By Liesl Greathouse
MONTROSE– (January 15, 2014) When shopping around Montrose, you can find some local feline friends to keep you company along the way.
Mike Simpson, owner of Simpson Gallery on Main Street, has a well-known feline named Vinnie, a seven year old male that has gone through a few name changes. “Since this is an art gallery, we called him Mr. van Gogh,” Simpson explained. “But he did not respond to that, so we shortened it to Vincent and eventually to Vinnie.”
Vinnie started with humble beginnings before finding a home at the gallery. “He was a stray that showed up at our back door, six or seven years ago,” Simpson said. “He acted a bit standoffish, but I thought he might be thirsty so I put out some water. I checked it later and both he and water were gone. The next day he was there again so I did the same thing. The third day I put food and water out and left the door open.” Vinnie moved in and has lived at the gallery full time ever since.
Vinnie has never caused a problem in the gallery and is good company for Simpson. “We get along pretty good and he does not ask for a lot of attention,” Simpson said. “He will cuddle up in my lap and when I am working he will follow me around like a puppy.”
Vinnie is a benefit to the art gallery as he is ‘good customer relations,’ attracting attention and even drawing customers up to the window to play with him when Simpson is not around. “Customers love him,” Simpson explained. “Some will come in just to see him. He will trot out when the door opens. He especially loves kids and will come when he hear kids’ voices. He often lounges in the front window and I put a sign up about how he will nudge the display around to his liking.”
Another longtime local cat is ten year old female Lilly, owned by Sheree Wanner, who also owns of Camelot Gardens, a garden center, nursery and gift shop.
Wanner had been specifically looking for a cat for the store, as they had always had animals at Camelot. Lilly was found at the Montrose Animal Shelter. She had been run over by car, had a broken pelvis, and had to be in a kennel for eight weeks to heal. “My daughter had wanted a kitten, but instead I brought home a 9 month old cat,” Wanner said. “But someone needed to save her.”The funny thing about Lilly is that Wanner was told that she was a nine month spayed female, but half way through her recovery period she gave birth to a tiny black kitten that they named Rosie. Rosie eventually went home with one of the ‘family’ at Camelot. “That story still makes us chuckle,” Wanner said.
Customers love Lilly and will often ask Wanner about her outside of Camelot Gardens. She is a very friendly cat and will let people hold her and carry her around the store. Lilly is especially partial towards women with long hair and will often sleep on their shoulders or neck and cuddle into their hair.
Wanner believes that having a cat at Camelot makes it feel like a home, and her customers also feel like part of the family because of Lilly. “It is lovely to see someone curl up with her in their arms and smile,” Wanner said. “That makes me happy.”
The new cats on the block are Mikey and Rowdy of Chow Down Pet Supplies on Main Street. The store offers pet supplies for dogs, cats and small animals, making it the perfect pet paradise for two great cats.
Mikey is six year old male and has been with owner Krista Bush and her family since they lived in Grand Junction before they moved to Montrose to open up Chow Down. “He caught my eye at CLAWS in Grand Junction,” Bush said. “He was completely shaved and had scabs. He stole my heart with his big beautiful eyes.” Mikey is one of the laziest, most relaxed cats around and is not concerned with the dogs that come into the store.
Rowdy is a boy who is a fairly new addition at just over a year old. “He was dropped off as a kitten on Main Street just after we opened,” Bush explained. “How do you say no to giving him a home?”
The two cats live in the store, a good home for them. “They have a cat jungle to sleep on, as well as healthy food and treats,” Bush said. “They provide great company and put a smile on our faces no matter how busy or stressful the day has been; they will always want a belly rub.”
The two make a goofy pair, taking toys down off the walls and knocking cans off the shelves when the owners are away. “They have parties here when we’re gone,” Bush joked.
Customers love the cats, always looking for them when they come in and missing them when the cats are not to be found. “They have both been here since we opened, so the store would not feel the same without them,” Bush said.
Montrose offers some great stores that provide amazing shopping experiences for customers, who may also find a little feline friend to be their perfect shopping companion.