Shortly after talking to CAT FANCY, actress Mariette Hartley experienced a miracle of sorts. When she and her husband, Jerry, moved to their new home in Tarzana, a district of Los Angeles, they moved with four cats.
One cat, Red, wandered away from the new home shortly after the move. Hartley thought the cat was gone forever. But on an early weekday morning about two months after the move, and a handful of days after talking to CAT FANCY, Hartley heard a yowl outside. At first she thought the sound might have been coming from one of her other cats – Josephine, Stringer or Gracie – but no. Just as the sun came up, Hartley spied Red in the yard. “A brand new house. Brand new smells. Totally new neighborhood. I have no idea where she was,” Hartley said. “Of course, she ate three cans of food when she arrived and just cuddled. She’s not a cuddler. She’s a completely different cat. So, I had a feeling that this was, you know, the mystical influence of speaking to CAT FANCY, and I just wanted to share that little story with you.”
Hartley, who is 70 years old, has been sharing stories all of her life, whether as an actress in TV and film, as the author of her memoir, “Breaking the Silence,” as the creator and performer of the one-woman theatrical play she created based on her memoir, “If You Get to Bethlehem, You’ve Gone Too Far,” as an advocate of suicide prevention or as a lover of cats and all animals.
She and her husband, Jerry, share their lives with four cats, Red, Josephine, Gracie and Stringer. The cats provide lots of things to Hartley and her husband, but the couple is particularly tickled by the kittens, Gracie and Stringer, because they are so entertaining. “The one thing that thrills me the most about these kittens – and all of them – but mostly the kittens,” Hartley said, “is that they make me laugh. Jerry and I could just sit there and just pee ourselves laughing so hard at their wonderful antics – and what they find to play with!”
Here are some outtakes from CAT FANCY’s December issue interview with Hartley.
What is your take on green products and holistic care for pets?
Gosh. You know, my cats don’t like the kind of natural food stuff. They love – I don’t know how to say it. They love Fancy Feast. They love it. They don’t like some of the other stuff that the vets say they have to have. I’m certainly pro green when it comes to life and all of that stuff. But that wheat stuff (litter) seems to be terrific.
Talk about hosting “Wild About Animals.”
I just did some (episodes). I love it. I absolutely love it. The only thing I wish I could do, which I can’t (because) they don’t pay for me to do that. Basically, they have a crew that goes out to these various places and does the filming. Then I come in and stand in front of a camera and talk. But I wish I could go to the places.
We did a couple of amazing shows on animal abuse. I really loved doing the shows when we were able to uncover that kind of thing. I think Steve (Rotfeld), the (executive) producer, has kind of tried to make it more of a children’s show, more (educational ), which is fine. But the other way was, I thought, cutting edge. I don’t know how it started (the series). God, I’ve been doing it for almost 15 years now. I feel so lucky to be doing it. I just love it.
Do you have any particular cat or animal causes that you follow or have an interest in?
(Actor and former president of Actors and Others for Animals) Earl Holliman is a friend of mine. I’ve been involved somewhat, certainly, in Actors and Others for Animals. I support it to a degree. We always go to the fashion show. I hosted it one year. l love Earl and I love what he does. When Gretchen (Wyler) was alive – when she created the Genesis Award – I was involved with (the awards). I guess, I just pick up cats that are strays, basically. That’s kind of been my life with cats and most of them are because my kids have picked them up. I have a very hard time turning them down. My kids and the cats.