Happy Tails: Mittens and Snow (Now Cleo)

When Elliott Bay looked into Mittens’ exquisite blue eyes at an Annex Cat Rescue adopt-a-thon, he was charmed.The catch was that Mittens could only be adopted with his best friend Snow. Concerned that he wouldn’t be able to handle the demands of two cats, Elliott only planned to take one of them home.

Goh Iromoto is the cats’ former owner. Snow was completely emaciated when she turned up on his street. “She was most likely born and raised on the street as opposed to someone having lost or [abandoning] her,” Goh speculates. “Eventually I put out a bowl of food because I got the sense that she didn’t have a home.”

It wasn’t long before Goh and his girlfriend started fostering Snow. After a few weeks, when nobody was calling about her, they decided to take her in permanently. Snow became fast friends with Goh’s cat, Mittens.

Mittens and Cleo settling in

“I definitely saw the value in having two cats versus one,” Goh says. He had to make the hard decision to put the cats up for adoption when he and his girlfriend split up. “Their bonding and their friendship is comforting to see.”

It was evident to ACR as well that Snow and Mittens would be happiest if they were kept together.

Elliott wasn’t only concerned about his ability to care for two cats. His home is also the head office for his business, Real Programming for Kids. At the time, he was considering hiring a new employee who had a severe cat allergy. Fortunately, Elliott had brought his friend, Annie, to the adopt-a-thon, who convinced him to choose the cats instead.

“How can you put an employee ahead of having cats?” she asked him.

“If it wasn’t for Annie’s aggression, I might have another employee now,” says Elliot, “but at this point in my life, I can’t imagine not having cats.”

Mittens and Cleo at work

These days, Mittens and Snow, who is now called Cleo, rule Elliott’s home office. Many of Elliott’s employees come from cat families and love having the cats around while they are working. Elliott believes that the cats calm the team and actually make them more productive. Elliott, like Goh, now sees the beauty in owning two cats.

“I think I overestimated the effort it would require to have two cats,” he says. “It’s not that much different from one, and in some ways it’s easier because they keep each other company – they’re either playing, stalking or cleaning each other.”

Elliott is thankful that he lucked out with two such gorgeous creatures and credits Goh for doing such a good job with them. He just has one lingering worry:

“I hope they don’t prevent me from socializing. It’s kind of like, who needs a girlfriend when I’ve got these cats? They’re just so good.”

— Leslie Sinclair

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