Lulu Scores A Celebrity Interview!
Kona the cat is a popular fixture at East Atlanta's Bound to be Read Books
Once I’ve read the book, I eat it. That’s the only way to let the message really sit with me — at least for a few days.
My greyhound friend ate "French Women Don’t Get Fat," but she found it rather unfulfilling. I prefer classics such as "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare" and "The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes." But nothing hits the spot like a good leather-bound version of the Bible.
Mom gets really angry when I eat her books, so it helps to have an indie bookstore in our neighborhood. They even have a cat named Kona who works there. Can you believe it? A cat actually works!
In addition to her role as Director of Public Relations for Bound to be Read Books, Kona also writes a hilarious column for the store’s e-newsletter. She has quite a following. That’s why I thought it would be fun to interview her. (Hey, if Nene Leakes of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” can score an interview with Jermaine Dupri, surely I can get an East Atlanta celebricat for my column!)
Lulu: How did you get your job as the public relations director of a bookstore?
Kona: My original job was store security, protecting the books from mice, but that was a dud job. The only mouse I’ve ever seen around here was the one stuffed with catnip I got for my first birthday. I was obviously qualified for the marketing position. It’s something one is just born with — I refer to it as “The Adorable Factor.” I just wake up, stretch, yawn, fluff my tail, and share a little meow with the world; it’s a magnet for customers. It draws people like ants to a picnic. Jeff McCord, my human and owner of Bound To Be Read Books, is a very wise businessman and recognized my exceptional marketing prowess very early on.
Lulu: What's it like living in a bookstore compared to a house?
Kona: Well, I do go to the house on my days off. But I can tell you that a bookstore is filled with lots of books — neatly arranged on the shelves — and a house is filled with lots of As-Seen-On-TV items, usually stacked to non-OSHA-approved standards in a spare bedroom or closet.
Also, a bookstore has much more traffic than a house. It’s pretty normal at the store, but I know I would find it unsettling if people just marched into the living room and walked off with my copy of "Thinner Haunches in 30 Days" or "The Great Catsby." Of course, there was that little lady who rang the doorbell one day and attempted to purrsuade me to join Jehovah’s Fitness, but I was too sleepy to exercise.
The bookstore has lots of high shelves that I can perch on, curl up for quality sleep, and check people’s bald spots. I don’t have access to high places at home so much, but there are lots of soft beds, cozy chairs, and — when Jeff isn’t home — dining room tables to sleep on. And, there are squirrels outside the house, and I talk trash to them through the window, which is fun.
Lulu: How did you pick Jeff as a companion/boss?
Kona: I was living with some hippy Dalmatians at the time. They had rescued me after I had been abandoned. I still have fond memories of chasing their tails, and of sitting cross-legged in the floor, singing Peter, Paul & Mary songs, threading bone-chains to wear as headbands. Unfortunately, the Dalmatians moved away to Hawaii and Jeff agreed to let me stay at the store. He may not admit it, but I think it was really love at first sight. In fact, I once overheard him confess that I had him at “meow.”
Lulu: No offense, but are you a boy cat or a girl cat?
Kona: Um, very much a girl cat, thank you. One hundred percent female feline — although, technically, I suppose I’m about 87 percent female. One afternoon Jeff said he was taking me to be paid, which I was very excited about because I wanted to buy a Wii. However, as it turned out, he was actually taking me to be spayed. It’s not quite the same thing.
Lulu: With all the dogs in East Atlanta, do you ever feel outnumbered?
Kona: There are dogs here?! OK, well, let me just say that there is some truth to the old saying of quality over quantity. But I really don’t like to discriminate between the species. Why, just the other day I chided my friend, Mr. Twinkle, when he was dogging on our canine friends. I said, “Mr. Twinkle, God gave us dogs so we can be thankful that we’re not like them. They are a blessing and something to enjoy and look down upon. We really should feel sorry for them.” It broke my heart that I shamed him to tears, but I think it made him more humble.
Lulu: Umm, awkward, but okay. So what's your favorite book?
Kona: Oddly enough, working in the bookselling industry is so demanding that there isn’t much time for reading books. In fact, I’m lucky if I manage to glance at a KFC coupon before I pass out in my bed. However, I quite like "It’s a Book" by Lane Smith. I don’t want to be political, but I adore an author who can combine wit and a message with a clever ending. Of course, I’m quite fond of my own epic novel that I’ve been pawing away at in what little spare time I have between naps – "Fsst! with the Wind."
Lulu: I’ve shared my love for Shakespeare, Hughes and God. Who are your favorite authors?
Kona: Oh my ... there’s an old saying that when kicking up litter in the litter box, it’s best not to choose a favorite leg. I do admire anyone with dedication and drive to string one word after another until they have a whole book. I think my favorite authors are the ones who come to the store and are always so nice. Like that kind Deborah Wiles when she visits with her camera and takes lovely pictures to share with all of her lovely friends on her blog. It just makes me feel so special. But so many wonderful authors have visited me, and they are all my favorites!
Lulu: My Mom met author and pet communicator Tim Link at your store. She even bought a signed copy of his book "Wagging Tales: Every Animal Has a Tale," hoping it would help her understand me a little better. To be honest, I think she needs to read that book again. If someone wrote a book about your life, what would be the title?
Kona: It’s funny that you should ask that, because I have been working on my autobiography, "Furmoir: My Life in Fur."
Lulu: Wow! Between writing columns and naptime, I can barely find time to chew my favorite Nylabone before Mom comes home to play with me. Do you ever get lonely at the bookstore?
Kona: I’m not a touchy-feely feline. Laps do not call to me. I will admit, though, that I enjoy having a familiar face within ten paces, and sometimes it does get very quiet late at night. You know how some humans find pleasure in keeping fish in an aquarium? I like to think of the display window of Bound To Be Read Books as my big aquarium of people. It’s always interesting to watch the humans eating over at The EARL, walking their dogs, zooming by on skateboards, or seeing a burly bearded man with body piercings and wearing a kilt stop a clean-cut mother and go ga-ga over her baby.
Lulu: I enjoy the view from my window, too. Does it get creepy at night?
Kona: Being a nocturnal creature, I would have to say no. That would be like a vegetarian who’s allergic to carrots. Plus, when one can see so well in the dark, it takes away a great deal of the mystique. Plus, the entertainment on the sidewalk outside really picks up between midnight and 3 a.m.
Lulu: I try to love my neighbor, and not just because I ate that page of the Bible. Do you like people or just tolerate them?
Kona: Both. I like some people and tolerate some people. I especially like people who don’t feel compelled to pick me up without my permission. It can be very disorienting — especially after a nibble of kibble — to be snatched up in the air and feel like you’re going to throw up on someone. I realize that it’s the Adorable Factor at work. How can you really blame someone when they’re powerless over one’s cat charms? So, I think it’s safe to say that if given the choice between a cat-eating alien and people, I would choose people every time.