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Cat walk gets literal in the SCV

Posted: September 8, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 8, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Michael Salonius with Puck in his Valencia home.

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Puck is well-known around his neighborhood in the Valencia Valley area of Santa Clarita.

On any given day he can be seen roaming the streets with his owners and with the canine pals he lives with.

As well as he knows his neighbors, you’ll never hear Puck say hello to anyone — or stop to have a conversation − because Puck is a cat.

A decade ago, Puck was adopted by Valencia resident Michael Salonius when he lived on the East Coast.

“I was recently divorced and living in New York,” said Salonius, a drug-abuse awareness speaker. “The only place I could stay was on the floor of a friend’s place in Harlem where there were a lot of rats crawling around. Naturally, I thought a cat would be a good investment.”

At a local pet shop, Salonius discovered a cat with a sign above his head that read “I’ve been here the longest.”

“When I saw that I decided I was going to take him home with me,” said Salonius. “I didn’t even want him to be tested or examined because I didn’t want a reason to dislike the guy.”

Puck remained an indoors cat exclusively until the duo moved to California.

Since Puck’s move to the Santa Clarita Valley he has to share his space with Farfel, Cooper, Oliver and Sheva — dogs that belong to Salonius’s mother, A.J. Salonius-Sherrod.

“Puck actually fits right in,” said Salonius-Sherrod. “He even chases Cooper (a purebred border collie) around the house.”

Such an environment has molded Puck into a sort of hybrid pet that exhibits indoor pet tendencies with a flare for outdoor pet adventures.

Puck joins Salonius-Sherrod and Salonius when they take the dogs out for a stroll.

The cat, which stays close to the group, is not walked on a leash. The sight — of a cat walking in pack like a dog is amusing to onlookers — but can be a challenge for Puck’s owners.

“Walking the cat is actually a chore,” said Salonius-Sherrod, a retired English teacher. “When the cat comes with us, we are at his mercy. We can’t cross streets where there might be car traffic. I basically just walk him up and down the paseos, then bring him back so I can take Farfel, Cooper or Sheva out for a more in-depth outing.”

Salonius-Sherrod has even had to begin staggering the patterns of her exits so as to prevent Puck from following her out.

“We have to get out of here fast when we leave so he doesn’t always come after us,” Salonius-Sherrod said.

Another cat who gets to experience the outdoors is Rocky, owned by Valencia resident Eric Thompson.

Rocky, an orange tabby, only gets to go outside tethered to a leash. For Rocky, it’s necessary.

While Puck is easy to supervise because of his nonchalant wandering, Rocky can be seen sprinting back and forth, chasing bugs and rolling around in the grass.

“I think the reason more people don’t walk their cats has to do with the nature of cats and dogs themselves,” Salonius said. “Dogs are pack animals so they like walking in groups or with someone or another animal. Cats don’t really need the same attention.”

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