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Army man wins grand prize for a litter love letter

By jim Published: December 18, 2009

Sue Manning, AP

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Army Specialist Nathan Davis wrote a story about Cmdr. Frank Sinatra and Sgt. Snog to prove you don't have to be crazy, old, lonely or smelly to have more than one cat at a time.

His story describing a day with his cats, from reveille to taps, was the grand prize winner in Purina's Tidy Cats Campaign to End Cattiness contest. He gets $5,000, a year's worth of litter and a role in a Webisode promoting Tidy Cats.

Davis, 26, lives in Petersburg, Va., with his wife, Laura, and rescue cats Frank, 3 and Snog, 1.

"Of course I have cats. They are amazing animals and provide me with lots of love and happiness. I can't imagine my life without them," he says in the video.

The money comes just days before Christmas and four months before Davis has to leave for his first tour of duty in Iraq.

There were hundreds of photo-essay entries from multiple cat owners across the country who were asked to debunk negative stereotypes of "crazy cat ladies." An independent judging panel chose 10 finalists, then consumers voted for their favorites, accounting for 10 percent of the vote. Pia Salk, a psychologist and animal welfare advocate, made the final choice.

Davis' story, titled "Cats in Command," reads:

"0530 hours: Open the door to find Cmdr. Frank Sinatra and Sgt. Snog waiting. Any delay results in insistent cat scratching at door.

0800 hours: After my morning run, Sgt. Snog leads way to bathroom, where she carefully inspects shaving routine. After showering, Cmdr. Frank scrutinizes bathtub. Occasionally licks off water droplets.

0815 hours: I would think feeding them first would buy me some breathing room, but this is futile. Sgt. Snog does weaving drills between my feet as I make coffee, and Cmdr. Frank stands guard at table, ready to rid world of stray bacon or toast bits.

(Soldier's note: My wife reports no such incidents in her morning routine.)

1700 hours: Return home to find cats off duty, but my work is not done. A feather on a string doesn't fly itself, the look on their faces say.

2100 hours: Time to rest. With Frank purring and kneading my lap and Snog asleep on my feet, I know it's been all worth it."

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