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Charlie the cat a popular fixture at Ponoka library

“She’s very playful for an old cat. She’s about 17 now.” Jaclyn Berry, Ponoka Jubilee Library programmer
Charlie is a fixture at the Ponoka Jubilee Library. The cat was adopted over four years ago and has been greeting library clients ever since.

She can be quite cuddly when she wants to and irascible in her own right, but one thing is for certain, Charlie the cat rules the roost at the Ponoka Jubilee Library

The library feline can be seen strolling the aisles of hundreds of books, listening during story time along with the young children or catching a snooze on someone’s lap by the front windows.

She’ll let you know when you’ve stepped out of line with a small bite but for the most part, she’s a good-natured little cat.

Yup, Charlie may be opinionated but that only seems to generate admiration from the library’s patrons. If she could talk, Charlie would most likely call a spade a spade; so-to-speak. People know where they stand when it comes to that cat.

Jaclyn Berry, library programmer, has a close bond with Charlie as she started the same day that Charlie was adopted four and a half years ago. Most people don’t realize it, but Charlie was about to be euthanized as her owner was elderly and was moving into a home, explained Berry.

At the same time the library was considering getting a cat, a veterinary clinic received Charlie. They called Norma-Jean Colquhoun, the librarian at the time, and said they had found the perfect cat. She was declawed and needed a new home.

The process was quite participatory as library clients first had to vote whether they approved. Berry said of the 400 who voted, 394 were in favour of getting a cat. After their vote passed, the library board and then town council had to approve the request.

Since moving, Charlie has had a spoiled life, says Berry. “She’s very playful for an old cat. She’s about 17 now.”

The cat’s former owner stopped by for a visit some years ago and was overjoyed to see Charlie so happy in her new home. Berry said the cat has a lot of fun and receives a lot of attention.

“She is by far the most popular part of the library,” said Berry.

Charlie enjoys sleeping, looking at birds, more sleeping and hanging out with Berry during story time. She can be found helping staff with emails by stepping on the keyboard and cuddling right up against them so they can’t see the monitor.

But what Charlie really seems to enjoy the most is a good visit with the many library patrons. “If she knows you, she is a very cuddly cat,” said Berry.

She advises people take their time getting to know the cat. Charlie prefers to make friends on her own time, and if forced, can get a little grumpy. Berry says most children understand the cat and can read her many moods.

For those who are afraid of, or allergic to cats, Berry says library staff will put her in a closed room to give people freedom to browse.

Despite her attitude, folks appear to like Charlie. Perhaps for them, when Charlie comes to visit, they know she means it.

Berry says she is working on a 2015 fundraising calendar with Charlie being the spotlight model, which may prove a challenge because Charlie doesn’t like having her picture taken.