Mozart was dumped at the Mann Music Center and then thrown out of the outdoor music facility, but he is a real sweetheart who will make a perfect companion for some music lover. (Photo by Brenda Malinics)

Mozart was dumped at the Mann Music Center and then thrown out of the outdoor music facility, but he is a real sweetheart who will make a perfect companion for some music lover. (Photo by Brenda Malinics)

by Brenda Malinics

There are always those animals that reach into the depths of your heart a little deeper or a little stronger than most. Mozart is one of those animals.

Mozart is a handsome, young, confident, curious and happy-go-lucky male cat who found his way to the Mann Music Center this summer. He was likely a “dump” — once owned by people who moved or decided that they no longer wanted a pet, so they threw the animal outside to fend for himself. I liken that experience to a human being dropped into a foreign country with no currency, no contacts, no shelter, no food and not being able to speak the language. A dumped animal feels the same fear and stress as any human would under those circumstances.

Being intuitive and creative, Mozart found his way to the Mann Center, where he discovered he could enjoy shelter and even scrapes of food after the visitors left. Mozart, being a friendly kind of guy, enjoyed seeing all the people and experiencing all the stimulation that occurred nightly. He especially loved the music. It made him relax and feel calm and allowed him to forget his troubles for a little while. He liked the music so much that he decided he should join the musicians on stage.

Mozart loves attention from humans, so it suited him just fine to walk around the stage during performances and while the crew was setting up for big events. Mozart developed a fan following, but not everyone thought it was a good idea to allow a cat to compete with the musicians. So Mozart was evicted again. A rescue was called because no one wanted to take Mozart to a shelter, where he would moist likely be killed, like the 7 out of 10 cats who are killed daily in shelters.

Mozart liked being the center of attention at my house, but my very insecure resident male cat did not like Mozart, so Mozart had to stay in a room with some kittens while we tried to find him a permanent home. After about a month, Mozart started tilting his head, and at first I thought that he and kittens might have been playing too roughly, but then I saw that his ear was red and had some discharge. I started treating him for an ear infection, and that’s when I noticed that he had a broken canine.

So many strays have broken teeth either from being kicked or from foreign objects in the food they quickly eat. I suspected his tooth was causing the tilt, so I made an appointment for Mozart to have a dental exam. While Mozart was under sedation, the vet looked into his ear and discovered that Mozart had a polyp in his inner ear. He would need to see a specialist to see if it could be removed and at what cost.

This is where doing rescue work gets tricky and often very sad because one must weigh the cost of helping, on limited resources, one cat in need versus helping many cats in need. However, Mozart was young and so trusting and happy; he needed to see a specialist. So off we went to VSEC (Veterinary Specialty Emergency Clinic), where Mozart charmed the vet and her assistant.

When the vet left the room, Mozart jumped from the exam table onto the comfortable chair and sprawled out, as relaxed as could be. The barking dogs did not bother him or the loud noises outside. The vet took his photo when she entered and said that no patient ever greeted her so relaxed in her chair. Knowing that Mozart needed a home, she sent his photo to a few friends. She too was now smitten with Mozart. It is impossible not to be.

And being under Mozart’s charm was a good thing because the vet decided to do X-rays on the spot rather than inconvenience him by having him return at another time. We left Mozart there after signing consent forms to do surgery if it was possible to remove the polyp. Many hours later, the vet called to say that the polyp was very large and had grown into Mozart’s eardrum and detached it.

Mozart was now deaf in that ear and possibly both. We’ll know more when the swelling goes down. He came home in one of those uncomfortable Elizabethan collars and with pain meds and antibiotics. The kittens in Mozart’s room are still afraid of him in his strange-looking collar, and he is still bumping into things.

But if it is even possible, Mozart seems happier and more playful than before. He’s wrestling with the kittens and jumping on his cat tree to settle in and watch the birds outside. Mozart was uncomfortable for a long time, but cats hide their pain so skillfully that it is easy to overlook a serious ailment.

Mozart is hoping that there is someone out there who will love him, even if he can’t hear anyone calling or talking to him. Mozart will never hear the music at the Mann Center again, but his heart still sings, and his eyes still dance, especially when his wet food is served with his antibiotics. Mozart is one of those cats who will charm you and love you and be your loyal friend. If you want to meet Mozart or any of his roommates who are also seeking homes, please call 215-872-1636 or visit