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Capital Cats Find Home with Windy City Native
April 11, 2012
Joy Airaudi is no stranger to animal rescue. She got her first cat in 1990—Zoing, born to a pregnant stray that Airuadi convinced a law school classmate to take in. Seven years later, while working for the Chicago Housing Authority, she rescued a mother cat and her five newborns from an abandoned apartment in the Cabrini Green housing project. She kept one kitten, Chloe, and found homes for the rest.
But Airaudi had never adopted an animal from a shelter…until she moved to the DC area from Chicago in 2010. When Chloe died unexpectedly several weeks after the move, Airaudi knew she needed another cat in her life…or perhaps even two, so they could keep each other company when she traveled for work.
A friend referred her to the League, and she showed up one day looking for two young cats who would be with her for a long time. Shortly after walking into the cat adoption room, she found herself “chosen” by two feline residents, Jersey and Grey, who at 6 and 8 months old, respectively, seemed like a good match. But apparently knowing that “good” isn’t always good enough, the two cats quickly went about ingratiating themselves with this potential adopter. “When I crouched down to pet another cat, Grey parked himself under my legs and purred like crazy, and when I picked Jersey up he buried his head in my armpit,” Airaudi recalls.
And the demand for her attention worked. The two unrelated lookalikes went home with Airaudi to begin their new lives with new names: Alex and Ivan after Dostoevsky’s brothers Karamazov.
About a week after Airaudi adopted Alex and Ivan, she was laid off from her non-profit job in DC and decided to move back to Chicago where she’d lived for 20 years. She found a job and an apartment and returned to the Windy City, where Alex and Ivan quickly endeared themselves to her friends and family. “They are so friendly and such attention seekers that every visitor pets them both at the same time,” Airaudi says. “Ivan likes to be held so much that people’s arms get tired before he’s ready to get down.”
And, she adds, both cats go crazy over toys on wires or wands, leaping through the air after them. Otherwise, Alex prefers furry mice, and Ivan likes plastic rings which he occasionally fetches. They both enjoy wrestling and watching the many birds in the trees outside her windows. “They’re fun and entertaining but also very affectionate,” Airaudi says fondly. “They’ve added so much love and happiness to my life.”