Last-Chance Cat Finds Forever Home with PetSmart Charities® Program Manager

Chatty cat makes impression during video shoot in county shelter


Even before I began my current job reviewing grant applications at PetSmart Charities, I’ve always strived to educate the public about trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs. In the spring of 2007, I was making a TNR video for The Humane Society of the United States. I needed to shoot some video footage of feral cats in a shelter facility, so I went to an open admission county shelter in central New Jersey.

Next to where I was filming the feral cats stood other cages filled with friendly, but sick, cats. Included in the bunch was 1 large, long-haired white fellow with 1 green eye and 1 blue. He called out repeatedly — not only was he a real looker, but he had quite the vocabulary. He made a variety of noises to catch my attention.

I turned my camera on him, wanting to capture this captivating cat. But when I finished filming and moved away from him, he crept to the back of his cage, curled up and mumbled softly to himself.

Joining the “Last Chance Program”

Back at home, I showed the footage of the white kitty to my wife, Suzi. I told her I was certain he would be adopted soon, but she was less optimistic. “Don’t be so sure,” Suzi said. “It can be hard for any cat to find a home in a county shelter.”

The next day I called the shelter and said I would take the cat if no one else did, expecting that I would never hear about him again. “So you want to be in our Last Chance Program?” the shelter worker asked. I didn’t know the details of the program, but I got the idea and said yes. “Well, that’s a good thing because today is his last day. Can you pick him up tomorrow?”

Nursing our new cat back to health

My wife was thrilled and, being good at that sort of thing, decided his name should be Pemberly, after an estate in the Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice.

Pemberly was still sick, so I couldn’t bring him home right away and risk exposing our other cats to illness. Fortunately, a veterinarian friend near the shelter took him into the clinic and cared for him for 6 weeks.

The day came to pick him up and I drove down from New York City to get him. My friend handed me Pemberly’s paperwork — he was just a year old and had been surrendered by his original owner. Much to my amazement, the owner had lived in the town of Pemberton, N.J.

Pemberly fits right in in his new home

Pemberly made himself right at home, bossing around the other cats and making a big fuss at meal times. We quickly discovered he has food issues. The only way to keep him calm is to let him up on the counter to supervise meal preparations. That he’s able to grab the occasional extra bite doesn’t hurt, either.

He’s grown even more and has become quite a large cat, with a full set of muttonchops. Pemberly loves to sit in my lap and press his forehead against my chest, purring all the time. It’s his way of helping me review grant applications, reminding me of all the precious lives at stake.


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