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2007-05-09 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

by Joanne Anderson

Waiting for loving caretakers, Diamond and Hope Waiting for loving caretakers, Diamond and Hope The tie-in with Mothers' Day is unintentional yet poignant. The following is part of a plea written by a caring man, a librarian, trying desperately to place a pair of outside cats, now in limbo, not really feral; not completely tame- peripheral pets, soon to be displaced because his late Mother's home was recently sold:

"My Mom had Alzheimer's. She was cared for by health aides at home. One day she told Rose, the aide, that she saw two cats in the backyard. Rose thought she was hallucinating and didn't look out the window. Later my Mom told me about the kittens. I looked and that was the moment Hope and Diamond entered my life. After a month, when they were still quite wild, I had them spayed with the help of a woman dedicated to trapping and neutering. She asked me for nothing, I gave her what I could at the time and only wished it could have been more.

Until she was no longer able, my Mom would gaze out the window and call to her kitties. Though outside cats, they'd occasionally come in to visit her and bring some happiness and connection to my Mom's life which had become increasingly joyless and isolated. Hope and Diamond were the last parts of the outside world to bring out my Mother's childlike sense of wonder and enthusiasm. As they grew, they became less what people call feral, a word which only indicates a reaction to being alone and unloved.

Moppet, bearded Collie mix at Babylon Town Shelter Moppet, bearded Collie mix at Babylon Town Shelter My Mother Mabel died on a Sunday morning in December. The following weeks I made numerous calls to try to place Hope and Diamond. I live in a small apartment and have an indoor cat who hates other cats and a landlord who doesn't allow outdoor cats, so taking them was not an option.

Two months ago someone agreed to let the cats stay outside her house a half mile away. Three days before the closing on my mom's house, a sudden change caused her to pull out of the plan. Meanwhile my mom's neighbor lets them sunbathe by his pool. He likes them but doesn't want to "own" cats. At my request, he said he'd feed them, but only on a temporary basis.

The couple who bought the home wants no part of the cats. Our lawyer thinks they won't come around as much when their igloo shelter and food source are gone. The real estate agent felt that this was unsatisfactory that "no cats on the property" doesn't mean that the cats can stay next door.

Hope, the calico, is beautiful and reserved. She likes to be petted on her own terms. Diamond, the tabby, rolls on her back when she sees me. Both know the sound of my car and would come out to greet me. They'd love to stretch out to put their paws on my mom's storm door and meow for meals. When I brought their food out, Hope would dig right in while Diamond had to be stroked and fussed over first. Probably sisters from two different litters- in two years, I never heard them hiss or growl. They're a bit confused now. The world they know has been turned upside down. The new owners won't be moving in until June. While the rhetoric has toned down, I fear time may be against us.

I want Hope and Diamond to have a loving home. While the thought of anything happening to these innocent creatures that I have given sustenance and affection fills me with sadness, I know that there are many Hope and Diamonds waiting in the cold for scraps of food. In the future, I'll strive to help more cats like them.

I am prepared to help out financially any individual or organization that can take Hope and Diamond. It's the least I can do for my mother's feline friends, and for these tiny teachers who have taught me more about love and gratitude than I would have ever learned if I had read a million books.

Thank you…Hope and Diamond thank you-Joseph Sturniolo-631-581-6282 (H); 631-273-7883 ext.329; jsturn@aol.com."

Babylon Town Shelter (643-9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon is filled with loving animals, just waiting for a second chance at companionship too. "Moppet" was originally turned into a town shelter when her owners got a new puppy. This darling 7 yr. old Bearded Collie mix in Cage 83 resembles a petite Tramp for "My Three Sons". She loves people and is fine with other dogs. See more photos on the shelter's Petfinder site.

Males: "Rusty"- a sweet red Husky mix in Cage 31; "Alex"- a 9 mon. Shep mix in Cage 15; "Noah"- a Chow mix in Cage 9; "Roscoe" the neut. tuxedo cat in C-6. I mistakenly called him "Rocco" last week.

Females: In the Puppy Room- "Sugar"- a 6 mon. Pit/Lab puppy that came with a fractured leg in a cast. The shelter sent her to the hospital for a recheck. Vet says her leg is healing well and that she needs cage rest for a month; "Emily"- the sweetest tabby kitten in C-4; "Nevada"- a lovable tabby and white cat seized by the SPCA.

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