Mittens takes Manhattan: Diary of the Cat of the Year's award trip

Mittens at the Today Show
(Cindy Wright)

Baltimore's Mittens is officially a celebrity.

The abused cat, recently named ASPCA's Cat of the Year, just returned to Baltimore after a whirlwind trip to Manhattan where she not only stayed at a fancy hotel and enjoyed limo service, but was presented with a major award and made an appearance on the Today Show.


While we can only imagine how all the hoopla seemed to an unassuming cat, she's filling us in on how it all went down.

Here is Mittens' diary from last week's big trip, as told to Unleashed with the help of Cindy Wright, her foster mom who knew a great cat when she saw one and adopted her:


Wednesday morning

So, I'm headed to New York City to receive the ASPCA's Cat of the Year Award! Isn't that the cat's meow? It's the first time I've ever been on an airplane. Mom is worried that I might not be a good flyer.

Ha! No sweat! After everyone from the Southwest ticket agents to the flight attendants oohhed and aahhed over me, I curled up in my Sleepypod and chilled out. No problem!

A car and chauffeur are waiting for me at La Guardia airport. I am letting mom and dad ride into the city with me.


Wednesday afternoon

Wow, there are bunches and bunches of tall buildings and lots of people. But, where are all the tree that can be climbed?

According to mom, we're staying in mid-town New York. I don't really care where we stay as long as there's deli ham close by.

I like the hotel room because it has great, big windows and a windowsill where I can sit and check out the skyline. The bed also has a fluffy comforter that looks very inviting.

Speaking of that...bye for now. It's naptime!

Wednesday night

I awake to deli ham and turkey breast! It seems mom and dad snuck out when I was napping. Mom's best friend is a New Yorker. He's allergic to kitties, but wanted to give mom a present for me. So, their trip to the grocery store made my evening.

Guess what? I'm going upstairs for a meet and greet. Richochet, the ASPCA's Dog of the Year, and her mom, Judy, thought we should get to know each other.

Wow, Ricochet is beautiful (for a dog). She was very well behaved and respected my space. Gotta tell you, I really respect her. She does surfing therapy with special needs children and has raised more than $125,000 for charity!

Good night for now. I must get my beauty sleep. After all, I will be appearing on the Today Show live with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb tomorrow.

Thursday morning

I awaken snuggled between mom and dad. After a leisurely stretch and a trip to the litter box, I'm ready for deli ham and turkey. Dad waits on me because mom's a total ball of nerves about the Today show appearance.

Right before we head to NBC's Rockefeller Center, I get to meet the ASPCA's Kid of the Year. Six-year-old Stevie and his family came all the way from Nebraska. He raised $28,000 for the doggies in his local shelter after his two puppies disappeared. What a neat family.

So, mom is getting taken straight into fur and makeup at the Today Show. The Today Show staff thinks I'm so pretty, I don't even need a touchup!

Wow, they built a special set just for us! And, I'm right in the middle of Ricochet and Stevie. I'm pretty relaxed just hanging out in mom's arms.

The live interview flies by. Hoda and Kathie Lee talk about the terrible thing that happened to me and mom tells them how BARCS (Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter) saved my life and how the Mayor's Anti-Animal Abuse Commission made sure the person who hurt me was prosecuted and pled guilty to felony animal abuse.

I really don't think becoming a national television star has gone to my head. Well, maybe a little bit! I would like to start traveling with my own fur and makeup expert.

Thursday afternoon

A chauffeur driving a big, 'ol black Suburban whisks us to the Pierre Hotel. I can't even count all of the photographers who are there to meet us as we walk in! The flashes don't stop! "Mittens, look this way!" "Here, Mittens, look over here!" "Mittens, we need you to pose with Ricochet!" "Mittens, look left!" (Where's left???)

How cool is this? There are 500 movers and shakers here for the gala...all the people so important in the fight against animal cruelty. It's the ASPCA, supporting organizations and the big donors who keep the wheels turning to prevent abuse. These are definitely my kind of folks.

Everyone is fussing over me. I'm just serenely taking it all in cuddling in mom's or dad's arms. "Can we pet Mittens?" "Does her wound hurt?" "I can't believe she's so sweet and affectionate and relaxed!" (Ha! They ought to see me when sister Hope is harassing me!)

Oh, my gosh! There's my other mom, Dr. Sherrie Seibel. She helped save my life at BARCS and took me home for another whole month of critical care. And look!  My Aunt Caroline, Carolin Griffin, the Chair of the Mayor's Anti-Animal Abuse Commission is here to receive her ASPCA Presidential Service Award.


So, the event begins with a beautiful video about the ASPCA's huge adoption event following those terrible tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri. They reunited 500 families with their beloved doggies and kitties and got more than 1,000 other homeless babies adopted. Yup, everyone's crying.

Mom and I decide to take a litter break. Well, that almost became disaster because NBC's Chuck Scarborough, the emcee, was introducing the video that was produced about me as we were walking back in. Gosh, that could have ended up like that actress Christine Lahti who was in the ladies room when her Oscar win was announced! We made it just in time.

Apparently there were more tears because of my video. And then we got to go up on stage. I sat quietly on the podium while mom accepted the ASPCA Cat of the Year Award for me. I would have picked it up myself, but, it weighs almost as much as I do. And then there's that opposable thumb issue.

Stevie, Ricochet and Caroline along with three other awesome animal supporters got to get their awards. More tears.

The rest is a blur. I think all 500 people there came up to congratulate me. That's a lot of petting. Dad wanted to charge people per pet to raise money for BARCS. Hmmmmm. Wish we had thought of that sooner!

Friday morning

I'm back home now completely exhausted. I can't wait to take my statuette down to BARCS to show all my peeps. Everybody says I'm wonderful. But, the really wonderful folks are the staff and volunteers at BARCS. I'm dedicating this award to them!

My next adventure is teaming me up with PetValu. Those neat folks want to help raise money for BARCS and raise awareness in the fight against animal cruelty. And, I will be starring in a documentary exploring teens and animal abuse and what can be done to stop it. Stay tuned!