No firefighters were harmed in the making of this calendar.
Worth noting because, well ... bare skin ... razor-sharp claws ... things can go wrong.
"The cats were all well-behaved — pretty mellow and chill," said Burbank Paradise Fire Department firefighter Chris Parnell, one of the men featured in the Firefighters & Felines 2018 calendar from Cat Network of Stanislaus.
The benefit calendar is the brainchild of Cat Network volunteer Katie Sauceda of Turlock. The nonprofit network is a group of about 20 people — mostly older women, Sauceda said —dedicated to the welfare of feral and stray cats.
"I'm 35 and I want to get some younger people involved," she said, so tried to think of something "fun and exciting" to raise awareness. "I work in emergency dispatch for the county, so I have connections with some of these guys," Sauceda said of how the calendar idea came to mind.
And, of course, firefighters long have been associated with the rescue of cats from trees and other perilous situations, so helping cats another way was a natural fit.
The guys pictured are from departments including Burbank Paradise, Turlock Rural and Stanislaus Consolidated, and their furry friends are foster cats available for adoption. Though found in feral colonies, they are too tame to be rereleased. Each calendar page includes the name of the firefighter and cat.
"So far, we've printed 700," Sauceda said, and proceeds will benefit the Cat Network — "local experts on the trap-neuter-return method of cat population control," the back of the calendar notes — and animals affected by fires in wine country last month.
The calendars are available at the Caldron's Pet's Choice store in Frontier Town shopping center, 3507 Tully Road. Suggested donation is $20 — cash only, no tax. They can be picked up during normal business hours, but during Caldron's customer appreciation day, Saturday, Nov. 25, some of the firefighters will be on hand to sign copies between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
"It was a good experience, different. I'd never done anything like it before," said Parnell aka Mr. August, who will be at Caldron's on Saturday. He and three others from his department posed, he said. They got some ribbing for it initially, but their colleagues appreciated that it's for a good cause, Parnell said. And though he braved a shirtless shot, he said, the photo in the calendar is of him in uniform.
Another signing of the Firefighters & Felines calendars also will be held during the Modesto Police Canine Association's Santa Paws event Dec. 9 at Beckwith Veterinary Hospital, 3232 Beckwith Court. The event, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., will include photos with Santa, K-9 demonstrations, a toy drive and more.
CAT ADOPTION EVENT
What: Cat Network of Stanislaus adoption event and information booth about feral cat programs. All cats $40.
Where: Caldron's Pet's Choice, 3507 Tully Road, Modesto, during customer appreciation day
When: Saturday, Nov. 25, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Information: 209-735-0604, www.catnetworkofstanislaus.org