Neo was a tuxedo cat and the inspiration for our B&B! He was rescued from the streets of West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania when he followed an animal activist home in 2008 and was our first cat together. He tested positive for an autoimmune disease called feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and was given only 6 months to 2 years to live. We took him into our home thinking he would not live very long but that we’d give him the best quality of life we could. Because of Neo’s story, we decided to only adopt cats with FeLV, as many shelters will euthanize them because the disease is considered untreatable (and can be passed onto other cats, but not to humans or dogs).
Neo was a lap cat that loved feet, being brushed, and cuddling with people under the covers. He had deep emotions and became upset when we would leave for a few days, running around the house frantically upon our return. He also was visibly moved at the death of Gatsby who he witnessed dying and of Takei, who he sat next to for hours after his death. Neo was very special and was Amber’s favorite cat.
In 2014 Neo had a splenectomy when they found a cancerous tumor on his spleen. All was looking well until the February of 2015 when another larger cancerous tumor was found on his stomach and pancreas. He started chemotherapy but didn’t respond to it. He kept declining in health with little chance of recovery and we said good-bye to him on May 7, 2015 when he was euthanized in Amber’s lap.
Takei was a small grey tabby whose namesake was actor and gay rights activist George Takei. We adopted him the week that same-sex marriage was legalized in New York State in July of 2011. To celebrate the passage of this legislation we named him after the outspoken celebrity. He was rescued from a hoarding situation that the Tompkins County SPCA became involved with and like all of our other cats, is also FeLV+.
Takei was shy, but once he warmed up to someone, he was very affectionate. He loved having his face rubbed and often became needy for attention. He was one of the most playful cats we’ve ever had, hunting his toy mice around the house, playing fetch with us, and sparring with other cats.
Takei was diagnosed at the end of 2014 with cancer when they found a large tumor near his heart. While chemotherapy initially yielded hopeful results, by the beginning of 2015 his condition worsened considerably. We made the difficult decision to euthanize him on January 27, 2015.
We were on our honeymoon in Alaska when we got the call from the SPCA asking if we’d be interested in taking in another FeLV-positive cat. He was barely 2 months old and was going to be euthanized if we didn’t rescue him. With a cool name like Gatsby and a cute and playful disposition when we met him, how could we have said no?
Upon our return, we scooped him up from the shelter and brought him home with us at the end of July 2010. He was a sick little kitty when we first got him, but we nursed him back to health and he was full of energy and life for several months. He liked to play fetch with his favorite toy mouse and loved to cuddle and chase his newfound brothers, Neo and Pilgrim (even if they didn’t want to be played with).
He was the light in our lives for 7 months of his short 9 month life. We’ll never forget his liveliness when he was feeling well, the fact that he was the only cat we had at the time who really would use the scratching post, how he would sit on our chest or legs in the morning as he waited patiently for us to get up and feed him, and all the times he still would come running down the door to greet us, sick or not. We had to say good-bye to our great Gatsby in February 2011 during a home euthanasia when he could no longer walk down steps comfortably and had stopped eating and using the litter box. We always remember him fondly as our first “fetch” cat.
We met Parker as a rescue of the good folks at our vet’s office while living in New Jersey. They knew we just took in Neo, our first FeLV+ cat and since Parker was also afflicted with the illness, they thought they’d be good companions.
We welcomed a second tuxedo cat into our homes, not realizing how little time we would have with him. Parker and Neo would often sit together on the window sill or front door, but also took turns fighting with one another too. Parker was very affectionate and a great nuzzler.
He became very anemic towards the end and stopped eating. During his last night with us, Amber stayed up all night by his side, stroking and petting him. By morning he stopped breathing after only 6 short weeks in our home on November 8, 2008. Parker was our first loss together, but also gave us the determination to keep rescuing these special needs cats to give them a nice quality of life, no matter how much time they had.
Julia was a beautiful torbie that we adopted in 2011 from the Schuyler County Humane Society. The good folks over at SCHS felt she was so sweet and asymptomatic, that they did not want to euthanize her just because she was FeLV+. Since it is very difficult to find adopters for cats with FeLV, Julia spent a year in a room by herself with no interaction with other kitties while they tried to find someone to open their home to her. Julia was a very affectionate lap cat who loved to talk! She had a bit of a cattitude with the other cats in our home (they frequently like to pick on her) and used to over-stimulated easily, but she melted many hearts in her time with us and around our friends. Sadly, we had to say good-bye to her a couple of days before Christmas on December 22, 2015 when she become profoundly anemic, stopped eating, and became incontinent. She was the only female cat we had for many years and she always held her own. Her spunkiness and lovable nature is missed greatly!