After 78-year-old Rosemary Milbury’s Siamese cat named Pleasure died last November, the Waltham resident sorely missed her cherished companion of 18 years.
“It was terrible,” said Milbury, becoming emotional as she recalled how the blue-eyed feline would sit in her lap for hours on end. “I cried all the time, wishing she was here. She was my baby.”
Amanda Silveira of Brighton never met Pleasure, but the caregiver with Needham-based FirstLight HomeCare of West Suburban Boston said Milbury was still grieving when she began keeping her company last December and helping with meal preparation, light housekeeping, and other non-medical tasks.
“Pleasure sounded like an awesome cat, and I hated to see Rosemary so upset,” said Silveira, who is a fourth-year doctoral student in clinical psychology at William James College in Newton. “I’ve lost pets, too, and I can empathize with how they take a piece of you with them. I didn’t want Rosemary to be sad and lonely.”
Over the next few months, Silveira spent considerable personal time researching and following up on dozens of leads for purebred Siamese cats. Finally, she spotted an online ad placed by a father in Brooklyn, N.Y. whose son was allergic to their young cat.
After calling the owner with Milbury’s blessing, Silveira and her boyfriend, Mark Pumphret, drove four hours each way to pick up and deliver the cat to her new home.
“I was so excited,” Milbury said. “I wanted her right out of the carrier!”
After a short adjustment period, Milbury and Lea – whose name is taken from Pleasure – have become best friends. Lea enjoys lounging in her cat condo, perching on the back of the sofa, and playing with plastic bands and her growing collection of cat toys. When she hears Silveira at the door, Milbury said she “goes crazy.”
“She makes me laugh,” Milbury added, “which is what I need.”
While Silveira calls herself Lea’s godmother, Milbury says Silveira is also deserving of honorary recognition.
“Do they have an award for this?” Milbury asked. “There ought to be one for someone who does something so special.”
Cindy Cantrell may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.