A Star is Born

It’s a bird, it’s a plane . . . no, it’s the super-talented Keyboard Cat!

Who, you might wonder, is Keyboard Cat? Well, it’s Nora, a beautiful gray Bullseye Tabby who was, according to her website, born to a “humble stray cat” and then taken home by Betsy and Burnell after they saw her at the local shelter. When Nora was about one year old, she revealed an astonishing talent – the ability to play the piano, either in a solo act or as part of a duet. Now, the kitty’s website proudly announces, she is an “Internet & International Media Star and Musical Edu-Cat.”

Nora: The Early Days

Life didn’t start out so smoothly, of course. After being brought to Betsy’s and Burnell’s home, Nora needed to co-exist with five other felines, which wasn’t easy for a cat with Nora’s . . . well, “bossy” personality. Fortunately, the two grand pianos in the home made up for some of the growling and hissing that Nora needed to do in order to let the other cats know that she was the Official Feline In Charge. Some games that Nora enjoyed as a youngster included chasing her tail while on a piano (that’s because she could see her reflection in the polished wood) and listening to Betsy teach her students how to play piano.

Musical Maestro

One day, Nora decided to tickle the ivories with her own two front paws, and discovered that she liked the high notes better than the lower ones – and that she could play both softly and loudly. Here is a sampling of her talents, including when she accompanied one of Betsy’s students. This particular concert has received 24,802,507 viewings on YouTube, with 74,194 likes. Ah, the life of a feline performer in high demand.

Like many other musical superstars, Nora is a bit of a “diva,” according to this Petcentric article, with an “artistic temperament.” She only purrs, Betsy points out, when she plays the piano – and only performs when she has a live audience, made up of people who meet with her approval. When friends of Betsy’s students wanted to take photos of Nora with their cell phones, the cat graciously permitted that. But, when a film crew traveled from Japan to capture one of her concerts, they didn’t meet Nora’s finicky standards, and so she declined. Perhaps graciously; perhaps not. She liked the VH1 crew and Philadelphia Inquirer photographer much better, though, and so she fit them into her busy schedule.

What about you? Are there any budding Keyboard Cat types in your neighborhood? What are their talents?

Shelter Cat Turned Pet: His Name is Toby

Yes, I’ve started volunteering at our local animal protective league — and, yes. I already couldn’t resist taking a beautiful shelter cat home with me.

shelter cat: Toby

His name is Toby. He lived with the same owner from the time he was a kitten until he was 14 years old. Then, when his owner died, he was taken to Friendship Animal Protective League where we met.

In theory, I was at the APL to help my sister Tracy take pictures of the cats and kittens. These photos would go on the website and Facebook page of the shelter, to spread the word about what animals were currently available for adoption.

Whenever we were there, I would stop and pet Toby, giving him a break from his cage. He and I hit it off well, but Toby also seemed to enjoy the company of other volunteers, too.

Then, after Toby was in the shelter for about two weeks, Tracy and I went in, only to discover that 25 energetic puppies were also there, gleefully barking. Toby wasn’t happy. I took him home.

Our other pets grumbled a bit, but all is going well. And, as you can see, Toby is very willing to help me write!