If you were to associate an animal with libraries and librarians, what would it be? If the title of this article wasn’t already a spoiler–we love cats around these parts. Well, most of us. There are some dog people too, but we don’t talk about them. The point is, librarians, libraries, and cats. It’s a thing.
In fact, the vendor from which your Highlands County libraries buy their books has two cats for its mascot. “Libraries have a long history, perhaps dating to ancient Egypt, of keeping cats. In the 19th century, the British government paid libraries to house felines, who earned their room and board by keeping rodents from eating the glue and binding off of the books. We have our own cat history. Librarians know us by our beloved cat mascots, named – of course! – Baker and Taylor.” This is from their website at baker-taylor.com and gives a little background on the lengthy and happy association between cats and libraries. Fun fact, I can tell you that librarians line up at the Baker & Taylor booth at related conventions to get one of their tote bags (featuring their library cat mascots, of course).
As you might suspect, the tradition of libraries and housing felines is alive and well today. You may find them in libraries worldwide. Perhaps the most famous example other than the aforementioned is Dewey Readmore Books, a kitten that was abandoned in the Spencer Public Library’s drop box in the winter of 1988 and subsequently nursed back to health by the librarian and adopted by the library. You can read all about him in “Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World” by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter.
If all of this has you pondering cats and their place in your life, it’s a great time to think about adopting one because this month marks American Humane’s 46th Annual Adopt-A-Cat Month®. June is the height of kitten season and shelters nationwide have all kinds of “fur babies” just waiting for you. You can find out more information on this and their other initiatives at americanhumane.org
The Humane Society of Highlands County (not to be confused with the aforementioned) is located at 7421 Haywood Taylor Boulevard in Sebring. You can reach them at 863-655-1522 and they upload all of their adoptable animals at petfinder.com under the Humane Society of Highlands County or through their Facebook page under the same name. Adopt in person Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm, masks required.
On Mondays from 10 am to 3 pm they offer nail clippings, low cost vaccinations, and other medical services. If you’re interested in spaying or neutering, please call a month ahead and make an appointment. Otherwise, a veterinarian is available by appointment Tuesday through Saturday.
Cats, and other pets, are a joyous responsibility and help contribute to an overall rich and fulfilling life. The cats of my childhood were all strays or adopted from shelters like the Humane Society and I have been dreaming of sharing my life with one again for many years. Recently, that wish came true when my husband brought his cat, Pickles, into our home. I and any other cat lover can tell you that there is nothing better than coming home or waking up to these curious, intelligent, independent, and loving animals.
In Pickles’ case, he always wants to be wherever we are and receive all the love and attention he deserves. I hope you’ll join us this month and add one more member to your family. Be sure to stop by your local library and let us know of your joy! You can also visit us at www.myhlc.org or follow us on Facebook at the Highlands County Board of County Commissioners page.