Tricia Helfer is a Canadian actress/director known for her roles in Battlestar Galactica (2004), Green Lantern: First Flight (2009) and Battlestar Galactica: Razor (2007). As an actress, Tricia can next be seen in the web series, Con Man, which debuted on September 30, 2015 on Vimeo’s VOD. The series follows a cult science fiction actor (Alan Tudyk) as he tours the convention circuit.
She is also a well-known supporter of animal rights and was recently involved with the Humane Society International’s Canadian campaign to end animal testing. In addition, Tricia actively supports and has been involved in other campaigns over the years for animal organizations including Best Friends Animal Society, PETA and the ASPCA. Tricia is mother to several rescued cats, some who have even been included in her campaigns.
In an exclusive interview with iHeartCats.com, Tricia shares candid stories about life with so many cats, the misconceptions people have about them, and how they have positively impacted her life.
What is your cat(s) names and breeds?
TH: I have got a few, and they are all adopted. Maine Coons, tabby, calico, part Siamese, the works! A couple of my more interesting names are: Bug, Lebron and Prissie.
How long have you had them?
TH: Bella and Delilah were my first. I adopted them when I was living in NY, when they were about 9 weeks old. They are now almost 15 years old.
Did you grow up with cats?
TH: I did grow up with cats, yes. They were not allowed in the house, so they were farm cats, but I spent a lot of time with them. I desperately wanted them to be indoors but my parents would not budge. Unfortunately because of that, their live span tended to be shorter.
How have your cats played a positive role in your life?
TH: Cats are such fun creatures. They have vastly different personalities, which a lot of people do not think is the case. But because I have quite a few, I see it every day. They react to situations differently and they show affection differently. It is wonderful to see. So not only do they make me laugh constantly, which is a stress reliever, but they also give so much love.
Another misnomer about cats is that they are fine on their own and they do not show affection. That is just not true. Of course, some are fiercely independent, but others crave attention like crazy. I have the whole spectrum, from one or two that friends have never seen because they do not like guests and scatter when the doorbell rings, to a couple others that are crazy about attention from anyone. I jokingly nicknamed my sweet old Frankie (adopted at 13 years old and passed away last year at 20 years) my little attention whore. She never knew a lap that she did not want to claim as hers.
Do you have any funny stories you’d like to share?
TH: One recent funny story involves Cesar. Before we adopted him, he had been attacked by a dog and his jaw was broken in five places. Kitten Rescue took him and got him fixed up, but because of that he holds his mouth open a little and has an extremely loud purr (he also snores). Anyway, Cesar is one of the attention loving cats I mentioned earlier. He loves people, he craves people, and he particularly likes women’s breasts – He likes to headbutt them. One day not too long ago, my husband and I had to have a notary come over early one morning to get some papers notarized. When we opened the door, it was hard not to miss the fact that she had big fake boobs because she had on a very low tank top. Anyway, I was rushing around packing as I had to head to the airport, so I signed quickly and then let my husband deal with all the rest. Well, they were in our kitchen and standing against the island, which at her height, had her breasts right about perfect level for Cesar if he jumped up onto the counter. Which, of course, he did. He jumped up and started purring and ran straight into her breasts. My husband tried to pull him away but the notary was like “oh he’s so cute, I love cats.” So my husband and our assistant, who was also there, had to stand there and try not to giggle as Cesar kept ramming his head into her breasts, swishing his head around, while purring loudly. He was essentially motor-boating her…if I can be so crass as to say that. After she left, they broke out laughing.
What advice would you give someone looking to get a new cat?
TH: There are a few things to do and to ask yourself. Make sure you have the right situation for a cat. You need to have perches and climbing toys so it can see out the window and that they have spots that are their own.
Know that a kitten is a lot of work. They are adorable, but a lot of work, and there are so many older cats that need to be adopted. Older cats usually “get it” and know you are helping them out, so they can make fantastic buddies.
Cats in shelters also have a lot to deal with, so it might take you awhile to get them to trust you. You do not necessarily know what happened to them before, so be patient with them. Quite often they will hide when you first bring them home. If your place is large, it can be helpful to keep them in a room for a bit until they get comfortable with you and with your place. They need to suss out their surroundings and once they are comfortable in that room, then they will have an easier time branching out and taking in the rest of the place.
If you have other animals, getting them used to each others’ smell is important. Keeping them segregated for a bit and transferring blankets or toys back and forth so they can smell each other, makes them think when they do meet, “hey, I kinda know you a little bit. Maybe you’re not so bad.” As opposed to just putting them in each others’ faces right off the start.
Also, each cat has their quirks, just like people. Respect that. And often times if a cat is behaving badly, there is a reason for it. Sometimes, yes, they can just be jerks, but often there is something that is wrong or something that you could be doing better. If you watch Jackson Galaxy, three-fourths of the time the behavior is being caused by something the human is doing or not doing.