A claw-some time was had by all at The Blue Bell Foundation Cats Meow Champagne Brunch

Written by DIANNE RUSSELL

What’s better than a beautiful day at Tivoli Too, bubbly champagne, yummy food, and 150 people with cat-itude, who aren’t ashamed to show it? Not much. Cat attire in every form – socks, tights, sweaters, T-shirts, dresses, jewelry – was abundant, but no fashion “faux-paws” in sight. There’s no doubt that everyone (this was the biggest turnout ever) who attended the Blue Bell Foundation’s Fifth Annual Cats’ Meow Champagne Brunch on Sunday had a cat-egorically good time. Okay, enough with the cat puns.

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Photo by Brad Thontlin

Cat Couture

No matter how much frivolity abounded, this was serious business. Competition was high as attendees bid on approximately 50 unique items in the silent auction. One especially interesting piece was a clock that meowed on the hour. There were goodies galore; wine, paintings, and all manner of cat items. While feverish bidding was still going on, attendees dined on a wonderful brunch, sipped more champagne, and chatted with tablemates about their cats and experiences with Blue Bell.

Susan Hamil, chairwoman and acting executive director of Blue Bell, took the microphone to give out the awards, beautiful blue ceramic cats crafted by a local artist. She began by honoring Josh Brown for his landscape work on Blue Bell Gardens by saying, “Jeff Zakaryan had a plan, and Josh fulfilled it.”

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Photo by Brad Thontlin

Susan Hamil and Jeff Zakaryan

Jeff, who is retiring as advisory board chair after five years, said that before the landscaping, “the garden was ruled by a group of unruly gophers,” and “now it’s the best it’s ever been.” He was given a special award for his vision and dedication.

By the time the first planting of all 14 pocket gardens was completed, Jeff added, “The cats reported that the birds and lizards had all returned.

“At the outset,” Jeff continued, “the goals for the gardens were to restore the native plant life in the canyon setting, make it a natural canyon habitat, and find a way to infuse the spirit of the cats in the gardens (which was accomplished by local sculptor Marlo Bartels’ original mosaic bench, Cats in the Canyon). 

“The final goal was to ensure the gardens flourish for the long term. Now it’s a beautiful sanctuary garden teeming with life.”

Other honorees include Lindsey Arnette, who received an award as volunteer coordinator and Judy Clark, who took home a Lifetime Achievement Award. 

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Photo by Brad Thontlin

Pamela Knudsen names the silent auction winners

Finally, the culmination of the fierce bidding. By the time Pamela Knudsen, member of the Blue Bell advisory board and event coordinator, named the last winner, it was clear that this event had been a huge success for the Blue Bell Foundation and the attendees. We said goodbye to our friends (old and new), gathered our belongings, and left “feline” good.

For more information on The Blue Bell Foundation for Cats, founded to provide lifetime care for cats whose owners can no longer take care of them, go to www.bluebellcats.org.

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