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Social media celebrity cat promotes Sacramento summer reading program

Like Norm Lopez, this cat seems to be at home in a bookish environment!
Like Norm Lopez, this cat seems to be at home in a bookish environment!
Wikimedia Commons

Norm Lopez made an appearance at Sacramento Public Library’s central branch last Sunday afternoon to promote the library’s summer reading program, Paws to Read. You may be asking who Norm Lopez is. While some refer to him as “Mayor of Midtown”, he’s really more a promoter of community service and social justice. Since much of that social justice involves the wellbeing of animals, it can also be said that he’s an animal rights activist. Perhaps his involvement in this kind of activism is due to Norm being an animal himself, not as in party animal (although he may be that too) but as in a four legged creature. Norm’s a cat. Precisely, he is a social media celebrity cat and, according to “Sacramento News & Review”, an internationally renowned one. And his home town of Sacramento is definitely no exception to his fame. This was evidenced by the crowds Norm drew at the library.

Norm’s entry into the children’s section of the library immediately drew kids and their parents who followed along as he made his way to a shelf of books. If you remember that Danish children’s folktale from when you were a kid, Jack Kent’s “The Fat Cat”, Norm would remind you of it because he is definitely big around, yet he is very friendly and gentle unlike the cat in the story who ate people. Actually, Norm comes closer to eating books instead. He seemed to love the books on the above mentioned shelf so much, he was licking them! Well, not exactly. But as he gave his paws and breast a tongue bath he did so facing the shelf giving the appearance of licking the brightly colored spines as children and their parents behind them admired and petted the orange and white furred feline.

When your Examiner asked Norm’s current guardian, Nick Brunner of Capital Public Radio, how Norm associated himself with books he answered that it was his (Brunner’s) love for books that associated Norm with them. Brunner said that Norm has so many Facebook followers that he decided to involve Norm in promoting the Paws to Read program which consists of a contest that encourages both children and adults alike to read more. And, of course, Norm was a match for the program’s theme conveyed in the title which plays on the word “paws” meaning both stopping to take time to read and books with cats as their subject matter.

Brunner was not kidding when he said Norm has a big number of followers on his Facebook fan page. His Likes add up to 6,657 as of the writing of this article. Norm’s Facebook page has promoted not only Paws to Read, but also other good causes such as the Kosmo’s Leg Surgery Fund for a homeless man’s dog, the Front Street Animal Shelter for lost animals which he even hosted a pub crawl for!

Why is Norm hash-tagged “#MayorOfMidtown” throughout his Facebook page? Probably because of his frequent midtown strolls and the many residents there who have stopped to visit and admire him. They’ve probably adored him so much that they would like to see him run and win an election for mayor! And how did he get his last name? From his previous owner, Tyler Lopez, who, according to the "Sacramento News & Review", was not able to keep him because of lack of room in her new Colorado home, and so before moving she offered him up for adoption to her neighbor, Brunner.

You may be able to visit Norm if you go for a stroll around midtown but, if you don’t run into him, you can definitely catch him in his messages and photos on his Facebook page! To participate in Paws to Read please visit the library’s website.

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