The Richmond Register

November 20, 2012

Therapy cat visits Richmond residents

‘cats rule, dogs drool’

By Kaitlin Keane
Register Chief Photographer

RICHMOND —

“Princess Sugar Pie, she has a headache,” Jim Barbee told his cat at the Madison Health And Rehabilitation Center Monday. With that simple command, Princess Sugar Pie put her little paw on the forehead of the person in front of her.

“Cats rule, dogs drool,” is Princess Sugar Pie’s favorite quote, Barbee told the residents.

Barbee found Princess Sugar Pie in 2004, when she was a feral kitten under his condo in Daphne, Ala.

"She is a one-in-a-million cat," Barbee said.

Barbee started taking photos of Princess Sugar Pie around 2005 and noticed she seemed to be posing. Thinking there was something more to that, he started training her with the clicker method when she was 2 years old.  

Now, the feral kitten from Alabama is a registered therapy and show cat and has performed in numerous television, newspaper and radio appearances.

She wears costumes, walks on a leash, poses for photos, holds objects (like her favorite stuffed dog) and touches different places on a person's face on command.

"I've never seen anything else like her," Barbee said.

Barbee has four other cats in his home in Sevierville, Tenn.