The late Vernon Snyder and his wife, Donnis, always befriended cats and dogs. Vernon died in August 2019 at 91. Donnis, 81, misses him but has 10 outside cats and six indoor cats to keep her company.
“It gives me a reason to get up in the morning,” she said.
The Snyders moved to Aulne in 2004. One year, they found a cat in their breezeway when they returned from a winter trip to Texas. They took her in and named her Missy.
When a neighbor moved away, they adopted Bella. When she had kittens, one became an indoor cat, named Calli. One very cold winter, they found a cat that was shivering in the cold outside.
“We can’t leave her out in the cold,” Vernon said. “Let’s bring her in.”
They named her Jazzy.
A cat they named Little Mama wandered into their yard and spent most of her time outdoors. She had kittens in their garage. One survived and was named Paris. Both Little Mama and Paris have died. Little Mama was 14 years old.
Another indoor cat, Penny, was born to Itsy Bitsy, an outside cat.
Donnis’s youngest cat is Tinkerbell, less than a year old.
She also has a dog, Parady, that they found at Caring Hands Humane Society in Newton. They had taken a cat there. When Vernon saw the dog, he said, “Oh, honey, she’s got the prettiest eyes.”
Vernon still was hurting from losing his therapy dog, Cooper, who was killed by a pit bull.
Donnis doesn’t know Parady’s breeding. The dog was rescued from the streets in Newton. Parady gets along well with her cats, she said.
The indoor cats have their special rooms for sleeping. Bella and Penny sleep in an upstairs bedroom, and the other four sleep in a back bedroom. Each cat has its own bed.
“They know when it’s time to go to bed,” Donnis said. “They get a treat, and then they go to bed.”
She closes their bedroom doors for the night.
“I don’t want them messing with my plants,” she said.
Parady, the dog, sleeps in her computer room. She is recovering from a leg injury.
Donnis takes all the animals to a veterinarian to get the necessary shots. The cats look well cared for. They get canned cat food in the evening and have free access to dry food. The outside cats sometimes get table scraps.
Donnis never lacks for a close companion. The cats all have their times every day to sit on her lap and luxuriate in her loving pats while she talks to them.
They are a lucky bunch of animals.