Not much wildlife in the Pine Grove Apartments in Somerset, NJ. Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom along with the deer and monkey they kept caged at Johnson Park in Piscataway were the closest thing I had to animals other than dogs. We steared clear of the stray cats in Pine Grove. They were a tough lot, in serious survival mode. The cat lovers in my life? Their arms are frequently covered with scratches from their own pets. My college roommate got a Siamese Cat named Bob when she got her first apartment. When I visited her in Philly, Bob would perch on top on my luggage and hiss at me when I came near. Oh, how I longed to use my toiletries. He’d purposely tilit his head to make his eyes glare in the light! I shudder as I type. Pure evil kept him alive for nearly 20 years. He died last year. She has a dog now, I may be visiting her again soon.
I tell you this to help you understand why I’ver never warmed up to felines.. to help you understand why I kinda freaked out… okay I FREAKED ALL THE WAY OUT on the set of “Charlotte Today.” Larry Sprinkle, WCNC’s well-coiffed weather man, is the TV Patron Saint of Animals. If it has fur or feathers Larry wants to pet it, hold it and warn it about bad weather. I know he wants to help me love cats too. What you didn’t see on TV was me touching the cat’s ear. It was a BIG step. I did it just for Larry.
The last time I did a stint on Charlotte today Larry had invited an owl and an eagle to hang out. I kept my cool (because there was no interaction), but I also kept an eye on the birds of prey. One wrong move and an angry beak might’ve poked out an eye or ripped out my hair weave! Wild animals are unpredictable! My radio buddy Chris Allen still teases me about the time Seaworld brought some penguins into the studio at WLNK and I thought they were attacking me.
The good news, as long as Larry is at WCNC, animals will always have a friend. The bad news… I’m afraid Larry is in Maury Povich mode. Have you seen episodes of Maury where he tries to help people with weird phobias get over their fears? I think I’ve been cast in the role of the woman with the oddball cat fear.