Forget gubernatorial pooch Sutter Brown’s dog walker: this animal-based state Capitol gig is feline focused.
Sacramento policymakers at times rue their vote-whipping work by likening it to herding proverbial cats. As it turns out, feeding literal cats could also be in a lucky state employee’s job description.
“Our Capitol Kitties in our park need permanent feeders for Saturdays and the second and fourth Sundays of each month,” a posting in the Senate Daybook explained, noting that “Feeding the Capitol Kitties has been a tradition undertaken by legislative and state agency staffers for more than a decade.”
Rewind to 2005. Feral cats living in Capitol Park had produced a proliferation of kittens – “they were bringing them in by the boxes,” recalled Assembly Rules Committee staffer Sandee Felley – so Felley and a colleague learned how to trap the cats. They managed to find homes for 66 kittens.
But a few feral veterans still roam the Capitol grounds and get fed by a rotating roster of volunteer state workers (a longtime resident named Senator Kitty died years ago and is featured in a children’s book). Helpers purchase the food themselves and have been supplying water as well since the drought led grounds managers to drain a pond on the Capitol grounds.
“They’re friendly to their feeders. They greet them,” Felley said, although the Capitol kitties give a cooler reception to domestic cats occasionally brought by for a visit. “The ferals,” Felley said, “don’t take kindly to newbies like that.”