Appearing in such movies as The Alphabet Killer and Love N’ Dancing (both of which he also produced), actor, filmmaker and producer Tom Malloy is one busy guy. Author of the book Bankroll: A New Approach to Financing Feature Films, which has become a standard in the independent film industry, he’s also a nationally known motivational speaker for kids about staying positive. Here, he takes some time to tell us about his feline buddy, Lightning.
Tell us about Lightning.
Lightning is a fantastic cat. He’s completely easygoing because we got him when my kids (Ella 6, and Tyler 4) were very little, and they harassed him nonstop, and I think he just got used to it. He loves to cuddle and play and be around the family.
Why the name Lightning?
He’s named after the lead character from my son’s favorite movie of all time, Lightning McQueen from Cars. His full name is Lightning McKitty.
Have you always been a cat person?
I was never into cats until I moved to New York City, and I had a mouse infestation. I adopted a cat, thinking she’d lay the smackdown on the mice in the apartment and, while she did take care of business, she became a great friend. Sadly, that cat, Gracie, is now in Rochester, N.Y. She had this immense fear of traveling, and we had moved her three times. When we were moving to L.A. we thought she might actually have a nervous breakdown. So, we met this nice couple who were really great with her. They still send me pictures!
What do you like about cats?
They are incredible physical specimens. I’ve seen Lightning leap up onto a 5-foot-tall cabinet from a standing position! That’s the equivalent of a human jumping 60 feet in the air! I also love how they really want to cuddle all the time. They are great sleeping companions.
How does Lightning get along with your children?
Lightning loves the kids. Like I said, he’s been around them since he was a kitten, and they were wild, loud babies then. Without fail, if one of the kids is relaxing on the couch, Lightning will go up and rest next to them. I think he’s really into connection and touch with all the members of the family. Sometimes he just starts purring if he’s next to one of us.
What are some of Lightning’s favorite things?
He LOVES the laser pointer, but I recently read that it’s not the best thing for cats because it drives them nuts! It’s like the prey that they can never capture. So we stick to the petting, which is his true passion. It’s almost like he craves to be touched.
What have you learned from Lightning?
I think maybe I’m jealous because he gets to sleep all the time, and no one complains about it.
What does Lightning do that makes you all laugh?
We have a pet bunny named Floppy, and when he and Lightning play out on the deck, it’s a blast to watch. One chases the other, then they flip it around. They are never just hanging out with each other. They are always having their all-out wacky war.
Has your cat ever inspired you creatively?
I’ve taken some cool pictures of him from time to time, and I photoshopped one of the pictures into a movie poster for a film I was developing. The film didn’t get made, but the image was really spooky.
What does Lightning mean to you?
He’s a great friend, and he’s the best pet I’ve ever had. I practice the opposite of the whole “kick the cat” philosophy, which would be taking out your stress on the cat. I practice “kiss the cat,” which is where I turn to him when times are stressful and give him a hug.