Meet the cat that captured the hearts of Kibby Cobb Plaza business owners

JACKSON, MI — She goes by Kibby Cat, the Shabby Cat, or just Mama Kitty, but whatever her name, this feline resident is becoming an icon at Jackson’s Kibby Cobb Plaza.

Michelle Moore owned Not So Shabby, Oh! So Chic., located at 2624 Kibby Road in the square for about nine years. Since then, a cat has always wandered around the property, she said.

Moore used to keep clearance furniture, such as dressers, outside the store in the back for customers to browse. Years ago, when a customer was browsing through an item, she got a cute surprise when she opened a drawer, Moore said.

“She said, ‘Do you know you have kittens here?’ said Moore. “It confirmed to me that she lived here and we moved in with her.”

It was the start of this long-standing friendship between the cat and the local shop owners, she said. They later found new homes for the kittens and had Mama Kitty spayed to prevent more kittens from happening.

Ever since the cat made room for her home, none of the shop owners wanted to remove her from where she felt comfortable. So they started feeding her, leaving her water and putting her on a heating pad in the winter, Moore said.

“I’m a big animal lover, I don’t know how I couldn’t take care of her – We moved into her territory,” Moore said.

Now it’s a team effort to care for the cat, with each of the store owners taking turns buying her food or giving her leftovers. Owners of Kibby Cobb Liquor and Deli, Ironbark Brewing Company and Prestige Hair Design are all helping out, Moore said.

Prestige Hair Design owner Haley Applegate has been there for two years. Often, she will hear the cat meowing outside her living room back door, indicating her bowl is empty and ready to be fed, she said.

“Sometimes she walks into the back rest room and I’m like, ‘Oh, that means she’s hungry,'” Applegate said. “And when Mama Kitty comes to my door, I feed her.”

A Jackson Public Schools student donated a box, specially designed for feral cats, that was designed for a school project the kitten can stay in, which she uses from time to time, Moore said.

Even over the years, Mama Kitty is still very shy, but loves the attention, Moore said. Usually she will stop and have conversations with the store owners, she said.

“We hope with love and nourishment that she loves us enough to let us pet her,” Moore said.

Shop owners love having the chat as most of them are animal lovers. They especially like the chat to bring them together and give them something to bond over, Applegate said.

“That’s my favorite part, that we all work together to make sure she has her food, her water and her needs,” Applegate said.

Store owners hope to one day add a mailbox in the corner so people can drop off letters or food for Mama Kitty, Moore said.

“She’s part of the family here,” More said. “She is really well known.

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