A stray cat carrying a kitten passed through Maria Cassano’s father’s Long Island garden a few years ago.
She was concerned that the cat, which she called Mama, wouldn’t be strong enough to give milk for her baby without sufficient nutrition. Cassano persuaded her father to make an exception when it came to providing food to stray animals in the area.
Mama’s tiny kitten was eventually adopted by a neighbor, but the Cassanos persisted in leaving out free food for the neighborhood’s stray cats. Mama was very appreciative of the meal, but as she became more alert, they began to worry about her safety outside in the chilly weather.
So Cassano’s father built her a lovely cat home all to herself.
Cassano told The Dodo that her father is “quite skilled and, despite the fact that he’s ‘not a fan of having pets in the house,’ he’s a really sympathetic man and he likes to help out.”
“So when his girlfriend and I started to worry about the cats surviving the cold weather, my dad ordered the elements for a heated cat house, covered it with waterproof materials, built a base for it and put it out in the backyard.”
Mama soon had a second kitten, and Cassano’s dad decided to install a camera in the cat house to make sure they were getting home safe every night.
They didn’t plan on taking so many cute pictures of the appreciative stray animals, though.
Cassano was eventually able to capture Mama and her kitten and bring them to a local shelter to be spayed and vaccinated. “It was fall, and the shelter said that Mama would be fine to return, but the kitten was likely too young to survive the winter if left outdoors,” Cassano said. “However, he took well to being handled by humans.”
The small kitten was fostered by Cassano, who later adopted him into a caring family. However, Mama wasn’t left alone for very long because to all the wonderful facilities the Cassanos’ backyard provided.
Now, Mama spends time in the yard with Inky and Finky, two black cats.
Cassano is content to provide the small feral family with a pleasant home to remain while having no expectations of domesticating them.
They refuse to allow us to touch them or come inside, but they do know us, snooze on the porch or in the lawn chairs, live beside us in the backyard, and occasionally come up to the window when it’s time to eat, according to Cassano.
“Over the years, we’ve gotten a few more houses and a ‘cat igloo,’ so all of our residents can stay warm,” Cassano said. “I jokingly refer to them as ‘Steve’s Cat Condos.’”
Now each stray has a little cat sanctuary of their very own, and they couldn’t be luckier.