Four years ago, David went through a bad breakup and was wishing he had something to focus on besides his heartache. Then one day he walked into Petco to buy his rescue kitty Lion-O some cat food, and he found the answer. There in the store were six cages of cats up for adoption and a sign that said Anjellicle Cats Rescue needed help. David answered the call for volunteers, went through Anjellicle’s orientation, and soon became a regular fixture at the rescue. There he feeds cats, comforts them if they’re scared, and helps them learn to socialize. And if Anjellicle needs help at an adoption event, he’s there to pitch in. The best part? When he first started volunteering, David was so happy to help the rescue out that he forgot why he signed up in the first place.
Wanting even more ways to work with animals in addition to volunteering, David started a seasonal position at the ASPCA as a part-time medical nursery caregiver. There he distributes meds (and a ton of TLC) to up to 400 kittens in the nursery. “It’s so rewarding and enriching to work there. It’s taught me a lot about how precious life is!” says David.
After caring for kitties at Anjellicle and the ASPCA nursery, David continues the TLC at home with his three companion rescue cats. An award-winner at Comic Con and major superhero fan, David named these kitties after some of his favorite comic characters.
LION-O, age 7
David adopted the orange-and-white tabby a few years before he started volunteering at Anjellicle. “My friend told me about kittens up for adoption, and I adopted him because he was the only boy in the litter,” says David. “Lion-O is the boss—he tolerates the other cats. But he does like people, and he’s totally infatuated with eating!” Lion-O is named after the orange-and-white leader of the Thundercats, an animated show about cat-like humanoid aliens that David was a fan of as kid.
One day back when he was new to volunteering at Anjellicle, David was working on socializing some kittens when a little black-and-gray tabby sat on his lap and didn’t budge. “You know the golden rule when a cat sits on you—you can’t move until they move!” So David stayed put his whole shift with this adorable kitten on his lap and did his work within arm’s reach. Two weeks later, he officially adopted Lexington. “There’s no denying he absolutely picked me!” claims David. “He loves rubbing his cheek on my arm or leg and resting on my chest. And he’s super agile—he’ll do weird jumps but always lands on his feet.” David named him Lexington because his huge eyes reminded him of a character from the animated TV show Gargoyles.
SPACE GHOST, age 5
This beautiful white American Curl’s family had been evicted from an apartment, and he had nowhere to go, so David stepped in to adopt him. After taking care of his flea issue and getting him all of his shots, David was happy to see Space Ghost settle in and become super affectionate. “He’s always head-butting me and kneading on my stomach whenever I lie down. He also loves to run out into the hallway looking for adventures.” This kitty (who has stunning eyes, one green and one blue) is named after Space Ghost, the superhero from the Hanna-Barbera animated series who wears a white costume while fighting super villains.
Even though David works with cats and shares his home with three, he insists he’s always loved all animals—and is passionate about adopting not shopping. “It’s very important to adopt—so many animals are out there alone, abandoned, or mistreated. They just want to feel love. It’s about connecting with an animal that wants the same thing as us, about giving back that same loving energy.”
David may be a huge fan of superheroes, but he’s OUR kind of superhero, and we’re so grateful to him for all the care he gives to homeless cats and kittens!
FUN FUR FACTS
When was the last time one of your cats made you laugh?
The other day Space Ghost was on top of the fridge and knocked something off of it. I bent down to pick it up and he jumped onto my back, using me as springboard to then jump to the floor.
Favorite thing to do with your animals?
I love that when I sit on the couch to watch TV, they lie next to me and watch TV with me. I’m glad they like the same shows I do!
How are you inspired by the animals in your life?
They constantly inspire me to do better. Animals are really so self-aware. They’ll never be dishonest with you. When you adopt, it’s not about ownership, or being the master, or “this is my pet”—it’s actually a relationship, it’s about family. And we can learn so much from them!
Story by Julie Ulrich
All photo credits: Geoffrey Tischman