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Cat Adopters Looking To Thank Young Newtown Rescuer From 2012



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South Norwalk residents Michele Giusti and her son, Alec, adopted their cat “Blacks” eight years ago from a young boy in Newtown who found him abandoned in the woods. Today, they hope to reconnect with their beloved pet’s rescuer to thank him for his good deed.

In November 2012, the Giusti family was ready to add a new member to their family after their white Persian cat Diamond passed away, at the age of 20, two years prior.

The day Alec turned 6 years old, the duo traveled 45 minutes to Sandy Hook to adopt a free kitten for his birthday, after seeing a posting on Craigslist.

“When we got there and first saw our adoptee, he was more on the cat side than the kitten,” Michele said. “[He was] around 14 weeks of age (maybe a little more) and very, very skittish. It was obvious the cat was not used to being around people.”

Once they were there, they learned that the cat had been feral and rescued by a boy who they believe was around 12 or 13 years old at the time, named Salvatore.

“I remember his name because it means ‘Saver’ in Italian. Lifeguards wear the name on their shirts in Italy,” Michele said.

She continued, “He found and rescued an entire litter of kittens born in the woods behind his house — an impressive accomplishment for a boy his age. This would have occurred in the summer of 2012, mid-August, I believe.”

Salvatore was able to find homes for all the cats, including one he kept, with the Giusti family’s adoptee being the last to find its forever home.

“My son, age 6 at the time, named the cat Blackie, soon to be known as Blackie Cougar Melloncat. But after a few months, he renamed him Blacks, with the full name of Blacks McClaw,” Michele said.

Blacks has been living with Michele and Alec in their condo as an indoor cat, after a few sneaky occasions where he slipped out the door and brought back live birds as tokens of gratitude to his family.

“After he brought in the second bird, which spent the better part of a day in the coat closet, Blacks was definitely no longer allowed to go outside,” Michele said.

While he still has the insatiable desire to get past them as they go out the door, the family wants to keep him protected from predators.

“Another reason for keeping him inside is the routine spraying of weed killer on the grounds at the condo. It’s an unfortunate situation, where exposure could be an issue, and I don’t want Blacks ending up like the other animals (squirrel and bird) who died last month on the property and turned into little tiny skeletons over the summer,” Michele said.

However, Blacks does get to flex his feral cat tendencies through his love of water.

Having originally experienced life in the woods with a nearby stream, Blacks, Michelle says, likes water “to an unusual level for a cat, often dipping a paw or tail into the tub or insisting we turn on the faucet for him to play, so he can put his head under the water.”

He also enjoys eating any sort of fresh cut grass, from cat grass to sweet grass to cat mint.

Today, Blacks is strong and healthy, even resembling a cougar in his family’s eyes with his large paws and thick, shiny coat.

Michele and Alec love Blacks for who he is, whether he is discovering their hands are what controls the pen light, his stepping on the computer keyboard while they are working, or his going around breaking glasses.

“His favorite glasses to break are the ones with the cat designs on them (eight out of twelve, so far),” she reported.

They also delight in his everyday acrobatics of hopping on top of the refrigerator or the tops of open doors, no matter how narrow a perch.

“Blacks is a super cat, and my son and I are both a little in awe and a little afraid of him. He still has a wild side. We know to be cautious. We pay attention to his ears and tail. A tail twitch is a back off signal and ears back mean back off now,” Michele explained. “It took years to build a trust with him, so he’d let us cuddle with him the way we do now. Now Blacks will let us pet his belly while he purrs. Not all the time, but once in a while.”

The family’s extra time and attention to Blacks has paid off and they are happy to have had him over the years and not rehomed him.

Looking To Say Thank You

Michele had hoped to keep in touch with the family that rescued Blacks, but shortly after adopting him she had to switch phones and was not able to save their phone number or address.

With Alec turning 14 later this year, Michele wants to find a way to reach out to the young rescuer — who she estimates is around 20 years old — and his mom “to express our gratitude and offer a photo and story about Blacks McClaw.”

She added, “We also want to let the Newtown boy Salvatore know that we took good care of this cat. It wasn’t always easy. Blacks no longer plays like Kato in the Peter Sellers’ Pink Panther movies, laying [to] wait until he can launch a sneak attack on us… He isn’t completely domesticated yet, but that is one of the personality traits we admire.”

If the family who rescued Blacks the cat is reading this and is interested in connecting with the Giusti family, please e-mail alissa@thebee.com.

Blacks the cat was adopted by Michele Giusti and her son, Alec, of South Norwalk, from a Newtown family in 2012. Michele is hoping to connect with the boy who rescued Blacks from the woods to thank him for saving their beloved pet and his littermates. —photo courtesy Michele Giusti
A young Blacks the cat buddies up to a bunch of plush toys at his home in South Norwalk. —photo courtesy Michele Giusti
Blacks the cat snuggles in the closet on Friday, September 4. —photo courtesy Michele Giusti
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