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This craft show has a good feline to it…

The sign says: “Cat lovers unite.”

But organizer Sheila Terra says dog, fish and even bird lovers shouldn’t be dissuaded from attending this year’s Cat and Craft Show at the West End Cultural Centre.

“While it’s a cat-themed craft show, it’s for anyone who loves local,” says the 40-year-old self-proclaimed cat lover (@zegelanddove) and craft addict who is playing host for the second time since the inaugural feline-friendly event in 2019.

Sheila Terra and her Siamese cats (Supplied)

Terra, a social worker and soap maker whose catchy motto is “Think of me when you shower,” points out that the Cat and Craft Show is free — yay! — and will feature dozens of feline-themed artisans, an artist who makes pet portraits, pet groomers and a number of local cat rescues including Rescue Siamese, Miss J La’s Fur Babies, Cat Cafe & Adoption Centre and Annie’s Attic.

Plus, if you’re keen on changing your kitty’s annoying habits, Terra says a behaviour consultant will be on hand, offering up a caboodle of critical counselling.

Adrianna Stutski of Candor Cats is Winnipeg’s only certified Feline Training and Behaviour Specialist. The 28-year-old wears a lot of hats at her three-year-old business venture, but these days, she primarily helps humans address the concerns they have with their furry four-legged felines.

“I work on all sorts of things with people, ranging from litterbox issues to aggression, to separation anxiety,” says the cat owner who learned her tabby trade by practising on friends’ poor-mannered cats and on her own shy, anxious housemate, Guinness.

Adrianna Stutski and her cats, Guiness (left) and Tootsie. (Supplied)

In an attempt to bring him out of his shell, Stutski learned about clicker training (using a clicker to connect a dog’s action with a reward that immediately follows good behaviour).

“And then I started teaching him some tricks to build up his confidence. And then, from there, I started teaching him practical things,” she explains.

At that time, Stutski’s day job as a Satellite Adoptions Clerk at the Winnipeg Humane Society was exposing her to a large number of sad surrenders. She says she felt many of the placements at that time — and now — could have been prevented if the behaviour, or environment, was simply modified.

“Oh, your cat is peeing outside the litter box and it sounds like your house is a really stressful environment,” she says. “And I thought, ‘Oh, you could have adjusted this, this, and this.’”

As a result, she began researching resources for people who were having issues with their cats and stumbled upon feline consulting. She got accredited in less than three months through the Animal Behaviour Institute, an online instruction and certification course in animal training, behaviour and husbandry, and the rest, as they say, is history.

For now, Stutski is cheerfully busy with her “side gig” and hopes it will someday evolve into a full-time, lucrative cat career.

But until then, she continues to focus her time on preventative measures by providing information on a variety of issues including what cat owners should do when expecting a baby; how to introduce a pair of cats to each other; how to introduce cats and dogs to each other; how to teach cats to behave appropriately with kids; and how to prepare your cat for travel or adventurous situations.

“And then I also do cooperative care,” she says, adding she teaches cats to be willing participants in things like nail trims, grooming and medicine administration. “It’s just so we can make things less stressful for them.”

When the Cat and Craft Show gets underway in a couple of weeks, both Stutski and Terra are looking forward to a fabulous day full of feline follies.

“I’m excited,” says Terra. “Artisans are making special items for the cat theme, which is really cool. I love seeing what they come up with.”

As for Stutski, she says she’s pumped to meet more cat people but is also looking forward to picking up a few cat-related paraphernalia for herself and her cats, Guinness and Tootsie.

“You don’t get to work with cats every day without becoming a crazy cat person,” she says.

True enough!

The Cat and Craft Show will take place Sunday, April 23 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the West End Cultural Centre. Tickets are free.

Have a great week!


Leesa Dahl

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