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A Siamese Story

Retired attorney Darlene DenHollander was a dog person most of her life. Nevertheless, about ten years ago, she decided to expand her horizons and explore the world of cats. Worried she might be allergic, she decided to adopt a Siamese because she’d read that they don’t trigger allergies.

Darlene is a cat person now! In the decade since she began her feline journey, she’s rescued six Siamese in need of homes. Knowing that Siamese kittens are snapped up quickly, she only rescues adults and seniors.

After four beloved kitties had enjoyed a happy life with Darlene, passing on with old age or health issues, she once again went in search of a Siamese roommate. Browsing Petfinder, she spotted a pair who took her fancy—Tater and Purdee, a bonded (though not related) pair of males. She contacted Cat by Cat Inc., which had listed the boys for adoption, and let them know she has a lot of experience with Siamese.

Cathy Dagonese, Cat by Cat’s adoption coordinator, explained that Tater and Purdee had belonged to a couple who had moved to an assisted-living facility that doesn’t allow pets. She told Darlene that the pair was strongly bonded and couldn’t be separated, and Darlene was happy to take them together.

Darlene lives in the Township of Washington, New Jersey, a six-hour drive from the cats’ foster home in East Amherst. She stocked the back of her car with a carrier large enough to hold two good-sized cats, a litter box, food, and water. “They were great travelers!” Darlene said. “Once we got home, they stayed in a spare room for the first few days while they got acclimated, and now they have the run of the place. They believe they own the townhouse and are permitting me to stay!”

In addition to finding a forever home, both cats got new names to celebrate their new lives. During her years as a corporate attorney, Darlene spent a lot of time in Japan—and her love of Japanese culture is reflected in the names her new friends. Tater, a seal point and the youngest of the pair, became Teru, meaning “brilliance, high achiever.” Purdee, with his blue-point coloring, is now Tsuki, which means “moon,” because of his bluish-silver color.

Darlene explained that Siamese cats’ points develop as they age—they are mostly white when born. She added that as breeding preferences changed over time, their original cross-eyed trait has become rare—but Teru and Tsuki are both cross-eyed. Their heads are wedge-shaped rather than round, another modern preference.

Soon after Teru and Tsuki moved in, Darlene realized that something was wrong in Teru’s mouth. It turned out he had severely infected teeth and needed dental surgery. He had seven teeth pulled and was in the clinic for two days. When he returned, smelling like the vet’s office, Tsuki didn’t recognize him—he didn’t smell like Teru! Tsuki growled and swatted, much to poor Teru’s confusion. But once the clinic smell wore off, their bond was as strong as ever.

Both cats are doing well now, and both are gaining weight—they have two more pounds to go before they reach their ideal 10 pounds. “They are very people-oriented,” Darlene said. “They’re like little dogs—they follow me around the house. They adapted quickly!”

Always affectionate, Teru and Tsuki sleep with Darlene and love to cuddle. They are talkative, and you can hear them purring across the room.

“I can’t imagine living life without a fur kid,” Darlene says. “I am so grateful to Cat by Cat and their wonderful volunteers.”


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