A Port Alberni cat has gained celebrity status after being selected as one of the stars for the 2020 Pet Valu calendar for Guide Dogs.
Jax, a domestic shorthair living in Port Alberni, was one of 13 pets from across the country whose photo was chosen through the Pet Valu Calendar Casting Call Photo Contest.
Jax’s pet parent, Nikki Robertson, says he’s a pretty unique cat.
“He knows how to do a bunch of tricks because he’s really food motivated,” she explained. “He knows sit, shake-a-paw, lay down and roll-over.”
Jax was adopted in January of this year from a Pet Valu location in Sylvan Lake, Alberta. Robertson and her partner make frequent trips between Port Alberni and Sylvan Lake, so Jax has picked up a love of travelling. Robertson says Jax has been on seven flights and a number of road trips.
“He sometimes gets into his house wanting to go for a ride,” Robertson laughed.
Robertson submitted the winning photo on the very last day of the contest, and learned in July that Jax had been selected as one of 13 winners out of nearly 45,000 submissions.
“I wanted to take lots of photos of him to remember when he was little,” said Robertson. “I was pretty much taking pictures every day. This was actually one of my favourite pictures of him. He was just waking up from his nap.”
Alison Preiss, marketing manager for Pet Valu, says that Jax’s expression and eye contact drew her to the photo.
“It’s that connection, and that’s what pet parents love,” she said.
The Pet Valu calendar casting call has been running since 2012 and, according to Preiss, has become one of their most popular contests. This year, 45,000 pet parents sent in pictures of their pets. The submissions were narrowed down to 100-200 finalists before a panel from the Pet Valu head office held a secret ballot to determine the final winners.
“It’s definitely one of the highlights for our year,” Preiss laughed.
Jax was selected for the month of January. Preiss described his picture as a “winter” photo.
“He’s got such a cute little face,” said Preiss. “And with the greys in the blankets—it just makes you want to cuddle up.”
The annual calendar, which has photos of 13 Canadian pets, including dogs, cats, a chameleon, hamster and a hedgehog, is available for a give-what-you-can donation at Bosley’s by Pet Valu and Pet Valu stores across Canada. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to support the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides.
“It’s just so amazing to hear the way a dog guide can change someone’s life,” said Preiss. “The more teams we can sponsor, the bigger impact we can have.”
Jax is reportedly adjusting well to his newfound fame.
“He acts like a rockstar,” Robertson laughed. “We’re pretty excited.”
To see more photos of Jax, you can follow his Instagram account: @jaxthekittykatt.