PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. — The orange tabby lazed on the table Saturday, seemingly oblivious to the book store patrons milling around him.
TK doesn’t mind the attention, his new owner said.
Stephanie Willard, the education director of ZooWorld and co-author of a new book about TK and his late friend, a Sumatran orangutan named Tonda, has been sharing her home with TK since Tonda died a year ago.
TK, short for “Tonda’s Kitty,” was “signing” copies of the book, which came out about a month ago, at the Pier Park Borders on Saturday.
He barely opened his eyes or moved each time Willard lifted his paw, pressed it onto an ink pad and then onto the inside page of “Tonda and TK: Friends.”
The orangutan befriended the cat in 2005 after her mate died, and the pair lived together for about four years, until Tonda died of old age at 50 in March 2009.
The duo received national attention after Animal Planet featured them as No. 2 among the show’s top seven animal odd couples in 2009. Animal Planet still airs the segment regularly.
Lynda Brownson, who was at Borders this weekend, remembered seeing the Animal Planet special.
“You’re kind of lazy for a 4-year-old, aren’t you?” she said to TK after the cat autographed her book.
But, Willard said, the same laid-back attitude TK demonstrated at his book signing made the cat and orangutan inseparable.
“She (Tonda) treated him like an overbrearing mother,” Willard said. “She took care of him. She would feed him and cart him around with her. When she thought it was nap time, she’d drag him under the blanket for a nap.”
TK went through a period of mourning after Tonda died, she added.
“She never let him out of her sight,” she said. “They spent 24/7 together. He’s very demanding now of attention.”
The tabby still doesn’t seem to have any interest in his own kind, Willard said. He gets along better with Willard’s Great Danes than he does with her other cats.
Proceeds from the book, available at Borders and ZooWorld, and online at zooworldpcb.net, will go to the nonprofit zoo, Willard said.