shells and me shells belly

I have a soft spot for rescuing adult cats: while everyone coos over adoptable kittens, I’m the one leaning down to pet the cranky, elderly cat alone in its cage. You know, the one rolling its eyes and decisively NOT batting at any proffered string or mouse. This is how I found Ms. Shells: on a ferociously hot summer day in Brooklyn, walking down Smith Street, I saw an enormous adult tabby looking sad and alone in a Rescue Animal cage display. When I learned this gorgeous girl was scheduled to be killed the following day because no one wanted to adopt an adult cat—despite her being in perfect health—my stomach lurched and I knew I would be taking her home.

Like any new adult relationship, Ms. Shells came with a lot of baggage from her past: intimacy issues, a severe biting problem, and a penchant for urinating in purses. But who amongst us hasn’t been there? It was nothing that time, love, and a $300 cat psychotherapist couldn’t solve. Years later, my plump and beautiful tabby is a well-adjusted cat who loves feather toys, tuna, chatty conversations, and showing off her enormous white belly while she naps.

My love of animals and vegetarianism is one of many reasons I am proud to work at Penguin Books, which for the second year now is donating a large sum to The Humane Society through their Read Humane program, in support of the thousands of animals that depend on humans for kindness, food and shelter. Thanks for reading about me and Shells and I hope you will support this terrific Read Humane program!

- Jynne Dilling Martin, Director of Publicity, Riverhead Books

Learn more about Read Humane


  1. Posted August 19, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    just seeing this now – love it!

  2. Posted February 18, 2014 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Jynne, please visit, an open forum where an anthropologist has posted his views on Antarctic travel. Your personal comments and a sampling of your Antarctica poetry would be most welcome and enlightening!

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