Feline Frenzy

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Smokey, St. John's Rectory feline friend.

Smokey, St. John’s Rectory feline friend.

By James A. Vezos

Throughout the years, St. John’s has had its share of four legged-friends that have sought shelter within their thick walls. While the rodent population is lacking among these four-legged animals, few lucky cats are allowed sanctuary inside of St. John’s Church.

I was given a tour of the pantry on my first day volunteering in the soup kitchen, and that’s when I first saw a small plate of food laying out underneath a threshold of a doorway. A black and white cat with a protruding muzzle crept out from behind a stack of folded cardboard boxes to greet me. Black fur covers his shoulders and most of his back, leaving room for a symmetric white triangular patch on his chest.

Tuxedo, a male tomcat, is the foremost of animals that spends its time in the basement of the church. Like a discarded belonging, Tuxedo was flung out the window of a car onto the steps of St. John’s eighteen years ago. This cat is a constant reminder to those that work and volunteer in the soup kitchen that St. John’s is a place of comfort and compassion.

Two years ago a stray feline also found sanctuary at the church’s doors. When this cat was taken to the animal hospital Barbara Maran, the Soup Kitchen Manager, learned that it was pregnant with a litter of four kittens. She also found out that the cat suffered from feline leukemia.

Unfortunately, one of the kittens died shortly after it was born. One other kitten was given away, and the last two, Smokey and Happy, live in the rectory that was built alongside of the church till this day.

Happy, the boy, does not especially like company, while his female counterpart, Smokey, loves to be touched as she basks in the sunlight that permeates through the rectory’s kitchen windows.

St. John’s does not promote dropping off animals at its doorstep, but it seems that its charm and character naturally makes it a place that all creatures come to when in need.