Jackie and Lionel are two of the adorable black cats ACC officials are hoping someone will adopt during their Friday the 13th party.
The Animal Care Center of St. John plans a Friday the Thirteenth Celebration of Black Cats at the shelter.
The shelter, located on the library road in Cruz Bay, is currently home to 12 dogs and 47 cats and kittens. Kate Webster, the shelter’s new manager, announced last week that she and her staff are spotlighting adoption opportunities for some of the all-black cats and kittens in observance of next week’s Friday the thirteenth date.
Starting at 10 a.m., visitors are invited to come to the shelter to meet some of the featured cats and kittens and to consider adopting a shelter resident as a companion pet.
Webster advised that all the regular ACC rules for adoption will be in effect on Friday, but that she and her staff are offering a small reduction of the usual adoption fee for any all-black feline.
Prospective owner/applicants must meet the ACC guidelines for adoption, one of which is that any animal adopted from the shelter must be guaranteed veterinary care if needed. All of the kitty residents are box-trained and those available for adoption are people-friendly.
Webster cares for all of the Friday the Thirteenth Celebration Black Cats with the assistance of Kimber Marnen, the shelter’s Animal Care Tech, as well as help from several faithful volunteers who come weekly to help clean cages.
Starting this week, the shelter staff will again be assisted by summer intern William Vesey who specializes in socializing shy kitties. Vesey handles the resident cats to prepare them for transition to forever homes with island residents and off-island visitors.
The shelter maintains an active Off-Island Adoption Program for both cats and dogs who become “Ambassadors of Good Will” for St. John.
In addition to reduced adoption fees for black cats and kittens, Webster and her staff will provide a ceramic food or water bowl with each adopted feline. This gift is to remind everyone that cats and kittens need to have fresh, clean water at all times, especially during the hot summer months on St. John.
Veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Campbell, who has taken a number of St. John cats to her clinic in Manhattan for adoption, said that island cats and kittens have special cachet in New York City because they come from the “exotic” Caribbean.
For example, “Sheba”, an ACC cat, was adopted by a New York City opera singer several years ago, and “Laurance”— named for Laurance Rockefeller — was adopted by a Manhattan family that flies him back and forth with them to their ranch in Arizona.
“Calypso,” formerly “Peeper” at the shelter because she was so shy, is now Dr. Campbell’s official greeter cat at Symphony Veterinary Center. Anna Jeffrey, a Caneel Bay Resort winter guest for more than 30 years, adopted “Brindle,” a St. John cat that she flies with her every summer to her estate in Nova Scotia.
While all of the black “Friday the Thirteenth” cats and kittens have been named by the staff, adopting “parents” are at liberty to change the names.
Some of the kitties adopted by Westin Resort and Villas and Caneel guests as well as by villa visitors have been given such tropical names as “Caneel,” “Oriel” (in honor of one of ACC’s faithful directors), “Tango,” and “Sunshine.”
Island visitors and residents are welcome to come celebrate Friday the Thirteenth Black Cat Day at the shelter, to meet some of the spotlighted felines, and to chat with the shelter staff and volunteers. Cool beverages and light snacks will be offered visitors.
As ever, donations, large and small, are welcome to help fund ACC’s expenses for veterinary care, medications, food, shelter, and staff salaries. Let this be the summer for giving a St. John island cat a loving home for life.