When Benedict Cumbercat, named after the beloved actor, first came to his rescuer’s house, he wasn’t doing very well. Ellen Carozza, a veterinary technician who has cared for countless cats that she’s come across in her line of work, took one look at sick Benedict (called Benny, for short) and knew she had to have him.
“The moment I saw his scrawny hot mess of a body, I wanted him,” Carozza told The Dodo. “I fell in love even with the snotty nose and his horrible eye infection. I knew he was supposed to be mine.”
Little did she know, Benny would come to return the favor tenfold by helping to care for the kittens that Carozza brought home later. According to Carozza, Benny has so far fostered dozens of kittens by being the perfect foster dad and cuddling all his babies. As his rescuer brings home a box of kittens at a time, Benny constantly has his hands full but he doesn’t mind.
“Benny is a natural with the babies,” Carozza said. “I don’t know if it was due to us being very hands-on with him and sharing the routines, but every box of kittens I brought home he had to see what was in it. It was like a treat. He actually gets very depressed when we don’t have kittens. I’d like to think he is returning the favor we gave him a few years ago.”
Carozza had no idea that the cat she rescued years ago would wind up rescuing her and all the babies she brings home, but she had an inkling after rescuing previous cats that helped when they were needed. One kitten that needed extra special attention from Benny was a little girl named Winifred.
Winnie was born extremely small, about half of what she should, along with her brother and they were both rejected by their mother because they were unlikely to survive. Winnie’s brother wound up dying before Carozza got her hands on her and brought her home. After facing so much trauma, it was unlikely that the tiny girl would make it and many feared she would meet the same fate as her brother.
Thankfully, Carozza is equipped with an incubator and the knowledge of how to hand-feed babies around-the-clock to keep them healthy and growing. Unfortunately, her cat parent abilities are lacking and that’s where Benny comes in. Carozza told The Dodo,
“Benny’s role is comfort and socializing. Having another cat to snuggle into and not a stuffed toy 24/7 does wonders for their mental well-being.”
Kittens that don’t have their own mom (or dad) to care for them are given a fake snuggle cat mom that has a heartbeat to keep them feeling like they’re with their mom. However, as Carozza pointed out,
“It doesn’t purr. It doesn’t clean you. It doesn’t help you to be a cat. [Benny] fills those gaps in.”
Thanks to Benny’s expert dad and cuddling skills, Winnie was able to get healthy and strong enough to be sent her forever home at Carozza’s sister’s house. Though there are other cats and a dog living at the residence, the 4 month old kitten holds her own just like her dad Benny taught her to.
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