Humboldt Crabs players are smitten with kittens

CRABS WITH KITTIES From left, Connor Loar, pitcher; Jack Krauel, infield; Jack McCarthy, outfield; and Matt Richardson, pitcher. Janine Volkmar | Union

Companion Animal Foundation is doing a pinup calendar with handsome men and kittens.

Of course they had to include some Crabs players.

The 2018 calendar, titled “Cats and Casanovas,” is part of the group’s fundraising campaign to purchase a completely outfitted mobile veterinarian clinic, estimated to cost $110,000.

Last week the calendar organizers brought a passel of kittens over to the ballpark for a photo shoot with the Crabbies.

“The guys just lined up, all waiting their turn to hold the kittens,” Matt Filar, legendary Crabs photographer said. “A couple of them didn’t want to give the kittens up.”

Filar was enthusiastic about the participation of the players. “I figured there would be a few who wouldn’t want to do it but these guys were so accommodating. This is just the nicest bunch of players ever. They’re having a good time and have become good friends.”

Shannon Townsend, a foundation board member, is organizing the project with Amber Ferriman, photographer and boardmember. The two worked together last year on the “Pinups & Pooches” calendar that was a first for the group. They’ve planned an eclectic second calendar, featuring all kinds of men holding cats: a tattoo artist, a bookworm, a lumberjack, a transgender man, a shirtless basketball player, and, of course, some baseball players from the Humboldt Crabs.

“Justin Love, the tattoo artist, got involved because his girlfriend was in last year’s calendar,” Townsend said. “Now it’s his turn to shine.”

Townsend spoke by telephone because she was driving a cat that had been on death row to an adoptive family in Sacramento. The cat had bitten someone and had been deemed unadoptable but was being given a second chance by the relatives of some other adopters. They’d heard about the cat and were touched by its plight.

She also couldn’t say enough good things about the Crabs players and their photo shoot.

Jack Krauel, an infielder from Portland, is the 12th person in his family to attend Gonzaga University. He said he loves cats but his sister and father are allergic to cats. He had two dogs, one that passed away at 11 years, and now owns a 6-month -old pup. “I wanted to name the kitten Little Jack,” he said “but had to change her name to Jenny.”

Jack McCarthy, an outfielder who attends Oregon State University, also owns dogs but wanted to keep the kitten after posing with it.

“I enjoy cats, but no dogs will be reading this story?” he asked, with a worried expression. Connor Loar, a pitcher who plays for the University of California at Davis, is a proud owner of a rescue cat named Chicken. “It’s a three legged cat and the love of my life, second only to my mother,” he said with a smile. Loar posed for the calendar with a cat high on his shoulder, clearly an experienced cat handler as well as an award winning pitcher who pitched a no-hitter at the age of 13.

Townsend said that the photo shoots are almost done but that animal lovers can still help.

“We are looking for support in lots of ways,” she said. “Businesses can take out ads in the calendar, folks can donate to have birthdays or other significant dates listed, and we also need businesses that will sell the calendar for us.”

The Kickstarter campaign for the calendar runs through Aug. 20 and features a video of guys and cats.

Visit it at

The group is also looking for help from an experienced graphic designer to do layout work that will cut the printing costs of the calendar.

Last year’s calendar came close to selling out and with the inclusion of handsome Crabbies, how can this one not sell out?  Watch for the calendar release party in early November.



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