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Stephen Baumann

Englewood Sun Hearld 09/06/07
Stephen Baumann column: Home purrs with activity

 
There are cat people and there are cat people, and then there are CAT PEOPLE like Chrissy and Rick Kingston. In their 2,800-square-foot, three-bedroom house on Lakeview Lane in Englewood,
the Kingstons provide a refuge for  a lot of cats,more than 70 right now. They call it Puffy Paws Kitty Haven.
 
Here's what life at home is like: Kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty,
kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty,
kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty,
kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty,
kitty, kitty -- Chrissy and Rick -- kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty,
kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty,
kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty,
kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty.
 
You might think the Kingston household is a crowded, purring, furry mess. It's
not.The house is big enough, and the cats small enough, that everyone's got more than enough room to stretch out, which is how cats spend much of their  day anyhow.
 
Chrissy also is a compulsive cleaner who spends at least two hours a  day vacuuming and cleaning house when she's not working. When she is working, she cleans houses.
 
"I work very, very hard," Chrissy said. "You can see, the place is immaculate."
It is. Plus, with all of Chrissy's feline-infused decor -- cat pictures and paintings, cat statues, cat pillows, cat covers, cat knickknacks- you get a Where's Waldo sensation when wandering from room to room.
 
Puffy Paws Kitty Haven is a nonprofit, no-kill shelter for unwanted cats. Since
1997, the Kingstons have taken in cats with physical, emotional and behavioral problems. Their motto is: "Puffy Paws - Where Kitties Rule."
 
A cat named Booboo got it all started 10 years ago. "After that, we just started
taking them off the street," Chrissy said. A couple of cats here, a couple there, a couple dozen from an area cat shelter  being closed down.
 
The family grew. Booboo's still with them, plus Mookie, Muffie, Dinky, Twiggy, Hank the three-legged cat,  Snookins, Sassy, Crystal,  Sheeba the club-footed cat, Taffy, Sassy, Cathy, Smores and Snowy, etc.
 
"Our cats are what would be termed unadoptable in other places," said Rick, 44.
The Kingstons turned their passion for rescuing cats into what Rick called a
"mom and pop" cat haven.
 
Puffy Paws became a nonprofit organization last December to accept donations and
continue to fund the rescue operation
 
It’s not cheap.There are bags and bags of cat food, hundreds of pounds of kitty
litter each week, antibiotics and veterinarian bills. All cats are spayed or neutered."We don't believe in adding to the surplus population," said Chrissy, 43.
 
Puffy Paws will not continue to grow ad infinitum, though. They know their
limits. "We're not hoarders," Chrissy said.
"We want to find homes for the cats who are adoptable."
"One in, one out," is their philosophy, so they've stopped taking in cats until
they can match some of the current brood with new families."We know what we can handle," Rick said. "A good haven knows when to say 'no.' We're at our limit."
 
Sixteen cats are now available for adoption from Puffy Paws. A few adoptions are
pending. The Kingstons are redoing their garage as a quarantine area and studio for
public access TV spots. A comedy night is being planned as a fundraiser.
 
"These cats are our home," Chrissy said. "We're pretty normal. We just love
cats." To see more about the Kingstons' operation, check out their Web site,
www.puffypawskittyhaven.com



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