Not sure who to vote for this year? If Barack Obama and Mitt Romney leave you cold, then how about voting for Bogey?
Bogey, an orange-striped Manx with gray-green eyes and a big heart, is one of four finalists in Purina Pro Plan’s Rally to Rescue: Tales of Greatness contest and you can vote for him on Facebook until Oct.26.
Ten years ago Bogey was a feral cat. He was brought to Fat Kitty City, an El Dorado Hills cat rescue organization, and fostered by Julie Mack. Mack found a good home for Bogey, who was named in honor of actor Humphrey Bogart — spelling it Bogie. Cat and new owner lived happily together for years.
This past March Bogey’s owner left him at home with a family friend when she had to go out for a few hours. When she returned Bogey’s nearly lifeless body lay on the ground, his ribs broken, clavicle fractured and his spine nearly severed. The family friend claimed it was a fall that had caused the injuries, but it appears that the cat was thrown against a wall.
The veterinarian who worked on Bogey wasn’t sure the cat would live and it was doubtful whether he would ever walk again if he did. But Bogey did live and once he was released from intensive care, Mack again fostered him through his recovery. His former owner, afraid for Bogey’s safety, asked Mack to give him a permanent home.
After a week of Mack’s care, Bogey began to walk very gingerly. Mack changed the spelling of his name to Bogey, “because he’s living one stroke above par.” She began to see the cat’s gentle nature, despite his pain, and his resiliency as a way to teach children about humane animal treatment, pet ownership and abuse prevention.
“I emphasize different things for older children — more about animal abuse and how to be a voice or an advocate for human treatment of animals and more about pet ownership for younger children,” said Mack. The Shingle Springs resident is a grant writer specializing in grants for non-profit animal organizations like Sierra Wildlife Rescue, and she also volunteers as a foster for Fat Kitty City and does the adoption weekends at Petco.
She tried Bogey out during a Petco adoption weekend. A group of disabled children was visiting and when Mack saw how Bogey and the children interacted she realized Bogey was a natural therapy cat. Both Mack and Bogey are currently going through the process to certify Bogey as a therapy cat for Fat Kitty City.
Rolling Hills Middle School was the first school where Bogey tried his paw at being an educational ambassador and so it was appropriate that the video Purina filmed for Facebook was filmed in the Rolling Hills library.
“They came out with makeup artists and special lighting,” said RHMS library technician Lois Deatherage. “They made our library look beautiful. Some of the kids in the video are here today.”
Deatherage invited Mack and Bogey back to the library for an interview last week with the Bengal Weekly News Crew. The seventh- and eighth-grade reporters created a broadcast that will air schoolwide on Sept. 17.
“We wanted to let the kids know Bogey’s story and show them how to vote for him,” said Deatherage. “The kids have been so engaged in this whole activity. It’s been a learning event for all of us.”
Bogey has his own business card in the event that a school or library would like him to visit. Mack distributes a list of Bogey’s nine suggestion for how kids can help animals at each visit. Suggestion No. 3 reads: “If you see anyone hurting an animal or you suspect that an animal is being abused or neglected, tell a teacher, parent or other trusted adult.”
Today Bogey is still a cautious walker. He can walk up stairs but going down the stairs is harder. Sometimes his back legs give out on him. He continues to get physical therapy and he seems to enjoy the bustle and attention of the children, looking around calmly as they pet him or brush his orange fur. As for the children — their eyes light up and everyone wants to touch Bogey.
Although Bogey is already a winner as a cat, his finalist status entitles him to a year’s worth of Purina Pro Plan Pet Food. The grand prize is $5,000 worth of pet food for all the pets at the Fat Kitty City organization and a four-day, three-night trip to the 2012 Philadelphia Kennel Dog Show for a member of the organization, his owner and Bogey himself, although Bogey may choose to pass on this event. He will be featured on the Purina Pro Plan Facebook page.
“And maybe he’ll be featured on a cat food bag,” said Bengals reporter Sarah Moghaddam. “Rolling Hills was the start of his career.”
To vote for Bogey and watch his video story go to facebook.com/rallytorescue?sk=app_383458521723293
The Agee Memorial Wildlife Fund Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation dedicated to ending animal suffering, through spaying, neutering, socializing, adopting and other aggressive approaches. The group currently operates a one-of-a-kind, cage-free sanctuary, Fat Kitty City, on a 20-acre, tree-studded natural environment near El Dorado Hills. For more information visit the Website fatkittycity.org.
Organizations wishing to contact Bogey for a visit should mail Julie Mack at [email protected]