(Photo courtesy of Chronicle Books)
It's official: Berkeley is the grumpiest town in the country.
Says who? Grumpy Cat, the biggest feline star on the Internet, who chose Berkeley as the winner of the , with the prize being a special appearance by Grumpy Cat herself.
For those who never go online, let me explain: Grumpy Cat (original name: Tardar Sauce) is a 2 1/2-year-old female with a perpetually grumpy look on her face due to an underbite.
To date, her Facebook page has more than 7 million "likes." Her puss has been on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and the cover of New York magazine, and she was named "Most Influential Cat of 2012" by MSNBC.
She is the "author" of two books – "Grumpy Cat: The Grumpy Book," which reached No. 7 on the New York Times Bestseller list, and "The Grumpy Guide to Life," which did even better, debuting on the Times Bestseller list at no. 3.
Last fall Grumpy Cat challenged animal lovers all over the country to enter the and say why their hometown should be graced by a visit. The Berkeley Humane Society enlisted Mayor Tom Bates, the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce and the Berkeley Police in the cause; and lo and behold, Berkeley won!
"I think they chose us because Grumpy Cat was a rescue animal herself," says executive director Jeffrey Zerwekh.
Grumpy Cat will be at the Humane Society, 2700 9th Street, on January 24 to participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Society's new Mobile Adoption Center, a fully-customized, temperature controlled, 26-foot RV with modular kennels inside capable of holding up to 30 animals in comfort and safety.
"It'll enable us to take the cats and dogs to where people actually are instead of waiting for them to come to us," Zerwekh says.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at Noon, and then Grumpy Cat will be available for selfies with her fans from 1 to 3. Since she's such a popular pussycat, I'd advise reserving a spot by visiting the Society's website, berkeleyhumane.org. That's also where you can donate or sign up to volunteer.
While you're at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, you can also check out the adorable cats and dogs currently available for adoption.
Berkeley Humane has come a long way back since the disastrous fire in 2010 that killed 15 cats – 15 others were saved by heroic staffers and volunteers, thank God - and gutted half its building, including the animal hospital and the shelter. Since then, the Society has been operating out of the other half, the part that's still standing
And it never quit on its mission to find new homes for homeless dogs and cats, not even for a single day. Adoptions have increased every year since the fire, and last year the Society placed 1,030 animals in loving new homes, the most in its 88-year history.
The new Mobile Adoption Center is just the latest step in that comeback."We're fiscally strong, and we have the largest volunteer corps ever," says Zerwekh. "We're so thankful that they somehow made it work in a very challenging environment, with half the building burned out. We're hoping Grumpy Cat's visit will create new awareness and bring added resources so we can finally rebuild our building."