Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: February 1, 2023 by Crystal Uys
I’m not a football fan, and the only reason I occasionally watch the Super Bowl is for the commercials. But this year, I’ll be cheering for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and it’s all because of a friend’s tortoiseshell cat named Steeler.
I first met Steeler when her human, Bernie, discovered my post “Tortitude” – The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats here on The Conscious Cat. The post has received more than 2000 comments since I first wrote it in August of 2009, and has resulted in a small community of tortie lovers who enjoy sharing stories about their special cats. In the process, Bernie, and many of the others who frequently comment on the thread, became friends.
Bernie found the abandoned tortoiseshell cat crying at her backdoor in rural Pennsylvania. She had never had a cat before, and knew nothing about cats. The little cat wanted in, and Bernie did not want a cat. When it became colder, and no shelter would take her, Bernie decided that any cat that wanted a home that badly could stay. She called her Steeler, because she stole her heart, and because she’s a big Pittsburgh Steeler fan. And because, like all tortoiseshell cats, Steeler proudly wears the gold and black not just on game day, but every day.
Steeler became a comfort to Bernie’s husband, who was becoming increasingly debilitated from Alzheimer’s. After he was hospitalized, Steeler continued to provide love and support to Bernie. As she got to know Steeler better, she also became familiar with “tortitude.” Torties tend to be strong-willed, a bit hot-tempered, and they can be very possessive of their human. Other words used to describe torties are fiercely independent, feisty and unpredictable. They’re usually very talkative and make their presence and needs known with anything from a hiss to a meow to a strong purr. They can be a little unpredictable, and if they were football players, they’d probably be playing defense.
On game day, Steeler watches the games with Bernie. And she appears to be turning into somewhat of a lucky charm – after all, the Steelers are going to play the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl this Sunday. When a Pittsburgh television station asked viewers to post photos of their pets in Steeler gear on their website, Bernie posted Steeler’s photo, proudly showing off her team colors, and even wearing a little Steeler hat. As of this writing, Steeler’s photo has received almost 50,000 views.
There are plenty of tigers, cougars and wildcats who are team mascots. Perhaps the Pittsburgh Steelers should consider making a feisty tortoiseshell cat named Steeler their mascot. So far, she has brought them good luck. With apologies to my readers who are Packers fans, I hope that streak of luck continues on Sunday.
About the author
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.