Rose Ordile is an animal trainer for the film and television industry. She's currently the official trainer for Morris the Cat.
iVillage: 9Lives recently introduced Morris IV, whom you train and share your home with, to the public. Tell us about Morris's road from shelter kitty to TV star.
Rose Ordile: The 9Lives team and I went on a nationwide search through hundreds of shelters looking for the one that we thought could play the part. All the Morrises have come from shelters, and if you get an animal out of a shelter, you know that it's spayed or neutered. So Morris is not a purebred -- he's not part of a breed that gets handed down.
So going through the shelters we were looking for a cat that had the right coloring and the same color eyes (green). There's an "M" marking on Morris the Cat's head that 9Lives has always felt stands for "Morris." So we were looking for that marking on the head as well.
We were also looking for a cat with the personality for this type of work. Not all cats have the personality for Hollywood. Morris the Cat is out on the go a lot, he travels a lot and he meets a lot of people. So he really has to have an outgoing personality. Luckily, we did find a cat that had that relaxed disposition and an outgoing personality.
When you take a cat out of a shelter and bring it home, you realize the other side of the situation. Here was a stray cat that probably had a lot of negative things happen to him in his life before he even ended up in the shelter. And you have to work through those things.
For example, when I first got Morris out of the shelter, I believed his tail had been pulled or gotten caught in something. Because when I went to pet him down his back and I went up his tail, he clearly let me know that that was off limits. There was a trust issue there. We've gotten over that, and now anyone can go down his back and pet his tail. Now he believes that people are nice, but we had to work through the issue of trust.