Mr. Sea Crest is a lovable feral cat who lived for at least eight years at Sea Crest on the Ocean, a resort on Napeague. That is, until he was hurt and did everything in his power to let the people taking care of him know that he needed help. He had a scratched eye that caused cloudiness and a bad limp that developed suddenly. It is thought he may have been hit by a car.
Davida Rothberg, who has owned a unit there for more than 20 years, made arrangements for the orange tabby to be taken to the East Hampton Veterinary Group, where it was determined he could not be released back into his outdoor environment. Ms. Rothberg put out a call to the media to find someone who might be willing to adopt an older, but no less loving, cat.
It turns out Mr. Sea Crest is so lovable that Dr. Paul Hollander at the veterinary group decided to keep him as an office pet. Ms. Rothberg, who had been paying for the cat’s care, was told she could stop.
“It was an amazing act of kindness for him to do that. But Mr. Sea Crest is so lovable and such a sweetheart that Dr. Hollander and I decided that if anyone wants to adopt him they could bring him home. He deserves a warm, loving home and someone he can cuddle up with,” she said.
Through the years that Ms. Rothberg has spent time at her Sea Crest unit she has found homes for more than 40 cats. It started one day when she noticed a mother cat with seven kittens by the side of the road near the resort. Instead of entering her unit, she turned right around and went to buy food for the hungry feline.
With a full tummy, Mama Cat looked at Ms. Rothberg and conveyed with her eyes love and gratitude. Ms. Rothberg fell hard. She began taking care of the cats. As the kittens got older, though, they moved on. Mama cat remained, sunning herself daily, getting fed on Ms. Rothberg’s deck. She turned on the purring machine so loudly that Ms. Rothberg had no choice but to adopt her and take her home to her other residence in Westchester County.
But those kittens, now cats, were smart enough to know a good thing when it’s placed in a bowl and smells like fish, so found their way back to Ms. Rothberg at Sea Crest on the Ocean. She kept all but two of them and still has them. Mama Cat died when she was 17 years old.
Since then, Ms. Rothberg has been known as the woman who takes care of the feral cats. Even when she is not on the South Fork, she provides money for the colony’s cat food and arranges for feedings.
Ms. Rothberg said people tend to look at older cats with disdain and think they cannot put them in homes, and as a result many of them languish in animal shelters.
“I disagree. Eight of my cats were all homeless but are now lap cats and have made great pets. They know how to show their love and devotion to the person who takes care of them,” she said. “My message is to open your heart to both people and animals who need you and you will be the beneficiary.”