Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series that features Alle-Kiski Valley people and the notable things that they do.
A pair of Alle-Kiski Valley women formed a friendship from their fondness for helping cats.
Patricia Presutti of Springdale and Monica George of New Kensington have known each other nearly a decade.
They met at a fundraiser for Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley, a no-kill shelter along Linden Avenue in New Kensington. Presutti was on its board of directors.
“She has a big passion for the cause, and I kind of reeled her in to what I was doing,” Presutti said.
The pair would be involved in multiple fundraisers and shelter activities through the years.
George became a community outreach volunteer and Presutti the fundraising coordinator.
A call from a former New Kensington business four years ago would change the team dynamic.
Someone alerted George to several kittens and their mother behind a dumpster.
“It was summer,” George recalled. “It was 90 degrees out and flies everywhere. They would have died. They were so little and we had no equipment then. I just called (Pat) out of the blue.”
George and Presutti put the cats in a carrier and transported them to the shelter for care.
From then on, they became Animal Protectors’ “trap, neuter and return team.”
Someone would call the shelter with a cat situation, and they would try to help the person and the animals.
Oftentime they would trap cats and transport them either to the shelter or a local clinic for treatment.
Presutti said they have helped about 200 cats so far. She said patience is key to what they do, as well as introducing cats to new environments.
“Sometimes people think they’re feral, and they’re just a little skittish,” she said. “Cats do not like change. People have to have patience with them and have go to slow.”
George, 60, finds time to volunteer at the shelter while working as a hotel banquet server in Pittsburgh.
Presutti, 69, is a retired Springdale High School German teacher — who is allergic to cats.
“When I pet them, my hands get bright red (and) I get stuffed up, but it never gets worse from there,” she said. “The more you’re around them, the less they bother you.”
Presutti has 27 cats in her home, including three of her own. The rest are either foster pets or ready for adoption. She said they get along with her three dogs and three birds.
George has nearly 10 cats, including two fosters: “Flash,” a cat found in New Kensington who needed a rear leg amputated; and Kris, a kitten released to the shelter this past Christmastime.
“It’s a passion for the homeless, the abandoned and the abused,” George said about her love of cats. “If we don’t speak up for them then there’s nobody. When I look into the eyes of animals, I see angels looking back at me. I don’t just see a cat.”
Presutti said it’s very important people who have cats or feed strays get them spayed and neutered to help control the pet population.
A female cat can have between one to three litters a year — with one to eight kittens per litter.
The shelter has several upcoming fundraisers, including Pins for Pets bowling party at Nesbit’s Lanes, 3501 Leechburg Road, Plum.
More information is available at animalprotectors.net/events or call 724-339-7388.