Olympic Athletes Love Their Cats

Felines provide friendship, humor and plenty of antics during grueling training and traveling schedules.

By Annie Shirreffs, CAT FANCY Managing Editor | Posted: July 25, 2012, 5 p.m. EST

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Did you know that some of the athletes competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics are cat lovers? The following athletes took time out of their busy schedules to tell us about life with their beloved cats.

 Carmelita Jeter  Tony Azevedo
Carmelita Jeter (Track & Field)
Tony Azevedo (Water Polo)
 Kristian Ipsen  Try Dumais
Kristian Ipsen (Diving)
Troy Dumais (Diving)
(all photos Mitchell Haaseth/NBC Olympics)

Tony Azevedo and Cat
Tony Azevedo with Snow
Tony Azevedo
How did you find your cat?

For the past two years I have lived in the country of Montenegro, where I play professional water polo. One of the first things we noticed in Montenegro is how many stray animals there are – especially cats. We had a lot of cats around our house that we “adopted” during our stay, but we knew we wouldn't be able to take them with us when we left. One day we heard of a white cat that had been thrown in the sea by some kids and left to drown. She had been rescued and needed a home. We knew this cat was something special, and we decided to make her ours. We named her Snow for her pure snow-white coat. She has traveled with us around the world and is currently “summering” at my wife's parents' house in Mexico City.

If your cat was an athlete, what sport would she play?
One of Snow's favorite things to do is scale trees and run around like a maniac, chasing squirrels. She can also jump extremely far and high. So, I would probably say that she would be a high jumper or long jumper. But she could probably win some sprints as well.

Do you have a special routine with Snow?
She loves to watch me cook at night when I come home from practice. Then, once I've eaten and settled onto the couch to unwind before bed, she climbs right up on me to snuggle. It's our nightly routine.

How does she greet you after you've been away training or competing?
She meows very loudly. Whenever I leave the house for an extended time, when I return she is right there at the front door sounding annoyed and looking for attention. She meows to let me know she is not happy to have been left but also happy that I'm home. Then we settle back into our normal routine.

Does she have any strange habits?
Snow loves to chew wet hair for some reason, and since I'm always in the pool I'm usually the target.

Troy Dumais' cats Squeak and Tiger
Troy Dumais' cats Squeak and Tiger
Troy Dumais
Tell us about your cats.

I have two cats, Squeak and Tiger. I got Squeak in 1999 from a friend's cat's litter. I chose him out of the bunch because every time I picked him up he squeaked at me and never at anyone else. I got Tiger from another litter after looking at nearby shelters about nine months later so Squeak would have another cat to play with. Tiger got his name because his head looks like a tiger's, and he yawns and purrs really loud. To this day, they are best buddies and will do anything to make sure they are lying right next to each other. They are both so special to me because no matter when I get home, they are always waiting for me. They have loved me unconditionally, and I always carry a picture or two of them with me to look at when I travel. It makes me feel like I'm right at home. They have been through thick and thin with me. They never give up on me, and I will never give up on them.

What do you like most about your cats?
I love how both of them will do anything to lie next to me, love me and talk to me whenever I talk to them. They have been my company and best companions during my Olympic preparations and aspirations. I know they hate it when I leave because they will never leave my side and always lie on my bags. But when I get back they are so energetic, and they make my homecoming all that much better and special.

How do your cats inspire you as an athlete?
They show me that, no matter what, I should never give up, never doubt and never give up on my dreams and goals.

Kristian Ipsen and cat Cheddar
Kristian Ipsen and cat Cheddar
Kristian Ipsen
Do you have a special routine with your cat?

Cheddar wakes me up every morning by lying across my face. I used to get so mad, but that's how I started every day of my senior year. Now, when I'm not home I miss it!

How does Cheddar greet you when you've been away training or competing?
Cheddar is the craziest cat ever! There's no way to know what he's going to do. Sometimes he's really chill and then others he'll jump on me as soon as I get home.

Carmelita Jeter
Tell us about your cats.

I have five cats: Sticks, Tye, Iverson, Casper and Tango. They are very special because they show me so much love all the time. I got them all from a shelter except for Sticks, who I found on the street as a kitten.

What do you like most about your cats?
They all have different personalities.

How do your cats inspire you as an athlete?
They constantly run around the house chasing each other as if they are in a track meet. It's really cute.
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Olympic Athletes Love Their Cats

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Reader Comments

Me    Lake City, FL

1/30/2013 11:57:33 PM

Thanks for sharing celeb news worth sharing!

marsha    portland, ME

8/14/2012 1:40:41 PM

tony i have a cat that dose the same thing with the meowing when i have been a way too long for him. i call it giving me a lecture. then when i pick him up he gives me kisses on my nose and forhead. he's a maine coon. i also can't imagine my life with out him.

Maddy    Somewhere, NY

8/8/2012 7:32:03 AM

Wow! That's cool :) Good luck to all!!

Cathy    Brooklyn, NY

8/3/2012 7:34:19 PM


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