Cat People: Sulphur man has story in new ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ book

Published 8:00 am Monday, March 13, 2023

By Donna Price

American Press

November 2022 marked one year since Cory Conner submitted a story about his cat to “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book editors for consideration in an upcoming book.

He never heard back. After that much time had passed, Conner, who works as an office manager and lives in Sulphur, didn’t think he ever would.

“Then out of the blue in November, I got a notice that my story was one of the finalists for the book, “Lessons Learned from My Cat,” he said. “A little later, they let me know it had made the final cut.”

His piece, “Cat People,” is one of 101 submitted stories featured in the new book. In the back of the book, the editors say that the stories included in the book had been culled from thousands of received submissions.

The odd thing about Conner having a story accepted for a cat book is that he didn’t even particularly like cats. He never wanted one. Neither did his wife, Rachael. In fact, they congratulated themselves on not being the kind of people — cat people — who bought those overpriced cat towers covered with shag carpet for their pet cats.

His story tells how, in 2018, a skinny, flea-infested gray kitten with a bent tail and a torn bottom lip changed their minds andtheir hearts.

Back then, before the birth of their two daughters, Cory and Rachel Conner had more free time.

“We used to live within walking distance to Frasch Park. We would walk over there in the evenings to play tennis.”

That’s where the couple first encountered the abandoned kitten who became quite friendly with them. The couple did not want the cat, of course, but they did call Hobo Hotel for Cats to see if they could bring the kitten there. When they called, Hobo Hotel was closed for the day and a voicemail message said the shelter was full and not currently excepting any animals.

Next, they brought the kitten to a pet emergency clinic to have her lip examined. That’s where the trouble started. No services could be performed unless the cat had an owner.

Cory turned to Rachael and said, “Well, it looks like we’re officially cat owners now.”

The cat needed a name right then and there, the clinic staff said, for the medical records.

After finding out from the office staff that the kitten was female, Rachel chose the name Ana, short for Anastasia, since a man at the tennis courts earlier had said the kitten looked like a Russian Blue. A Russian-sounding name seemed like a good fit.

The complete story can be read in the book, but suffice it to say that the Conners are now hard-core cat people.

“We not only have a carpet-covered cat tower for Ana, but we also have a cat-shaped shag rug in front of her litter box,” said Conner.

Conner is a McNeese State University graduate and is a member of the Bayou Writers Group. He is currently working on a historical fiction novel.

Amy Newmark is editor and publisher of “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Lessons Learned From My Cat.” All royalties from the book are going to American Humane, an animal welfare organization. Cost is $16.95.

Online: www.chickensoupforthe