Julie of the Cats

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Virtually Pets

Steven Vincent Benét wrote a memorable short story, “King of the Cats,” in 1937 (the entire text is available at the link, and as an aside, it’s one fine read), and Jean Craighead George wrote Julie of the Wolves, a brave young-adult novel that won several literary honors.

Now, meet Julie of the Cats. Julie Somers, a native of Scotland and no stranger to royalty, may not be the sole crowned princess in the adoption community, but she’s impressive in her own right as a feline rescuer and adopter. She’s certainly Queen of the Cats in Pet Food Express’s (PFE) Cat Adoption Center, the little monarchy in the rear of the store.

Somers recently won the Spirit of Dr. Eslinger award at Long Beach Animal Care Services’ (ACS) February 17 Open House. The award, named for a Long Beach veterinarian who volunteered her services to the shelter before her death in 2009, is presented to a volunteer who goes over and above the call of duty. Here’s Somers doing a brag to agreeable Avatar, who’s thoroughly impressed.

The Center is a satellite of ACS and is one example of PFE’s mission of giving back to shelters, the rescue community and, of course, the pets who populate them. Since its opening, cats who may not be doing well in the shelter or who exhibit stress or behavior issues have the pleasure of being given a “more convivial environment,” as Somers puts it in her forthright Gaelic tone. Cats who may be overlooked at the shelter because of appearance or being “of a certain age” are also given a profile here.

“Many people want kittens or young cats, or one with no baggage,” Somers said. “They get rehabbed here—they get one-on-one attention, physical interaction, playtime—they go at their own rate.”


The Cat Adoption Center is at the rear of PFE. The kennels are visible to the public, who may read each cat’s bio tacked on a window. The space also has a play area and space for wandering and winding.

Since its opening in March, 2016, the Center has adopted out 172 cats, revving the purr up to about 10 a month after they warmed up. Somers was involved from the start—she’d volunteered at Petco and at ACS, and she still is an active volunteer at Fix Long Beach. She was also an adoption coordinator for Stray Cat Alliance, so she definitely had the creds to eventually head the program. She also has the temperament of that one cat in your house (assuming that the reader is as nuts as the rest of us) who pushes past the other two or three, plus the dog, to get to the pile of clean laundry first, and claim the position as her own when the other cat queens got busy with other things.

Somers also has the instincts of Mary Poppins when it comes to nannying cats. Things she wouldn’t put up with in humans, she strives to make sense of in felines, and she deals with every hiding and hiss. Animals that have been abandoned and haven’t been adopted because of age will get a lot of touching and play—Sassy, a 15-year-old who wasn’t going anywhere in the shelter and tended to swipe at people became cuddly, purry, and, surprisingly quickly, a family’s new cat. Simon had what Somers called a “typical split personality”—one minute, he’d be rubbing against your ankles and the next, hanging from your pants legs with all four sets of claws. Discovering that Simon did well with kittens, she obtained a little friend for him from ACS, a female kitten named Poco. After the introduction, Simon became free of his foibles; shortly after, a woman came in and took both of them home.

“We can tell very quickly who’s doing well and who isn’t,” Somers said. She added that communication among the volunteers bucked up with socializing makes everything just purr along, and there’s follow-up with the adoptive families to make sure that everything is running smoothly and all paws are tucked in.

Right now, however, I can hear Somers’s brogue-inflected voice: “Enoof about me! Talk about the cats!” And so I will. These adorable felines are all adoptable, and Somers will make blinking well certain that you’re the perfect adopter.

All cats have been fixed, vaccinated, and vetted. Email [email protected] to adopt any of these cats or to volunteer at the Cat Adoption Center. Pet Food Express is located at 4220 Long Beach Boulevard, Long Beach.

Bray is a young, black-and-white playful little medium-fur girl who loves to get under things and peer out at you. She loves her toys and would also love a human to play with her with them.

Pretty Polly is a 2-year-old silver domestic shorthair tabby. Polly is inquisitive and likes to know what’s going on. She has inspected every corner of the playroom and would now like to live in one of her own.

If I’d named Sydney, I’d have called her Lotta, because there’s a lotta her! She’s a 3-year-old calico who just needs a loving life coach who’ll give her a diet she can stick to. A very nice cat!


