Greater Media Newspapers’ Circulation Department Steps Up for Homeless Kittens
May 18, 2014
By Keith Heumiller
Before moving to Sayreville, NJ, in 2010, the Greater Media Newspapers’ Circulation Department operated out of an aging building in nearby East Brunswick. Between its open truck bays and some holes in the warehouse walls, the building had developed a bit of a mouse problem.
When even a contracted rodent service didn’t work, Circulation Director Rich Klypka says the department turned to an unlikely source for a solution.
“Debbie Parana, our circulation manager, had a friend who suggested that we borrow her cat,” Klypka said. “The cat, Luna, was apparently a great mouser. So we borrowed Luna for a bit and, interestingly enough, we didn’t have a mouse problem anymore.”
Over time, Luna became a de facto employee of the Circulation Department. For years now she has stood guard over the warehouse, scanning it for intruders each day after the newspaper carriers leave and the bay doors are shut.
In recent years, however, Luna has had to share the spotlight with a few other furry felines. The same holes in the East Brunswick warehouse wall that let in the mice also let in a feral cat, who had a litter of four kittens beneath a decommissioned printing press in 2009.
Not wanting to send the kittens back out into the cold, the Circulation Department started networking with friends and relatives to find them homes. Within two weeks three of the four had been adopted.
Customer Service Representative Bonnie Elia had found a local family to adopt the fourth, but the kitten was returned when the family learned their son was allergic. Another woman then took the kitten home but discovered he didn’t get along with her older cat. Finally, Elia decided to take him herself.
“I figured it was meant to be,” she said. “His name is Rusty, and he’ll turn five in April. He does show a bit of his wild streak now and again, but he is just such a blast. I swear he thinks he’s a dog.”
Six months later the mother cat had another litter, and staffers found homes for all three kittens within 24 hours.
“I think everyone in the Circulation Department just loves cats,” said Klypka. “I was raised with dogs, but I’m a huge animal lover. Cats are just so interesting, with their behavior and the way they play and interact. And their skills, if you will, are just tremendous.”
One female cat, who had been living in a storage container a few lots away, showed up outside the office one day with her five newborn kittens.
“We just don’t want the kittens living outside in this kind of weather, so we asked around if people would want them,” Klypka said. “A couple people said they would, so we tried snagging a couple.”
The department took in three of the “tuxedo” kittens and have since found a home for one. The other two may have already found their forever home.
Now 11, Luna has been battling some health issues in recent years, including a number of tumors that had to be removed in 2011. When word got out about her difficulties, staffers throughout the Greater Media Newspapers division rallied to raise money for her treatment.
Her surgery was successful, and Luna fought bravely through a difficult recovery, ultimately returning to work and resuming her duties as warehouse watch-cat. In January, however, Luna was diagnosed with cancer.
Considering her age, the aggressiveness of the cancer, and the significant strain placed on her by the last operation, surgery is no longer an option.
As they try to make Luna’s remaining months as enjoyable as possible, department members say they are considering keeping the two new kittens around to fill the hole she leaves behind.