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New career path: Cici the KSNAG alum moves from rescue to greeter

Cici the cat waiting for the next customer to greet. (Photo courtesy of Paul Carlson via The Houghton Daily Mining Gazette)

By Houghton Daily Mining Gazette

The Keweenaw Spay and Neuter Assistance Group’s mission is to assist local families with surgery costs those families could not otherwise afford. They also help rescued cats find new, loving homes. Cici, one of the more popular rescues KSNAG has had in recent years, has found a new home.

Cici was picked up in the Copper City area, and wasn’t claimed or noted as missing. He grew into a cat-in-residence at KSNAG for two or three years, according to Dawn VerBerkmoes. Despite Cici’s outgoing and friendly personality, “He just was not getting adopted,” she said.

“Cici is a large, short haired, white and black cat,” VerBerkmoes said. “He wasn’t exactly young when he was finally adopted. I think he was already five years old.”

Prior to finding a new home, Cici advertised himself for adoption.

“He was very nice,” VerBerkmoes said. “He was friendly and would greet people that were coming through the door. Sometimes he would hang out on a little perch and wait for people. He always got along with other cats. It was a wonder he wasn’t adopted sooner, but if we have kittens, the kittens always go first.

“A lot of people are reluctant to get male cats because they spray, but most people don’t realize that getting fixed usually stops that. Female cats can spray too, to mark their territory.”

Cici’s outgoing character made him a natural spokescat for KSNAG.

“I used to write the KSNAG ads in the Gazette, and I still do, but for a while it seemed like we were slowing down,” said VerBerkmoes. “There wasn’t a lot of interest in our cats, so I decided to have Cici write them, to make it seem like he was writing them. He had a bit of an attitude in his writing. Sometimes people still come and ask about Cici and want to meet him.”

Cici finds a forever home

Enter Paul Carlson, manager of Cedar Point Cabins.

Carlson has been a long-time supporter of KSNAG, including annual donations in the form of bottles and cans that KSNAG could turn in for deposits.

Carlson confirmed Cici’s tenure at KSNAG, and added that he had first met Cici at the height of last year’s COVID-19 shut down.

“It was probably March 14 when we had first contacted Dawn about wanting to adopt a cat,” he said. “We had all the intention of going in there and adopting a little furry kitten and starting from scratch, but Cici was just the mellowest cat. He came and greeted us. One other cat came up and tried to greet us, but he pushed the other cat away and said, ‘nope, these are my guys. This is my time.’

“We walked away without a cat that day. We went back three days later after having thought about it, and we said we’re going to take him home.”

Cici had adopted Carlson as much as Carlson adopted him.

“I kind of feel that way. I’ve been a cat person my whole life, but I feel like this is the first time a cat picked me out rather than the other way around.”

Cici took a bit of time to take in the move from KSNAG to Cedar Point Cabins.

“I think like any other cat, there’s an adjustment period,” Carlson said. “He was definitely a bit shy at first. I feel like he kind of thought it was surreal, that he didn’t even know if it was for real. He had been at KSNAG for so long, and now he had found his forever home.”

After Cici’s adjustment period, he continued his job as the greeter he was meant to be.

“We were shut down for COVID-19 for our rental cabins. I don’t think we reopened until June 22 of last year,” Carlson said. “Right off the bat, anybody that came to the door, he was immediately right there.”

Living at KSNAG was the job experience Cici needed to be the greeter that Cedar Point Cabins needed.

“I think it coincides with him being at KSNAG for so long. He wanted to meet people because it was his way out of there. Now he just loves to meet people. He’s the gentlest cat.”

Besides greeting guests, Cici has quite the range and freedom at Cedar Point.

“He goes all around the house. We have a fenced in porch, and there’s a cat door that goes out there. He likes to watch the birds and the squirrels and all that good stuff.”

Cici has a method to his work, Carlson said.

“He walks in, and he’ll jump on the counter and start rubbing against people signing their forms, or rubbing against their legs. He just wants attention, he doesn’t really care where its from, to be honest.”

Besides the porch, Cici is your average indoor cat when it comes to office work.

“Oh, he’s always in my way,” said Carlson. “If I’m doing paperwork in the office, he constantly has to be in my way. A lot of the time, I have to gently pick him up and move him so I can work.”

Cici has found the home of his dreams, and Cedar Point Cabins has found the greeter and companion they have always needed.

“Cici’s such a great cat. Don’t be shy to adopt an adult cat. They need as much love, and give as much love as kittens do. Adult cats need a home, too,” Carlson said.

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