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Best job in the world comes with purrs and tail flicks


August 03, 2018

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Ever feel like you’re having a bad day and you just want to crawl into a corner and wait until your troubles go away? We’ve all had those days. But the good news is that in Statesboro, there’s a feline ambassador of love and snuggles that will make all the bad stuff go away.

You just have to be willing to wear a little “kitty glitter” home on your clothes.

Snowball is a Persian cat that lives at the Bulloch County Animal Shelter. She’s become the mascot of the facility since she started coming to work with her human mom, Wendy Ivey, the shelter’s director. Ivey had originally adopted Snowball when she was a tiny kitten and Ivey’s daughter was 4 years old, but they soon found that she had allergies. But Snowball wasn’t going anywhere.

“She was already a part of the family, so we weren’t going to get rid of her. We just couldn’t. So I started to bring her to work with me every day,” Ivey said. Snowball went home with her every night, but it was tough on Ivey’s daughter, having to see the cat but not be able to interact with her.

So the family decided that Snowball would live at the shelter. And she’s been there ever since.

We recently sat down with Snowball to get her take on life at the shelter, and after our “talk,” we went home feeling fantastic and wearing about half of Snowball’s coat.

But it was totally worth it.

 

According to Snowball, life at the Bulloch County Animal Shelter is pretty good.

“I generally have the run of the place, except the back. The humans will tell you it’s because of disease control. But I think it’s because I’m best suited to being up front, where people who come in to visit can see me better,” Snowball said. “I mean, I am pretty gorgeous, especially after I’ve been groomed.”

Snowball prefers her hair short, especially in the summertime, since it’s much cooler. She often pulls her hair out when it’s too long, so keeping it short is better. But she also likes the look of it all. Her tail is trimmed, except at the end, which makes it all the more dramatic when she flicks her tail.

“I flick my tail around to let you know my mood. Sometimes, I flip my tail when I’m annoyed and I’ve had enough. Then there are times when I’m perfectly content and I flip my tail. It’s all very confusing, but I don’t really feel the need to explain. You’ll just have to do the best you can to keep up,” she said, between licks on her paw.

Most days, Snowball can be found lounging around the front office at the shelter, and if people come in to adopt, she will sit in their laps while they do the necessary paperwork.

“It looks as if I’m being sociable,” she said. “But really, it’s all about making sure that paperwork is filled out correctly. I do have my standards.”

The shelter does intakes and adoptions, and everyone there loves to see the animals adopted out. So Snowball asserts that the paperwork is important.

When asked about her standards, Snowball smiles a bit, and flips her tail.

“Well, I do tend to make my point when things are not done properly. When the humans don’t clean my litter box the way I like it, well, let’s just say I leave them a little package just outside the box. It’s my little way of saying, ‘Straighten up and do it right.’ I’m doing them a favor, really. Humans can be quite teachable,” she said.

Snowball enjoys spending time with the visitors that come in, and can be a bit choosy about who she allows to interact with her.

“Not everyone likes cats, and I can tell who does and who doesn’t. Sometimes, just for fun, I target the ones that don’t like cats. I try to make sure those people get a little extra attention,” she said, purring. “But I really like getting my ears scratched and my head rubbed.”

Snowball says she particularly likes to find those who have recently lost their pets or whose pets are missing.

“Those humans seem really sad, and I just know that by me climbing onto their laps and purring, and allowing them to love on me, well, it will help them feel less sad,” she said. 

Volunteers at the shelter are not immune to Snowball’s charms, and she often finds her way into their arms as well.  Most of the volunteers at the shelter are college students who need volunteer hours for classes and projects. But no matter where these helpful humans come from, they all get some “emotional breakaway time” with this tiny, prissy kitty.

“I like to help people that are stressed out,” Snowball said. “I give them a little bit of relief and relaxation.”

When asked about her age, Snowball smiles, and flicks her tongue out a bit.

“You really shouldn’t ask a lady such a thing,” she said, purring a little. “But since you asked, I will tell you that I will be 14 years old, in human years, in December. But I have worked hard at keeping my figure and most people think I’m younger than I am. It’s all about living and eating right.”

Snowball is, in fact, a very petite cat, and says she is picky about her diet. She only eats Purina cat food for indoor cats.

“I won’t touch anything else,” she said.

Snowball has two feline friends who also live at the shelter full-time: David Bowie, a female who is 7 years old; and Adabell, a female who is 6. Although they all enjoy spending time with the staff, Snowball is the most outgoing when it comes to visitors. She isn’t even shy when dogs are around.

“I don’t back down from dogs. If they get all up in my face, I give them a swat on the nose. It’s not meant to hurt them, but they have to learn that this is my house,” she said.

Other cats, well, Snowball just keeps an eye on them.

“I’ll give them their space if they’ll respect mine,” she said.

Being that she is a little older now, Snowball said she’s not so much into playing with toys.

“In my younger days, I played. But these days, I mostly just prefer to watch. My friends Adabell and David Bowie play and I get worn out just watching,” she said.

Adabell likes playing with straws, and David Bowie likes fake mice and small balls. Adabell also enjoys batting the caps from water bottles around, and Snowball will join in, on occasion, if the mood strikes.

David Bowie is also a big fan of Cheetos. When any of the staff gets a bag of Cheetos, she stalks them and begs for the treat. Snowball just rolls her big, lovely eyes at this.

“I would never beg like that. Besides, those things go right to your hips,” she said.

Snowball admits that some people might not care for the appearance of the Persian breed: chubby cheeks, big eyes, snub nose and downturned mouth, which can make her look a bit grumpy. But she has a message for those humans.

“Don’t judge a kitty by her looks, or any animal for that matter. We all have love to give and if you give us a chance, we’ll love your forever,” she said.

Snowball says that the best part of her job at the shelter is getting to see adoptions take place.

“Me and the humans here, we have an awesome job. We get to see all these animals walk out of here alive, and go to homes where they won’t ever have to be alone or scared again. That’s our goal,” she said.

And with a final flick of her tail, she hops down and sashays away. Duty calls.

 

The Bulloch County Animal Shelter/Animal Control is located at 81 Mill Creek Road. Find them online at http://www.bullochcoanimalshelter.org, or call them at (912) 764-4529. The shelter is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday each week from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; on Tuesday and Friday from 12:30 to 5 p.m.; and on the first and third Saturday of the month from noon to 3 p.m.


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