw Carpets.

Shaw uses the highway limitedly because it is a dead end, but Jeannie is hopeful it will help fulfill his climbing needs.

The Wildins have other cats at their home, but say Shaw prefers the solitary life at the store, including visits from a neighbor across the alley and her dog Angel.

“Every day they talk through the window, and I didn’t believe it until I saw it one day,” Jeannie said. “Angel was outside chattering, and Shaw was inside meowing.”

Shaw isn’t the only store cat the Wildins have owned. When the couple owned Quick Flix Videos they had a store cat named Oliver.

Oliver was a black and orange stripped cat they rescued from a shelter in Newton. He was an older cat with a sweet deposition and, like Shaw, drew many visitors, with nearly a hundred people attending his birthday parties.

“Several times people told me they were going to steal him they loved him so much,” Jeannie said.

After Oliver developed a urinary tract infection and died at age 12, Jeannie wasn’t sure she could handle another cat. A few years later they rescued Shaw from the same place from which they’d adopted Oliver.

“When we went to Caring Hands Humane Society, Shaw chose Brad,” Jeannie said. “He was standing on the counter and reached up for Brad. He is so bonded to Brad that he cries every time he walks out the door or goes into the back room and shuts the door.”

Jeannie said the first thing Shaw does every morning when Brad gets to the store is ride around on his shoulders until he gets a treat. Shaw also sits on Brad’s back while he scoops kitty litter.

Brad said his favorite thing about Shaw is when Shaw lies across his desk and won’t let him do paperwork.

“It’s his way of saying take a break,” Brad said.

Jeannie’s favorite thing about Shaw is his friendliness.

“He is the store greeter and ambassador,” she said. “When he hears someone come in he runs for the front door.”

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