Books by Harold Sims
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2010:
Cats without Cages:
The Story of Catman2
114 pages, paperback. $19.95.
Kevin, the Helpful Vampire Cat
Illustrated by Linda A. Richardson
29 pages, paperback. $12.95.
both by Harold Sims
Published by Catman2
(P.O. Box 2344, Cullowhee,
NC 28723), 2008.
“We don’t adopt out many cats here,” a North Carolina
shelter manager told Harold Sims nearly 20 years ago. “This is dog
The shelter manager recommended to prospective cat adopters
that they should look around dumpsters.
A retired Florida biology professor, Sims had recently
relocated to rural North Carolina. Having previously volunteered at
Florida animal shelters, Sims visited the shelter hoping to lend a
hand. He was dismayed to find the few adoptable cats cramped in
small cages, hidden down long hallway barely visible to the public.
“We don’t have the room to keep them all, especially the
cats,” the shelter manager said. “What else can we do but put most
of them to sleep?”
Sims became a feline broker, matching cats with adopters.
Sims admits that he really didn’t want to run a shelter, but, he
realized, “If I was going to bring about change, I was going to
have to do it by example.”
Sims opened the all-cats Catman2 shelter in early 2004. Some
of his plans for the shelter soom changed. On-site humane education
was supended after teachers were unable or unwilling to control
unruly students who scared the cats and destroyed shelter property.
Plans for a retail store also fell through. But the shelter itself
became a nationally well-regarded success.
Catman2, as Cats without Cages explains, is a low-budget
and rather idiosyncratic operation, with no paid employees and no
shelter telephone. To me, an answering service is insufficient
communication. Nonetheless, Sims and Catman2 have done an enormous
amount for homeless cats in western North Carolina.
Kevin, the Helpful Vampire Cat is the story of one of those
cats, once homeless, hungry and cold, a brown tabby with protruding
fangs and a pronounced overbite. Kevin was abandoned as a kitten
with three skittish littermates on the Catman2 shelter’s front steps.
Volunteers socialized the kittens. Two were eventually adopted.
Kevin and a female littermate remained at Catman2.
Kevin may have been a worthless deformed stray to someone,
but at Catman2 he became the top cat. Seeming to know when a newly
admitted cat needed affection, Kevin snuggled next to the nervous
Nellies until they settled down. His unruly fangs and overbite
became part of his charm. He died young, from a massive stroke,
with a long list of friends, both human and animal.
–by Debra J. White