Cat Lovers At The Grocery Store.

Annie watching birds like Gracey

Last week I had the good fortune to travel to Knoxville to visit PetSafe and learn about their company and products coming to market for our pets.  Our group was also given a special tour of The University of Tennessee’s Veterinary Medical Center. This amazing facility offers services for not only companion animals but also has an Avian & Exotics Hospital, a Farm Animal Hospital, an Equine Hospital and the John and Ann Tickle Small Animal Hospital.

A tiger from a  nearby  sanctuary was having surgery while one of her caretakers stood vigil. The worry was written all over her face and we felt the relief wash over her when the surgeon signaled the tiger was going to be alright. We also met a few horses and a calf  being cared for by the capable and loving hands of the medical team.

I had an early flight Saturday morning enabling me to be well on my way home before noon. On the drive from the airport I decided to stop by a favorite store to load up on bird feed and peanuts for Bossy Backyard Blue Jay.

Bossy Backyard Blue Jay

Bossy Backyard Blue Jay

I found everything I needed and also a couple of toys and treats for Annie, Eddie and Mercy.  I purchased a couple of treats for Paul and his mom too, but from the bakery department, not the cat treat section.

Upon leaving the store I walked out beside a man with a shopping cart loaded down with four large tubs of  cat litter and lots of  cat food. The cart was so heavy he was leaning forward using his whole body weight to move the cart forward. I couldn’t help but watch him.

When he saw me looking at his cart, I smiled and said hello.  He nodded back. Then he stopped, stood up straight  and said to me with what I am pretty sure was a  Russian accent “I only have one cat. I am not, how you say, one of those crazy cat people.  I just don’t have time to go to the store very often.”

His need to justify his cat food and litter purchase to me made me laugh.  I mean after all, my own cart was just as loaded down with bird feed.  I said back “One cat you say?”

“Yes, just one cat.” he replied.

“You aren’t keeping a Siberian tiger are you?”

He stopped in his tracks, tilted his head puzzled by my remark.  Then  burst into laughter saying “No, no , no just one little house cat with the heart of a tiger.”

“Lucky cat.” I said.

“Lucky me.” He answered.

“Indeed.” I said.

“You must be caring for a lot of birds?”

“Well, we have a lot of birds in our backyard and our cats like to watch them from the sun room.”

“So, you are lucky too.”

“Yes, I am.”

We nodded, loaded our vehicles and drove away.


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  1. what a lovely story, Joanne!

  2. Great story! You put a smile on my face. Thank you.

  3. Pets are one of the best ways to start a conversation, aren’t they? I love that your experience even transcended cultures, Joanne! If I’m out walking and I meet someone walking their dog, of COURSE I have to stop and say hello, or at least exchange smiles. I think pet people have a way of recognizing each other.

  4. I love this story! Thank you for sharing, Joanne!

  5. katboxjanitor says

    What a lovely encounter in the parking lot, I had to smile ear to ear.
    When we have our feathered or furred companions in our lives we are indeed lucky.

    What a cool chance to see a teaching veterinary facility like that! And a tiger, no less!

    I have fostered 3 different dogs over the last 3 weeks. 1 more week or so for Lizzie the Lab, she is now a ‘civilian’ doggie since she is not suited for life as an Assistance Dog. It has helped me realized just how much I needwant new feline friends in my life. So I am searching for the right kitties, via my network of friends who rescue.

    • These chance encounters really make our lives more interesting, don’t they? Especially when we meet a fellow animal lover.
      Watching the tiger surgery was so interesting. And even better that she is now ok.
      I think you will find your new feline family members very soon. Those will be lucky cats too.

  6. The trip sounds interesting, but I just love encounters like that.

  7. I just love this. Lucky we all are. So very lucky.

  8. Julie Proietto says

    Love reading your stories, lost our cat Lucky recently. It was very sudden, he was nearly 7 years old. We rescued him from our wall cavity when he was about four weeks old. My partner was devastated,I told him to wait for awhile. We have recently adopted a 13 month cat, Pedro from Cat Protection. In all we have six cats, two inside and four outside. We have a special permit from our council for them. We love our cats, they are like our children.

    • Julie, I am so sorry for your loss of Lucky. Our cats are members of our family and we love them just the same. Thank you for reading and being a member of The Tiniest Tiger’s community.

    • katboxjanitor says

      Julie, my sympathy for the loss of your Lucky. Sounds like he was very well loved and missed. Those little beings sure do leave some deep pawprints in our hearts, don’t they?

  9. Sara Castanes says

    Thank you for sharing this lovely story. I am lucky for my three feline babies as well. Reminds people not to take their four-legged family for granted.