Maria Cassano observed a stray cat carrying a kitten through her father’s Long Island property a few years ago.
She was concerned that if the cat, whom she dubbed Mama, didn’t get enough food, she wouldn’t be able to make milk for her baby. Her father was adamant about not feeding the stray dogs in the neighborhood, but Cassano persuaded him to make an exception.
Mama’s young kitten was soon adopted by a neighbor, but the Cassano’s continued to leave her food out for the neighborhood’s stray cats. Mama was especially appreciative of the meal, but the longer she stayed, the more they worried about her safety in the cold.
As a result, Cassano’s father decided to construct her own nice cat house.
“My father is fairly handy, and while he’s not a big lover of having pets in the house,’ he’s a really nice guy who loves to help,” Cassano told The Dodo. “When his girlfriend and I expressed concern about the cats surviving the winter, my father purchased the components for a heated cat home, covered it in waterproof materials, built a base for it, and placed it in the backyard.”
Mama delivered a second kitten soon after, and Cassano’s father decided to put a camera in the cat house to make sure they got home safely every night.
What they didn’t expect were all the cute images of appreciative strays they’d take.
Mama and her kitten were eventually captured by Cassano and taken to a nearby shelter to be spayed and vaccinated. Cassano explained, “It was fall, and the shelter stated Mama would be fine to return, but the kitten was likely too young to survive the winter if left outside.” “However, he adapted nicely to human handling.”
Cassano raised the kitty and adopted him into a loving family. Mama, on the other hand, wasn’t left alone for long, especially with all the wonderful amenities the Cassanos’ backyard had to offer.
Mama now spends her time in the yard with two black cats named Inky and Finky.
Cassano has no ambitions of domesticating the tiny wild family, but she is pleased to provide them with a haven.
“They won’t allow us to touch them or come inside,” Cassano explained, “but they recognize us, nap on the porch [or] in the lawn chairs, coexist with us in the backyard, and occasionally come up to the window when it’s time to eat.”
“We’ve gotten a couple more houses and a ‘cat igloo’ over the years so that all of our residents can stay toasty,” Cassano said. “I call them ‘Steve’s Cat Condos,'” says the author.
Each stray cat now has their own little cat sanctuary, and they couldn’t be more fortunate.