On Oct. 30, 2008, domestic shorthairs Samantha and Darrin — named after the lead characters in the 1960s sitcom “Bewitched” — arrived at the front door of Kitty Cottage Adoption Center in East Norriton, Pa. Shelli DeFazio, shelter manager, carried the two abandoned crates inside and discovered a note and $60 cash.
“The note said the owner had cared for the cats for 16 years but couldn’t do so any longer due to allergies,” she says.
DeFazio provided Samantha and Darrin, who both were anemic, flea-ridden and emaciated, with the best veterinary care the shelter could provide. Sadly, Darrin’s condition worsened, and he had to be put down. But Samantha made a full recovery. She thrived in the cage-free environment where she and the other feline boarders lounged in stuffed chairs, relaxed in rockers and peeked outside through lace curtains.
Since opening in February 2002, Kitty Cottage Adoption Center has adopted out more than 2,200 cats, most of which come from other shelters, municipal animal-control facilities, rescue groups and the community.
Julie Coopersmith, a cat lover and volunteer at the shelter, was enchanted by Samantha. As the white, brown and black calico recovered from her injuries, Coopersmith coddled the cat, sat with her and showered her with affection. DeFazio suggested Coopersmith, who recently had lost her 23-year-old Siamese months earlier to kidney dysfunction, adopt Samantha.
“Shelli kind of hesitated because she knew that my cat’s passing hit me very hard,” Coopersmith says. “She didn’t know what I would be getting into with this 16-year-old cat. But I thought it would be a loving tribute to my late pet to take her in.”
On Dec. 18, Samantha moved into her forever home. She joined Coopersmith’s brood — four special-needs cats, three of which came from Kitty Cottage — and fit in like one of the family.
“It’s hard for me to believe that, at one time in this cat’s life, she was not loved,” Coopersmith says. “She’s so affectionate and happy. But thank goodness Samantha is doing beautifully. She’s putting on weight, and she loves to eat.”
Samantha also has claimed her spot in the Coopersmith household. When the cat isn’t crunching kibble or carousing with her feline housemates, Samantha curls up on Coopersmith’s pillow and snoozes the day away.
“When I go to bed at night, she gets on my chest for about 10 minutes and then curls up to my face as close as she can get and sleeps there all night,” she says. “It was a beautiful ending as far as I’m concerned. She’s so sweet, and I’m just so glad she has this opportunity to feel loved.
“For any pet in this world, the best thing you can do for them is love them,” Coopersmith says. “You can feed them and care for them, but if you don’t love them, somehow they just don’t blossom. She’s doing great, and I’m just thrilled.”
Wendy Bedwell-Wilson writes about pets from her home in Oregon. Her menagerie includes two rescued domestic shorthairs, a rescued Pointer and a retired racing Greyhound.