Millionaire devotes his life to the cats no one else wants. Tue, 27 Jan 2009 world news
It took Jonathan Rosenberg 51 years and one wildly successful dotcom career to find his true calling. Mr Rosenberg gave up computers for cats – somewhere around 100 of them – at a swanky cat sanctuary he built in New Jersey. He has loved cats for years, and he has put his money where his heart is. Mr Rosenburg estimates he has spent over US$2 million on the project, but is not sure of the exact amount. The sanctuary is named for one of the great loves of his life – Tabby – his cat of 15 years who died in 1999. Rosenberg never met a cat he did not like, and some of these are tough to love, like Jackie. “She’ll act friendly,” he says. “You can pet her for five or 10 seconds and then she’ll go after you.” All the cats here come from shelters and were scheduled to be euthanised. Not all of them are troubled, but a lot are. Mozart has what is politely called urinary issues. Tashi’s back legs do not work and he gets physical therapy, and Star is actually allergic to people. Obviously it can be hard to find homes for some of these cats, but it can be done. About 550 cats have been adopted from the sanctuary – 100-150 of them so-called “special needs” cases. But all of them will live out their lives here if they are not adopted, with medical care and love, even if they do not really want it. “My heart really goes out to the cats like these,” says Mr Rosenburg, “that I shouldn’t say no one else wants, but for the most part no one else wants, or cares about. Those are the ones I really love and care for.” And while caring for cats, Mr Rosenburg and his wife Sharon were touched – by humans. “The kind of cats they adopt, the kind of care they’re willing to give, you know, they could take this young cat but they’re willing to take this cat with heart disease, or this diabetic, and care for it knowing its going to break their hearts. It’s amazing, to me that’s amazing.” It never hurts to be reminded animals with some of the worst problems can bring out the best in people.