A Tale of Two Kitties

What has eight paws, wears formal attire and tugs at heartstrings? Kent State University employees in the Administrative Services Building and the Office of Institutional Advancement found the answer when they discovered two stray tuxedo kittens in separate locations and on separate occasions in Kent.

From paying veterinary bills to offering temporary homes and securing permanent homes, both offices did all they could to rescue the kittens.

Administrative Services Building Employees Save First Tuxedo Kitten

On Sept. 17, Jody Kovolyan, project coordinator for University Communications and Marketing, found a black tuxedo kitten near Stanton Middle School and brought it back to the Administrative Services Building. This began an officewide effort to care for the needy kitten.

When Kovolyan brought the kitten back to the office, Gina Harrell, special assistant for Corporate and Foundation Relations, offered to take it to Memorial Animal Hospital where she learned the kitten was a 4-week-old female and weighed only one-tenth of a pound. The kitten also had a torn lip, which the animal hospital said could be easily restored. Mindy Aleman, assistant vice president for Gift and Estate Planning, offered to take the kitten to the animal hospital to repair her lip and to care for her over the weekend.

“Everyone was really wonderful,” Aleman says. “They all put money in to help pay for her surgery. I was so touched by that. At that time, nobody knew if she was going to end up being adopted or if we were going to have to turn her over to the Humane Society.”

After taking the kitten home for the weekend, Aleman says she fell in love with her and decided to keep her. Aleman named her Lexie.

“I’ve had cats for a very long time, and they’re just wonderful to be with,” Aleman says. “Little Lexie is a delight.”

In addition to Lexie, Aleman has a second cat named Cleo who also was rescued.

Fraternity Circle Employees Save Second Tuxedo Kitten

Just a few weeks later, employees at the Office of Institutional Advancement discovered a second tuxedo kitten, this time near their office at Fraternity Circle.

Danielle Cordes, assistant director of advancement events, and one of her coworkers saw a kitten behind their building in the woods on a Tuesday. Over the next two days, Cordes and other Kent State employees tried to catch it.

“It was a whole office effort,” Cordes says. “Everyone was keeping an eye out for him and if anyone had any sightings of him, we’d get some food out.”

Cordes and her coworkers put out milk and wet cat food for the kitten after noticing it tried to eat the dirt because it was so hungry. On Wednesday, Cordes brought a cat carrier and was finally able to catch the kitten Thursday.

“I put the cat food in the back of the crate, and within 30 seconds, he walked right in and I snuck up behind him and slammed the door. That was it,” Cordes says.

Cordes then took the kitten to the vet and learned it was a male and weighed between two and three pounds. He was malnourished with a 105-degree fever, so the vet quarantined him for 14 days so he could heal.

“There were a couple people here who said they’d be interested in taking him, but I pretty much knew I would be keeping him,” Cordes says. “He’s now my newest addition, and he’s being introduced right now to my other critters.”

Cordes named her new kitten Tuxie and says he is still adjusting to living with her other pets. Cordes has a cat and a dog, both of which she also rescued. She rescued Lady, a Greyhound-Labrador mix, when she lived in Florida and found her cat, Meela, near College Towers.

“I found both my cats from the campus of Kent State University,” Cordes says. “They’re both Kent State cats. One is from College Towers and one is from Fraternity Circle.”

Employees Speculate Two Kittens are Related

When Aleman learned Cordes also found a tuxedo kitten earlier in the month, she couldn’t help but think the two were brother and sister.

“They look almost identical and the vets came up with the same age range. They just found that one earlier than I found Tuxie,” Cordes says. “We don’t know for sure if they’re from the same litter, but it’s a little odd that they’re the exact same age and look pretty darn similar.”

Aleman also agrees the two are likely brother and sister, but says there is no way of knowing for sure. Regardless of the kittens’ relationship, Aleman says she feels proud of her colleagues for how they handled the situation.

“This happy story shows you that the people at Kent State have great hearts,” Aleman says.