Sometimes people choose a pet and sometimes a pet chooses you.
Martha Cooper has owned several cats, and as she will tell you, they all seem to have their own distinct personalities. But to have a cat that turns somersaults, thatís book-worthy.
"If you're a cat person, you know that you can't teach a cat to do anything ó if they do anything it's because they come up with it," she says with a chuckle as she talks of her unusual Harry.
Harry is Cooper's 3-year-old Tuxedo cat that she adopted from her veterinarian three years ago. The vet believes he was 5 or 6 weeks old when he was found under someone's house trapped and tangled up in monofilament wire and unable to get free. Once freed from the wire, the orphan was left at the vet's office.
Cooper, of Santa Rosa Beach, had recently lost her 15-year-old Tuxedo cat, Mike, and when she saw Harry, she fell in love.
Cooper said she didn't choose Harry's name for any particular reason but that he just looked like a Harry. However, she now feels the choosing of his name might have been serendipitous as he has proven to be quite an escape artist, just like Houdini.
"I guess because he was tied up as a kitten, he remembers that and can't stand to be restrained," she said. "He's a character and kind of crazy. He has lots of energy and likes to climb. He's a nut."
When the 3-year-old is not dashing about and running from room to room, he likes to aggravate the Cooper's 6-year-old Maine Coon tabby, Winston, by thumping him with his tail.
However, all the dashing, thumping, and climbing is not Harry's best trick.
He also does somersaults.
Yes, a Tuxedo cat that does somersaults.
"He started doing them when he was little," said Cooper. "He started when my husband would begin getting ready to go to work, Harry would notice. And when my husband would walk to the door to leave, Harry would run up and turn somersaults to try to impress him, or to keep him from leaving. If you're a cat person, you know this is very unusual for a cat. You can't teach them to do things; if they do anything, it's because they came up with it."
Harry's antics have kept the Cooper family entertained and amused through the years enough so that Cooper began to tell friends that she was going to write a book about him. Her friends then began asking about the book and if she had finished it yet.
"I didn't set out to write a book about him, but I had it in my mind and after I said it, I had to do it," she said.
She began writing about Harry the end of last year and finished in May. As an artist, Cooper did all illustrations for the book and self-published it digitally via the computer.
Cooper took "The Adventures of Harry the Rescue Cat" to the August meeting of the Women's Art Network earlier this month and read it to her peers.
"They loved it, so, it's not just a kids' book, but for adults also, or anyone who likes cats," she said.
This is Cooper's third book to publish. Her previous ones are a coloring book, and one for children.
Not to be left out, Winston also gets a mention in Harry's book.
"The Adventures of Harry the Rescue Cat" is available through Amazon and at Sundog Books in Seaside.
"It's a true story," said Cooper. "He came to us and I'm really glad he did."