Pumpkin is the one fellow that I met, and like all orange cats, he’s special. He follows you everywhere and joins in the conversation. He’s 4 years old and ready to go!

Avatar, a 2-year-old female domestic shorthair, is very, very interested in the award that Julie received but wouldn’t care one way or another if her human would give her chin scratches now and then. The unusual look to Avatar’s eyes comes from a relatively uncommon genetic condition called agenesis [ey-JEN-iss-eez] in which the animal is born without properly formed eyelids. Avatar’s condition is mild and can be monitored and treated with drops. She’s affectionate and otherwise in perfect health.

Things to Do, Pets to Support

Workout for Mr. Pebbles Fund-Raiser

Friday, February 23, 6:00PM–8:00PM, UR Here Fitness, 353 East South Street, Long Beach


Dig in to Zumba and kickboxing for all levels, sizes and ages. Plus, you’ll help a pit be fit as well—funds will help pay for Mr. Pebbles’ medical bills!

Long Beach Animal Advocates Silent Vigil

Thursday, March 1, 4:30PM–6:30PM, People’s State of the City 2018, First Congregational Church of Long Beach, 241 Cedar Avenue, Long Beach

Free event

Grassroots organization Long Beach Animal Advocates (#LBAA) will hold a two-hour silent vigil for the more than 1,100 innocent pets who lost their lives at the shelter. The public is invited to commemorate their lives and advocate for progressive shelter practices to save more lives.

Fix Long Beach Eat Your Veggies Fundraiser

Monday, March 5, 4:00PM–9:00PM, Veggie Grill, at Long Beach Marketplace, 6451 Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach.

Menu prices apply; 33 percent of tab benefits Fix Long Beach

No one will need to force you to eat your nice vegetables at Veggie Grill, and the money you spend will help our local pets be healthy, too! Bring the flyer above either printed or electronically, and mention the fundraiser, and everyone wins!

Cosmic Brewery Presents Peanuts Adoption Paw-ty

Saturday, March 10, 2:00PM–6:00PM, Cosmic Brewery, 20316 Gramercy Place, Torrance

Adoption fees and menu prices apply

Come to Peanut’s big spread in honor of this little dog and whoever his new human will be! Peanut will be joined by other rescues with dogs up for adoption, so there will be party favors galore! We will be posting pictures and rescue names as they confirm. A new beer release—a peanut-butter stout brewed specifically for Peanut—will be on sale, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to k911resq, the organization to whom Peanut owes his good life.


Fix Long Beach Free Spay/Neuter Clinic

Saturday, March 17, 7:30AM–3:00PM, Scherer Park, 6430 E 49th Street (enter from Del Amo Boulevard across from the YMCA), Long Beach

Spay/neuter free with appointment and qualifications; vet appointment with voucher, minimal charge for dogs and cats; flea meds $10; shots and dewormer $10 each; nail trimming, $10

It’s now the law to fix your pets in Long Beach and many Southern California cities. To provide this costly service to our Long Beach residents who otherwise couldn’t afford it, Fix Long Beach offers this service free of charge. The spay/neuter truck will be at its new location at Scherer Park on this date.

Make an appointment through IM or email at [email protected] for your dog, and include (1) your name, (2) address, (3) phone number, (4) dog’s name, (5) age, (6) sex, (7) breed, and (8) weight, and Fix will see if they can schedule you. You can also come as a standby, but be there at 8:30AM. Make sure that your pet has had nothing to eat or drink past 10:00PM the previous night.

To donate, visit our page. In-kind donations such as leashes, collars and toys can be brought to our event or ordered through our Amazon wish list.

For both spay/neuter and vaccinations, all dogs must be on sturdy leashes and all cats must be in dedicated carriers. Fix thanks you in advance for being responsible for your pet’s health and for helping to reduce shelter overpopulation and euthanasia.

Raiden’s Luck of the Rescue St. Patty’s Day Party

Saturday, March 17, 1:00PM–4:00PM, The Hounds Grounds, 6021 Warner Avenue, Huntington Beach

$5 entry; buy tickets here

Celebrate a rescue and a life with a party—food, drinks and fun! Let’s start by saying that with the most wonderful, most amazing, loving forever foster family, this boy has had a new lease on life that many don’t have the opportunity to enjoy. Raiden was given two to four months of life, but on this day, we joyously celebrate an entire year! If Raiden could talk, he’d tell you that having cancer and being blind hasn’t gotten in his way—he’s enjoying a great life filled with play, walks, parks, dog play dates and an abundance of love. Without the extraordinary relentless efforts of K9 Kismet’s life-saving pull, none of this would have happened. This festival is for humans only—please don’t bring your doggies!


