You might not – at first glance, at least – recognize Vito Vincent, star of screens both large and small. Today Vito Vincent leads a gilded life, making special appearances with Matilda of the Algonquin Hotel and Tara the Hero cat, but he was not born with a silver spoon – or would that be bowl? – in his mouth.
Quite the contrary. This full-bodied, handsome ginger embodies the ultimate New York City rags-to-riches dream come true.
At the tender age of 7 months, Vito was abandoned at a Brooklyn shelter by his owners. We’ll never know what would have become of him had it not been for the folks at Bideawee, a no-kill shelter in Manhattan, who saved him. They must have spotted the star potential behind that his serious face of his.
I had the opportunity to speak to Vito’s dad Michael at Manhattan’s Algonquin Hotel, for resident cat Matilda’s birthday, and asked him how he chose Vito from all the cats up for adoption. It seems Vito, knowing he was destined for greater things that required getting out of a cage, stuck his paws out of the cage to get Michael’s attention. A crafty and ambitious kitty even at such a young age, his tactic worked. Michael says that’s the reason Vito wears his harness; Michael never wants Vito to be in a cage/carrier again.
Vito recently starred on Broadway in the role of Holly Golightly’s cat (Cat) in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” cast only four days before previews and beating out a skinny black and white cat. That’s certainly not a lot of time for rehearsals. It’s said within the industry that it’s his calm demeanor that has allows him to become the success he is.
He’s a well-rounded cat who, in addition to acting on the stage, has done commercials for pet foods, greetings cards, retail chains and more, as well as acted in TV shows with celebrities like Tina Fey in “30 Rock.”
Vito and Michael were attending Meow Mix “aCATemy” in 2007 as guests where Vito was filmed despite there being professional actor cats at the event. This was the first time Vito was recognized for his talents.
Vito deftly played the role of Christianne Aman-purr, Stephen Colbert’s female Middle East expert on the “Colbert Report” (imagine all the prep work involved in that!). I got to see his performance and Vito was the consummate professional even if Stephen, who was trying to distract him with the laser pointer and toys, was not.
But don’t get the idea that Vito has gotten too big for his britches. He may have many talents, but he gives back as a certified pet therapist. According to his website, Vito scored 100% on his exam, “making him the highest rated therapy animal in the world”(not that we’d expect anything less!).
While Vito briefly moved to Los Angeles, he ultimately came back to his true home, New York, New York – the place he was born and went from an unwanted kitten to a Broadway star.
You can read and see more photos on Vito’s website, so be sure to check it out!