New Kitten Helps Florida Couple Cope After 'Cat Butcher'
The couple soon learned otherwise, from police and neighbors, of the other gruesome cat mutilations that had upset "a very peaceful neighborhood," says Tom. On June 14, accused "cat butcher" Tyler Weinman, 18, was charged with 19 counts of animal cruelty and improperly disposing of an animal body.
"For two weeks I couldn't even talk about it without choking up," says Tom of his black feline, a once-feral cat who slowly warmed up to them and their two other cats, Foxy and Porky. "Three days after she died, they would go to the front door and just look out ... I know [they] were looking for [her]," says Tom.
Talking about the events has helped the couple deal with their grief. And so has the addition of a new feline to their brood – a new kitten they named Miss Prissy. "We fell in love with her," says Mary Lou. "I'm a softie and I saw this adorable little kitten and I said, 'I really don't want to do this," laughs Tom. "And then the more I was around the cat, she just sort of sold herself."
At first, the couple had no intention of trying to replace Miss Kitty. "We weren't going to get a new cat," says Mary Lou, 65, a retired nurse. But in early June, a neighbor's daughter introduced the Shads to the tortoiseshell that was in a litter of kittens she had rescued. The little ball of fluff immediately captured their hearts.
The 12-week-old kitten got her sassy name "because of her attitude," says Tom, 64, a finance manager at a Miami Volvo dealership. "She just prisses around the house and doesn't take any guff from the other two."
The new addition is certainly a warm comfort in what has been a difficult few weeks. Miss Prissy "loves to curl up on your lap," says Tom.
Her arrival, coupled with the recent arrest of Weinman, has had a calming effect. "I breathe much easier," says Tom, who used to watch the cats whenever he let them wander onto a screened patio. "We didn't let the cats out there unless we were with them. And now we feel like we can let them out so they can enjoy the outdoors in a screened-in area."
And Miss Prissy's outgoing personality has livened up her new home. She's a "people cat," says Tom. "This cat makes us laugh. For me, it's been a healing."