Have you met The Cats and Crew? Here at Catalyst, we love this gang of nine rescue cats who live in Westchester County, New York with their loving parents, Christina and Matthew. Here’s the rundown on these friendly felines.
Names, Nicknames, Age, and Breeds:
-Rockie (a.k.a. Mr. Handsome) is 10 years old and a Siberian/Norwegian Forest Cat
-Apple (a.k.a. Saucy Lady) is 3 years old and is a Domestic Shorthair Mix
-Evie (a.k.a. Miss Chievous) is 3 years old and is a Domestic Medium Hair Mix
-Mario (a.k.a. Hubby Bubby Boyfriend) is 3 years old and is a Maine Coon
-Winter (a.k.a. Winty) is 3 years old and is a Snowshoe
-Ellen (a.k.a. Ellie Blue) is 2 years old and is a Flame Point Siamese
-Frankie (a.k.a. Bean Man) is 2 years old and a Domestic Shorthair Mix
-Amelia (a.k.a. Amelia Bedelia) is 1 year old and is a Domestic Shorthair Mix
-Alexander (a.k.a. Hobgoblin) is 1 year old and is a Domestic Shorthair Mix
How did all these cute cats end up under one roof? Their mom, Christina, first adopted Rockie from a shelter in Colorado in 2011, about a year before she moved back home to the East Coast. Christina has always been a cat person. When she met Matthew, her future partner, in 2013, he wasn’t really into cats since he’d grown up with dogs and was allergic to felines. But, over time, his allergies improved, and he fell in love with Rockie, as well as Christina’s late cat Pixie.
“What's great is that none of it was forced. His love for them just kind of happened,” Christina recalls.
In 2018, Pixie was diagnosed with kidney disease and cancer. She lived for about a year after her diagnosis. During that time, Matthew and Christina provided everything they could for her – chemo treatments, blood transfusion, regular subcutaneous fluids at home, medications, the list goes on. They started an Instagram account called @pixsandrocks at the time, which is now @thecatsandcrew, to document Pixie's health struggles, and to highlight her incredible bond with Rockie.
“We learned there is an amazing community of cat lovers out there, willing to share stories and information with one another,” Christina says. “It was very helpful during a difficult time.”
Once Pixie’s fight was over, Christina and Matthew’s fight to help as many cats as they could began. They got more involved in the cat community on Instagram and found ways to work with rescues.
The couple adopted Apple, Mario, Evie and Winter in 2019. First was Apple, who came from the Garden State Cat Expo. Matthew and Apple locked eyes, and they couldn’t leave without her. She had been found by herself as a kitten on the streets of Brooklyn, New York.
Mario and Evie, who are brother and sister, came next. Matthew and Christina adopted them together from a woman who rescues cats in New Jersey. They had been found living in an abandoned garage with two siblings. Mario was bonded with his sister, and when Matthew and Christina met them, they instantly fell in love.
Winter was discovered via an Instagram post. He was semi-feral and had been living on the street in New Jersey. He was in rough shape.
“We knew he'd have a long way to go physically and mentally, but there was just something about the look in his eyes, and I couldn't get him out of my mind,” Christina recalls. “Working with him has been one of the biggest challenges but also one of the greatest rewards.”
Ellen came in 2020, also from a post on Instagram. She was only a couple of months old and had been found on Staten Island with her two brothers. At the time, Christina and Matthew were trying to find a friend for Winter who wouldn’t intimidate him because he was having trouble getting along with the other cats. When they brought Ellen home, it was instant love for Winter. The two have been inseparable ever since.
In 2021, Frankie, Alexander, and Amelia joined the gang. Frankie was Christina and Matthew’s very first foster fail (but she likes to call it a foster win). He was found close to where Christina and Matthew live in Westchester County, New York. He had an injured eye and leg and stayed with the crew before and after surgery.
“Despite his circumstances, he was the friendliest, happiest, and goofiest guy, and it was impossible not to love him,” Christina says.
Alexander and Amelia, who are brother and sister, were also foster wins. Both were found living on the streets of Long Island. Amelia came first and Alexander followed a couple of weeks later. They were feral kittens, and Christina and Matthew knew it would be difficult to get them adopted. Over time, they introduced them to the rest of The Cats and Crew, and they all became fast friends. And then there were nine!
What’s next for Christina, Matthew, and their crew? They are one of the first franchisees of The Happy Cat Hotel & Spa, a luxury, cat-only boarding and grooming facility. They will soon be opening a location in Westchester County. Christina is also training to become a Certified Feline Master Groomer and is in the process of earning a Veterinary Assistant Career Diploma.
“Not only will this allow us to earn a living by providing the highest level of care to people's cats, but it will provide us with more means to contribute to the cat rescue community,” she says.
And, the cat parents are finalizing the paperwork for Pixie’s Place, Inc., their very own nonprofit.
“Taking care of Pixie helped us realize fully that taking care of cats was not just a hobby for us, but our calling. Despite the stress and sadness, it was empowering to feel the kind of love we had for her, and to know we did everything we could to make her last moments on Earth peaceful and comfortable,” she says. “We are part of a rapidly growing group of people who understand that pets are members of the family, not property that's disposable."