Lily & Heath, Airline’s 2 kitty cats! If you have spent any time at our Airline store, you are sure to have spied 2 tabby cats sauntering around meeting and greeting our patrons. Heath, a super-sized lean tabby cat can be found lounging at the checkout, curled up on a mat, in a pot,
sprawled in a birdbath, or any place he decides to call “his” for the day. Lily, his mom, makes her domain an office chair in our accounting office so she can keep a watchful eye over the day to day operations of our company. They will search out anyone, throw themselves down by their feet and demand some long petting and strokes of love and food. What many of you don’t know is Lily began her life as a wild stray living in the outback of our nursery.
Our Airline store is still on the edge of town with a lot of country around us. So it was no surprise when we saw another poor pregnant scrawny cat living in the surrounding brush. What did surprise us was when she decided that living as a single, soon to be mom, was too much. She began hanging out in the nursery and well, of course, someone went and bought food. Trusting us more and more, she began coming around for food and a few pets. One day she showed up much skinnier. We knew she’d had her kittens; we just couldn’t find them! A fews weeks later we heard the meows of kittens in our warehouse. Diane, our animal rescue guru, was on the spot hunting them down, looking through our dusty loft. Now, although Lily had gotten used to us, her kittens were wild. It took Diane wearing leather welding gloves to capture them. It did not take long for them to get used to us, and once they came of age, they all went to good homes with some of you… all except one sweet male kitten we fondly named Heath. His namesake is a wonderful young man who worked here many years, helping us with everything from carry-outs to tree plantings to garden center sales to computer programming. Heath was leaving us to pursue his career.
Their first year living as our nursery cats was fun and a little nail biting. As cats do they would leave us “presents” on our door step of fresh kills they had made. Sometimes they would wander off and we worried they had gotten hurt or became a meal for coyotes. One time Heath, the cat, was missing all day. We feared the worst, when one of our landscape crews, working out of town, called and said they saw this cat that looked just like Heath. To our amazement, it was. He had crawled onto the trailer and took a ride all the way to Skidmore! Soon after, Lily and Heath took a trip to the vet for all their shots and were spayed and neutered.
That was back in 2010. Nowadays, Lily and Heath spend their time in the nursery, working to keep vermin and other pests under control. But most of all they love living here and with all of us; Gills has truly become their kingdom!