Tabby cat 'Luther Lassen' rules at Peninsula wild bird store

Tabby cat 'Luther Lassen' rules at Peninsula wild bird store

Tabby cat 'Luther Lassen' rules at Peninsula wild bird store

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by SUSAN WYATT / The Pet Dish

NWCN.com

Posted on December 19, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Updated Saturday, Dec 22 at 4:04 PM

Watch out Henri, Colonel Meow, and Oskar, there's another Northwest kitty who is a rising star.

Meet Luther Lassen.

The 11-year-old ginger tabby lives and works at - believe it or not - the Wild Birds Unlimited store in Gardiner, east of Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula.

The beautiful store features all things wild birds, as well as work from more than 60 local artists.

Luther's "mom," Christie Lassen, says friends adopted Luther from Peninsula Friends of Animals about five years ago.

But it was not a good fit. Luther did not get along with the other pets in the household.

"He was not playing well with others," Christie says.

Poor Luther was relegated to the outdoors, and was getting into it with the gang of raccoons in the neighborhood. (That's how he got the cauliflower ear)

"It's a signature look," says Christie.

But when the mighty hunter caught a Western Tanager, Christie took action.

"I said 'I'm coming to his house and I'm taking him,'" she says.

"He put both arms over my shoulder like 'Let's go!" she says. "He needed a bachelor pad, he needed a place of his own."

Luther is always in the store, which is downstairs. Christie and husband Mark (and three other cats) live upstairs.

"He's really good natured," Christie says. "He plays like a kitten. He romps all over the store in the mornings and does a lot of sleeping in the afternoons."

Christie says he was "Luther" when they got him.

"He shares a birthday with Martin Luther, but we think he's more of a Luther Vandross kind of Luther because he's such a big lover."

She decided to do a Facebook page for Luther because "he's distractingly cute."

"He's just cute, and when we got the iPhone and there's 8,000 pictures of the cat ... it's so easy to do it that way. It took over that way," she says.

Luther now has nearly 400 friends on his Facebook page, where you can find photos of him, as well as beautiful photos of wild birds - and of course photos of Luther with his fans.

Some people visit the store just to visit him.

"He loves people," says Christie. "He lets kids put him in a strangle hold. If he's had enough he'll take himself and put himself away for a while."

"There was a gentleman who was losing his eyesight, and he would come in and would just sit and hold Luther while his wife shopped."

Christie says Luther is at "spokesmodel" for Cats Indoors, a program through the American Bird Conservancy that encourages people to keep their cats inside and gives great tips and tricks on how to make your outdoor cat a healthy happy indoor cat.

"Luther was a bird killing machine. He wrecked havoc on his previous owners back yard bird population. So we put him in the Cats Indoor Rehab Program and now he is on the bird wagon, 5 years bird-free!" Christie says.

Nowadays the peach-colored puff of a cat can be found lounging on the counter, tucked in between stuffed animals, or stretched out on the floor - tummy side up.

So stop by Wild Birds Unlimited on Highway 101 in Gardiner, have a latte at the coffee shop and give Luther a scritch.

If you visit the store and meet Luther, take a picture and send it to me at swyatt@king5.com. I will add it to this story!

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