Turk the cat arrived at the ASPCA in early April after being rescued by a Good Samaritan. Scarred on his face and legs from life on the streets, he was also suffering from an ear infection and ringworm. At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, the five-year-old, black-and-white cat spent more than two months undergoing treatment. He also had three teeth extracted.
Then, on June 23—78 days after he arrived at the ASPCA—Turk was made available for adoption. And within the hour, he was on his way home with Julie B. and her boyfriend, Jason, of Hamilton Heights in Manhattan.
“We were finishing up our visit, not sure if we were going to leave with a pet, when we overheard the staff and volunteers talking about a cat who had just become available for adoption and was ‘an absolute love,’” remembers Julie. Jason asked to meet the former street-fighting feline, and the moment they opened his cage, Turk begged for attention and flopped onto his back.
“We found the combination of his big, jowly, mob-boss tough looks and unbelievably affectionate personality irresistible, so we took him home on the spot,” Julie says.
Although she never had pets before Turk, Julie admits, “I’ve become that lady who’s obsessed with her cat. He is the friendliest, most affectionate cat I’ve ever encountered. When people visit, he immediately wants to be their best friend and coerces them into giving him belly rubs. He still has the scars from his street-fighting days, but we can’t imagine our little love bug being aggressive at all. He’s a dream companion.”
Animal care technician Laurie Daniels, who helped care for Turk at the ASPCA, recalls how he was “insatiable” and loved to be touched. “He seemed to have no limits—no moments when he wanted to be alone,” Laurie says. “And what a heart he has! He is the quintessential diamond in the rough; an absolute treasure down on his luck who only needed a bit of compassion to get back on his feet.”
Julie, a singer and actress, and Jason, a jazz pianist, renamed their new feline friend Thelonious Monk after the pianist and composer. They call him Monkey for short.
“We wanted Monkey to feel like he fits in here, and it seems like he does,” Julie says. “In fact, he’s already composed a few avant-garde, free-jazz style tunes walking across the piano keys toward his window perch. And he likes to sing along with me in his Louis Armstrong growl when I practice, though admittedly he may be telling me to shut up!”