CAMDEN — For almost seven years, Dennis, the Warner Graphics shop cat, was a regular fixture on Washington Street. His “professional” title was Customer Service Manager, but his actual duties were providing unconditional love, snuggles and companionship to clients, his friends, summer residents and tourists who returned his affection with tummy rubs and treats.
When he died of cancer in June, he left a big void to those who just stopped by the shop for their “Dennis fix.”
The void was especially felt by Stacey Warner, his devoted mom and owner of Warner Graphics.
“It was so empty in the shop and it wasn’t getting any better,” said Warner.
So, later in the summer, Warner thought it was time to start the process of finding a new shop cat and companion. She got online and starting searching the websites of local shelters and was soon intrigued with a male cat, a stray about five years old, that she found on the Kennebec Valley Humane Society’s website.
The next step was a road trip to Augusta with her husband, Richard, to meet this feline prospect.
Warner said that her interest in him was piqued for a few reasons. First, this cat, whom she later named James, was described as “lazy.” Her interpretation was “mellow,” which is a good quality for a shop cat. Second, James is “polydactyl,” which means he was born with more than the usual number of toes on his paws which make them bigger. Again, another good sign, Warner said, since he had big paws to fill following Dennis.
They all bonded well, so James was on the road in his carrier for new adventures and a permanent home in Camden.
Warner said that James has adjusted very well to being a shop cat. He is very outgoing and started “working the counter” much quicker than she anticipated.
“It’s like Dennis’ spirit is still in the shop, guiding James along as he develops his new role of making people feel good.”
And James is making people laugh.
“His paws are so big that when he jumps up on the counter to greet a customer he slides along like he’s on a skateboard,” Warner said. “He also has been a great sport with letting me carry on the tradition of the shop cat wearing costumes for the various holidays. So far we have celebrated Halloween and Thanksgiving.”
Warner is definitely smitten with James, and his fan base keeps growing. It seems that some relationships are just meant to be.
James, long may you reign.
Reach Sarah Shepherd at firstname.lastname@example.org