FIV+ cat lands a job as ‘cat ambassador’ to Castle and Key Distillery

Say hello to Castle and Key Distillery’s first ever cat ambassador. Located in Frankfort, Kentucky, the business has recognized the value of a resident cat to help to keep down the rodent population. This is the story of an FIV positive cat named Ricky who was adopted as a stray from a pet store in Lexington by distillery owner Brett Connors.

Ricky has an important job at the century-old brewery (Photo Ashlie Stevens)
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Brett knew Ricky was FIV positive at the time of the adoption. While this discouraged others from taking Ricky home, Brett knew he would be an asset to the distillery.

In an interview with WFPL News, head distiller Marianne Barnes describes how well Ricky has adjusted to his role as cat ambassador

“We’ve had several tours in which we’ll go down through the garden. He’s already in there just hanging out and he’ll pop out of the garden and check in with every single person, just to make sure the tour is going well, see if they need anything.”

Brett and Marianne don’t plan to stop with one cat. Ricky has gained so much public admiration Castle and Key Distillery plan to adopt several more cats with conditions similar to Ricky to promote their bourbon.

According to their Facebook page Castle and Key is nestled on 113 acres of rolling hills in a castle that holds more than a century of distilling history and is home to well-crafted spirits and Marianne Barnes is the industry’s first female Master Distiller.


2 thoughts on “FIV+ cat lands a job as ‘cat ambassador’ to Castle and Key Distillery”

  1. I agree with Dee, especially about FIV+ cats. We have one we had to take back from a “recue” group so they wouldn’t kill him. He’s awesome and #LivingWithFIV, even plays nicely with another cat. There’s still much misinformation out there, even from veterinarians, shelters, and animal rescues. Studies show cats with FIV can live with other cats and don’t pass it on if the colony, houshold or clowder is stable with no severe biting. They also don’t have the same rate of cancer as people with HIV. Positive cats are shown to live as long as negative cats, succumbing to another cause of death. You can find updated info on FIV, and more on shelter medicine, on here,

  2. It’s gotten to the point where I think we should consider what is “profiling” for cats as much as we view it in humans.
    It’s never OK for any person to ask, and expect an answer, as to whether any human is HIV positive, has Hepatitis C, or suffers from any other malady such as M.S. No employer had better ever ask about these.
    Thus, I think it’s ridiculous that we describe cats as “FIV positive, FeLv positive, etc.” Those issues should have no bearing on their adoptability. There’s no looking into the future for what may befall any cat. We don’t advise potential adoptees of the common illnesses that each specific breed is prone to. I would never say, “Well, that Siamese you’re adopting will likely succumb to basal carcinoma, vision problems, or hip dysplasia by the age of 6.”
    I think we need to put all labels to rest and concentrate on what is here and now.


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