SPRING HILL — At first, it was the blue eyes that drew her in.
But when Weeki Wachee resident Anne Thetard actually got to meet Noah, the 2-year-old cat's personality clinched the deal.
"He's an absolute doll. He's so sweet,'' she said.
Wednesday, Thetard became the answer to the prayers of the cat rescue group Home at Last Pet Adoptions, which needed a home for Noah with owners who understood his special needs.
The lynx-point Siamese mix has feline leukemia and has had to be isolated in the home of Dorothy Swanson, a Spring Hill woman who fosters cats and kittens for the rescue group.
Noah didn't like being isolated and his regular escapes were forcing Swanson to consider euthanasia if a home couldn't be found. Officials with Home at Last made a plea to the St. Petersburg Times to publish Noah's story earlier this week, and that's where Thetard first saw the young cat's striking eyes.
"I looked at that picture,'' she said. "I love Siamese with the blue eyes and the talking.''
Thetard and her husband, Dan, had two Abyssinian cats for nearly 17 years, but when they died four years ago, the couple decided to remain pet free. She joked that her husband didn't want to rank third behind the pets anymore.
But when he read the article Tuesday, he asked his wife why she hadn't called Swanson yet. That's when Thetard placed the call.
She has never stopped enjoying cats and served as a cat sitter in her neighborhood and helped care for neighborhood strays.
When Thetard visited Swanson's home, Noah took to her immediately. When she sat down on the floor and began playing with him, he was right beside her, rubbing against her and chasing his toys.
"It's our Noah miracle,'' Swanson said after Thetard took the cat home.
Swanson had raised Noah as a foster cat from 5 months of age to a year. Then he was adopted out to a woman in Pasco County. She had him declawed and he began to get out of her home.
Several months ago, he was found wandering in the Trinity area off State Road 54. A visit to a vet revealed a microchip, and the cat was returned to the rescue group and to Swanson. During his time in the wild, he acquired the leukemia, a disease fatal to cats.
After the article, she had several calls inquiring about Noah and even an offer of help from the local Humane Society. But the call from Thetard and the circumstances seemed to mesh with the cat's special needs.
Swanson said she usually has mixed feelings when a foster cat goes to its permanent home, but she wasn't feeling that way Wednesday. "This was his last option because of his personality and his getting out of his room,'' she said. "There was joy in it for me that overshadowed any sadness of losing him.''
Besides, now Noah lives close enough that she can visit.
After a short ride to Thetard's home — during which Noah loudly announced his displeasure with the car trip — the cat immediately made itself at home, exploring every room of the house and landing at her feet to sleep, Thetard said.
"I think he wore himself out,'' she said.
Barbara Behrendt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1434.