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By JENNIFER MILLER STROBEL
Poco is the picture of contentment, basking in her own personal sunbeam.
Her serene image won her first-place in the "Purr-fect Poses" category of Cats Closet's annual photography contest to benefit the Fredericksburg Regional SPCA.
With donations of $1 per vote, the contest raised $1,249 for the no-kill shelter.
Poco was one of six winning entries among dozens posted in the store window at 819 Caroline St.
Follow Poco's example. Find a peaceful space, then enjoy a relaxing read about some of the Fredericksburg area's fine felines. The store's "human staff" shared the biographies and photos.
Poco was an abandoned kitten until John Sovitsky and Kathy Harrigan adopted her and made arrangements to have her spayed. To their surprise, she showed signs of having had kittens. A search turned up her little family in a vacant house; she had been entering and exiting the house through a dryer vent.
A few weeks later, the kittens had been weaned and taken to a shelter for adoption. Poco settled nicely into her new home, where she loves to lie in bed to catch the rays of the afternoon sun.
Baby Girl--not exactly a baby at age 17--won the most unusual markings category. Her owners, Mike and Dana Hinkle, say she is loveable, sweet, and still acts like a kitten despite her age, a lifelong heart murmur, kidney issues and hyperthyroidism. She enjoys her two daily pills in tuna juice.
Even though her family concedes she's spoiled, they wrote: "We wouldn't have it any other way. She's a special girl."
Ruby Tuesday won the cattitude division posthumously. She and her sister, Daisy Fay, were semi-feral kittens from a King George farm when Patrice and Jim Waits adopted them. The sisters got along with the couple's other cats, but always preferred each other's company even though they occasionally disagreed. When that happened, they would sit up on their haunches and box each other with their front paws.
They never allowed the Waits to pick them up, but would show their affection by deigning to sit beside them.
"They both loved to eat and then go lounge in front of a crackling fire in the fireplace, which is how we envision them now in cat heaven," the family wrote.
"We had to euthanize our beautiful Ruby on March 1, 2006, and Daisy on June 12, 2007."
Goldie won the catatonic category. Hard as it is to believe from his hefty image in the photo, he was scrawny when he first strayed into Alice Blain's yard in 2007. She had an old cat and didn't need another, but went ahead and fed the newcomer. She asked around the neighborhood but no one claimed him. The next day, another cat showed up and seemed quite friendly with the first.
The veterinarian determined the two were probably from the same litter, so she adopted them both.
Goldie leads a balanced life of play and relaxation. He chases squirrels but never gets close enough to catch any, and enjoys the comfort of his special chair in the living room.
"All in all, I'm glad he came to my house," Blain wrote.
Caesar, wearing a little tie, won the comical cat category. The 3-year-old orange Tomcat was adopted from Wendy's Feline Friends in Colonial Beach. As stated by Holli Sheddan, his "human staff," he spends his days sleeping, chasing his sister, Bella, and enjoying treats, catnip and feather toys.
Lulu was born on Easter 2011, but wore her Halloween costume to win the holiday antics category. She lives with Peggy Lengyel, who wrote that Lulu loves chasing the other household cats, Bella and Olive.