Drag Queen Bingo Fundraiser for Fix Long Beach

Sunday, May 6, 4:00PM–7:00PM, Paradise Bar and Restaurant, 1800 East Broadway, Long Beach

Bingo cards $1 and up; menu and bar prices apply

Grandma’s bingo parties were never like this unless your grandma was your grandfather upon occasion. Hostesses Mia Farrow and Sabrina will be there to spur on the clients to help Fix Long Beach help local pets! Bingo cards and blotters available at the door; great prizes, awesome food and drinks.


KItty Catchers

Kitty Catchers Adoption Event

Saturdays and Sundays, 11:00AM–3:30PM both days, PetSmart, 2550 Cherry Avenue, Signal Hill

Despite the name, Kitty Catchers catches doggies, too, and some will be there along with the lovely fosters at this event! You’ll find your best friend there and anything else you’ll need to give him or her a good life from then on.

Pet Adoption Event at PFE

Saturdays and Sundays (check website for details), Pet Food Express, 4220 Long Beach Boulevard, Long Beach

Adoption fees apply

Find your new BFF and everything that he or she could possibly want or need, in one place. Long Beach Animal Care Services (ACS) and other rescues bring great cats and dogs ready to go home with their new people. Everything is high quality at Pet Food Express, and that includes the adoptive pets! Check out the Cat Adoption Center, featuring fine felines from Long Beach Animal Care Services and Stray Cat Alliance. For more information about which rescues will be present on any particular day, follow this link.

SNP/LA Mobile Low-Cost Pet Vaccines

Locations and dates vary; visit link in text

For low-cost vaccines, visit this link. Note that pet owners must be 18 years or older, all pets must be on leashes or in carriers, and only healthy and non-pregnant animals will be vaccinated. Please bring prior vaccination information with you to the clinic. Vaccination and microchip services are provided for pets residing in any city. Licensing is provided for residents within our jurisdiction at Saturday clinics; please bring your renewal notice and rabies certificate with you. Low/cost spay/neuter information is also available through SNP/LA.

Free Pet Food Distributions

Papa, a big “teddy bear’ of a dog, sits with his human in Ashlee’s Pet Care station at Beacon for Him.

Beacon for Him has extended an outreach for people experiencing homelessness and their pets. Pet food, primarily dog food, is available at their facility at 439 West Anaheim Street, Mondays from 9:00AM to noon and Saturdays from noon to 3:00PM. A dog-washing station with a stainless-steel tub is also available onsite at these hours. Donations and supplies such as shampoo, flea control and, of course, pet food are always gratefully accepted.

The Pet Food Bank is sponsored by Christian Outreach in Action. COA is located at 515 E 3rd St, Long Beach. Hours are Thursday from 9:00AM to 11:00AM.


Shelter-Enrichment Supplies Needed for ACS Dogs and Cats!

Drop-off: Wednesdays through Fridays, 10:00AM–5:30PM and Saturdays and Sundays, 10:00AM–4:00PM, 7700 East Spring Street, Long Beach

Individual donations requested

ACS is continuing our kennel enrichment activities for our canine guests here and could use so more donations (there are plenty for the cats!). Here is what’s needed:

  • creamy peanut butter
  • yogurt
  • beef broth (canned or in the box)
  • chicken broth (canned or in the box)
  • incense
  • carabiner clips (heavy duty)
  • ice cube trays
  • pipe cleaners
  • toilet paper/paper towel rolls
  • cat toys
  • corks from bottles (for cat toys)
  • catnip
  • canned cat and dog food

Donations are tax deductible. Our pups and kitties say thanks so much!


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Kate Karp is the Pets Columnist for the Long Beach Post covering the world of animal activism, pet adoptions and lots of cute cats. She’s called Long Beach home since 1994 and has written for the Post for about 10 years. Kate’s day job is as a copyeditor, which she discovered a love for during her 30-year tenure as a teacher. She describes the job as “like taking the rough edges off a beautiful sculpture.”