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Meredith Holt, Published July 26 2012

Area feline to grace premiere cover of Modern Cat magazine

FARGO – Lounging on a white couch, Corky seemed unfazed by the three photographers and two assistants snapping pictures, shaking keys and squeaking toys in front of him.

After winning an online contest with more than 40,000 votes, the white-and-tabby cat from Moorhead will grace the cover of the premiere issue of Modern Cat magazine.

Internet sensation Corky was only Ria Czichotzki’s third feline photo subject. Czichotzki, of downtown Fargo’s Rialee Photography, specializes in children’s photography.

“It’s harder than a 2-year-old,” she said with a laugh.

Corky, however, was fairly cooperative throughout all the attention getting and tail positioning. He only let out one “mew” in protest when his handlers repeatedly placed him atop a stylish orange chair.

The energetic cat, who turns 1 this month, first gained fame when the story of his backward and crisscrossed hind legs hit Facebook.

His page now has more than 15,000 “likes.”

Since undergoing corrective surgery on April 5 and having his left leg amputated on April 26 and during months of recovery, Corky continues to gain fans worldwide and bring in donations for the shelter that took him in, CATS Cradle in Fargo.

“He’s definitely proved to have a bigger purpose in life than what we could have imagined,” said shelter director Gail Ventzke, who has provided a home for Corky and posts updates on his progress.

The little cat – he’s only 6 pounds – has inspired people to fight their own uphill battles or volunteer at other shelters.

“We’ve helped facilitate a lot of rescues around the country because of Corky,” including another kitty with twisted legs in Iowa, Ventzke said.

The September issue of Modern Cat is available for pre-order at www.moderncat.com.

“We’re really excited, and you can tell he’s excited,” Ventzke said of the magazine cover.

By wrap-up, celebri-cat “Corkster” was happily pawing at a paint splatter on the hardwood floor of the Rialee studio.

CATS Cradle Shelter in running for grant

As of Thursday evening, the Fargo shelter was in second place behind California’s Cat House on the Kings in The Animal Rescue Site $300,000 Shelter Challenge of 2012. The grand prize is a $5,000 grant. Vote here: www.theanimalrescuesite.com/clickToGive/shelterchallenge.faces?siteId=3

Readers can reach Forum reporter Meredith Holt at (701) 241-5590

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