It was February 2014 when the next chapter of life officially began for two sweet feline brothers in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. In a local bookstore, From My Shelf, there was something recently lost to the owners that only they could fix. Their beloved store cat Hobo who’d been greeting customers for 8 years had sadly passed away. The hole in their hearts–and the now open job pawsition–would be difficult to fill. But then a friend and local animal sanctuary owner introduced them to a special black house panther. And everything changed for them all. They learned it would take at LEAST two bookstore cats to replace Hobo’s purrsonality.
Those two bookstore cats were the brothers, later named Huck and Finn.
Although owner Kevin J. Coolidge and his wife Kasey hadn’t been sure they were ready to welcome another cat–or two–into their life. But the difficulties of losing a feline companion can often be soothed by another cat.
Hobo, a large, friendly buff colored cat whose specialty was customer service, was the store cat for almost eight years. His jobs included playing with children, delighting crazy cat people, soaking up sunshine, and spreading it to everyone he met.
It’s believed that cats have nine lives, but Hobo spent them all when he was diagnosed with a tumor and passed away. Hobo was an extra special cat, and it wasn’t just any cat that could take his place, but it just wasn’t the same bookstore without a cat on staff.
Because books and cats just go together. And visitors to the quaint store not only came back to support the arts, they came for the soothing effects of the infamous Hobo. Coolidge knows that they are in a unique position to help other animals too.
The bookshop has hosted cats and dogs many times from the local branch of the Animal Care Sanctuary. It gives the animals a chance to socialize and to meet potential humans and forever homes.
Each month, we sponsor a number of free, fun, family-centered gatherings such as author events, game nights, book club, writers’ group, book release parties, poetry nights, and more.
It was a Sunday early in 2014 that brought the newest bookstore cats into their store. And their hearts.
Our friend Rowan brought a sleek, black kitten for a visit one Sunday afternoon. He quickly showed he understood service by checking in with customers, dusting the corners, and providing pet therapy to those who might be missing their pets. He let us know that he could do this, even though we didn’t think we were ready for another cat, not just yet.
They had fallen hard for the sweet “store” panther. But as they tell it on Facebook, “there was a catch”. The black kitten came as a bonded pair!
It appeared that this black cat had a little black and white brother. It’s not every cat that can be a bookstore cat. It takes a certain personality, gentle, loving, and a bit goofy, but we didn’t find just one, but two.
Thankfully, they had enough love–and bookshelves–to welcome both boys into the family! But they needed to make sure their monikers were reflective of their purrsonalities and job positions. So they held a contest for their followers to name the brothers.
What better names for the two felines than a play on the famous Mark Twain novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?!
We decided to hold a contest to name the two newest members of the crew. We wanted something literary, but also something that fit their fun loving, eccentric personalities. Many great names were suggested, but the names chosen were Huck, for the black and white, and Finn for the black boy.
Now Huck and Finn can still be found lounging around the From My Shelf Books & Gifts store.
The two are simply adorable whether snuggled in a warm, kitty pile sleeping contently.
Or monitoring the activities unfolding in the store. Sort of.
And boxes? You want confirmation these two have access to all the boxes they want?
The brothers have proven that while they may never replace Hobo, they are happy to give it their all. And for happy cat dad Kevin, he decided to give even more back to the community with their help.
Not only do the two bookstore cats have their own Facebook page, they’re scholarly stars!
In October of 2017, Huck and Finn were featured in Bookstore Cats by Brandon Schultz.
And in July of 2019, Kevin, an already accomplished author himself, wrote their 2nd story staring the duo called “Huck & Finn, Bookstore Cats”.
They continue to help purrmote the store on Hobo’s original Facebook page and fill it with their cute faces alongside catty fun. But if you happen to be in the area, be sure to stop by and take some cute pics with the purrfect employees!
You can stop by and visit the two newest feline staff members at From My Shelf Books & Gifts at 7 East Ave. in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. Even though there are two of them, they still have big paws to fill. Come by and say hello. The best bookstores have a cat, and From My Shelf Books now has two.
REMEMBER: ADOPT, DON’T SHOP, MICROCHIP YOUR PETS & SPAY AND NEUTER!
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she’s right about new cats soothing the loss of old ones (though everyone’s different!) …when i lost Black cat and Brown cat to old age within a month of each other (they were full sisters) my friends were quite worried about me (they didn’t tell me til later) A week later i got a pair of Siamese sisters. I’d be sitting in the living room, thinking ” I really miss…HEY! WHAT’S THAT NOISE IN THERE?!? AIEE!! what did you do to the toilet paper?!?!!?” Those 2 little mischiefs really helped me!!
The very best tribute and memorial to a beloved feline family member who has gone on ahead is to open your heart and home (or bookshop) to another deserving cat (or more than one!). Good on the Coolidges for honoring Hobo by adopting Huck and Finn!