By BRADEN LAMMERS
When a Charlestown couple went to J.B. Ogle Animal Shelter in Jeffersonville on Thursday, their inclination was to find a kitten for their 3-year-old daughter.
But two massive furballs resting in a makeshift pen in the lobby of the animal shelter changed their minds.
Alan Casto and his wife Robin instead adopted a nearly 30 pound gray cat and a 36 pound white cat, named Smokey and The Bandit, respectively.
“I basically asked, ‘what are the cats least likely to get adopted?’” Alan said. “And that’s why I chose those two.”
“We probably would’ve taken one, but we just couldn’t separate them,” Robin said.
Alan explained that the couple already has a 15-year-old Siamese cat and their daughter, Angel, was wanting another feline. When the family came into the animal shelter, they were brought a kitten, but Alan noticed the two robust felines in the lobby of the animal shelter. He said he talked to the shelter’s employees and figured the cats would have a hard time getting out of the shelter.
“I said, ‘let’s just go ahead and adopt these guys,’” he said.
J.B. Ogle Animal Shelter Director Sarah Green was pleased that the 2-year-old cats were adopted. She said it can be a challenge getting animals in their condition into a loving home.
“I think a lot of people look for kittens ... adult cats have great personalities and are equally deserving of homes and sometimes get overlooked,” she said. “Trying to go no kill [at the shelter] — adult cats like this — I don’t want to venture to guess what old standards and practices are, but I know we try to do everything we can.”
In the past, the girth of the two felines may have proved to be a bigger problem for Smokey and The Bandit.
“We didn’t have a big enough kennel to fit them into, so they got a habitat out here [in the lobby],” Green said. “If they couldn’t fit in the kennel, that might have been it for them. There are other options, like hanging out in a habitat in the lobby. Sometimes you just have to make other arrangements.”
The Castos said they appreciated the care and time the shelter offered to the animals, as they cited bad experiences at other shelters in their past.
“When I came in here, I could tell these people love what they do and they love the animals,” Alan said.
Loving the animals too much may have been what led to their excessive weight. Green said the cats were probably overfed through free feeding or were given human food.
“I couldn’t believe it when I picked up that cat,” Alan said. “That is a massive cat. We feel like we definitely got our adoption fee-worth,” he said with a laugh. “We ended up adopting two [cats] and getting like six.”
“It’s definitely bigger than her,” Robin said, comparing The Bandit to her 3-year-old daughter.
For Smokey and The Bandit, plenty of petting is in the future, and maybe a little less food.
“We’ll probably have to put them on a diet ... but like anything, we’ll spoil them rotten,” Alan said.