Armstrong County cat bucks stereotype, spends summers in the pool
The dog days of summer are upon us here in Western Pennsylvania.
Just don’t tell that to Tissy, a cat with a penchant for swimming.
The fluffy, orange Maine Coon cools off weekly in the Herr family pool in Brady’s Bend , Armstrong County.
Tissy even has a tiny custom floatie she dons while swimming — a creative use of plastic salvaged from a ring toss game.
“People say it’s crazy, but she’s just a laid-back cat that loves to swim,” said Sonny Herr, who rescued a tiny flea-infested, homeless, Tissy about five years ago from a busy parking lot near the Butler County Fairgrounds.
The Herr family includes 9-year-old Taylee, mom Jennifer, dad Sonny, son Traeh and their sole pet, a “spoiled” Tissy.
Taylee and Tissy are pool pals, always swimming together.
Tissy prefers to swim toward Taylee and enjoys snuggles in the pool and lounging in a fluffy towel on the pool deck after swims.
“She makes me happy,” Taylee said. “She’s like my sister.”
According to the Cat Fancier’s Association, many cat breeds enjoy the water. They include the Maine Coon, Turkish Angora, Turkish Van, American Shorthair, Norwegian Forest Cat and the American Bobtail.
The family said Tissy got curious about water when she was about 1 (Tissy is estimated to be about 5 years old) and hung out poolside while Taylee swam.
“They are two peas in a pod, and Tissy is Taylee’s sidekick. We put the floatie on Tissy after a few minutes of swimming because I’m not sure how long a cat can swim, and I don’t want her to overexert herself,” Jennifer Herr said.
Sonny Herr had a hunch Tissy was more than just curious about water and suggested the family introduce her to swimming.
“I thought she wanted to go into the pool. It was a natural thing for Tissy,” Sonny Herr said. “She’s been swimming with Taylee ever since.”
Tissy’s social media account on Facebook (Water Kitty) features videos and pics of Tissy enjoying warm baths, drinking water from the faucet, swimming, relaxing on a pool floatie and modeling festive holiday attire.
“I think she really just trusts us because we had to bottle-feed her for weeks and was so tiny. She’s our baby,” Jennifer Herr said. “She also absolutely loves warm bubble baths. She lets the water roll right over her head. She lays down and relaxes in the water.”
Tissy prefers hot summer days, with pool temps hovering around 83 degrees.
After Tissy swims up an appetite, she enjoys nibbling on Friskies cat food, Spaghettios and chicken noodle soup.
“She is another kid to us,” Sonny Herr said. “I would like to have Tissy’s life.”
For neighbor Hailey Williams, having a swimming cat next door is no biggie.
“It’s adorable — Tissy in her inner tube swimming. Most cats hate the water,” Williams said. “I’ve watched her videos on social media.”
Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.