published: Friday, May 03, 2013
Neighbors create an oasis for displaced cats and a friendship
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
SEBRING -- Joseph Oros started out preferring dogs to cats. That opinion began to change when he developed a rat problem and got a cat.
Later, when he adopted a cat named Lucy, he fell in love.
The retired Oros noticed a parade of feral cats crossed his large property all the time. "For five years there have been no sales (in the neighborhood)," Oros said. "Forty homes are in foreclosure. Many cats had just been left behind."
A man of multiple talents, including carpentry, he went to work building a cat feeding station and several "Kitty Kondominiums." He calls his complex "Kitty Land."
The shelters have carpeted floors and rainproof roofs and are built out of single panels of plywood. Roofs overhang the entrances to keep the compartments dry. They look like library tables from a distance.
Each "kondominium" is set in its own lushly green garden. In the afternoon, the shade is a relief and the cats tend to nap.
What makes this story different is what happened next.
A thick cluster of bamboo and saw palmetto separated Oros' property from his neighbor, Carol DeWitt. Separated by landscape, they did not know each other at all. One day Oros could hear someone softly calling a cat, which is how he and DeWitt met. DeWitt said she was moved when she heard what Oros was doing, and asked if she could help.
They cleared out the bamboo and palmetto, providing easy access for both humans and cats. When more shelters were needed, Oros built them on DeWitt's property.
Now both share the expenses of keeping the cats fed, dry and snipped.
Rewards come in two ways -- Oros and DeWitt know the joy of watching healthy cats play in a safe environment, and they've gone from being strangers to friends in the process.
"Actually, we're more like family than friends," DeWitt said.
Cat Kondos (by: A.Willey - 5/4/2013)
Thank you for taking care of the feral cats. We all do what we can. I appreciate what you two are doing!
Cats (by: Tom Thornton - 5/3/2013)
Love the cats. Good work.
Oasis for Cats (by: J Greenley - 5/3/2013)
I do hope Oros and DeWitt are neutering and spaying all of these cats. I am a cat lover -- I have three rescue cats -- and firmly believe in responsible pet ownership. This includes not only the neutering and spaying, but also necessary health shots and flea control.
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