Two Key West women adopted Darcy, now named Phyllis, through the FKSPCA’s programs “Love is Blind” and the “Golden Paw Project.” The cat is quite at home, say Nicoletta Robinson and Francie Steger. CONTRIBUTED


Darcy, now named Phyllis in honor of “The Office” television show, has settled in nicely at the Key West home of Nicoletta Robinson and Francie Steger. In fact, the two warn one another not to look at the cat when they are watching a movie. “She’ll start purring so loud we can’t hear the movie!” said Nicoletta. “It’s like Phyllis was born in our house. She is sweet and affectionate and sleeps in our bed. She’s a wonderful, wonderful cat.”

Phyllis was adopted from the Florida Keys SPCA campus in Key West. The cat qualified for both of the FKSPCA’s current programs: Love is Blind and the Golden Paw Project. The first matches adopters and adoptees remotely (no contact) with a lengthy interview process and then “curbside” pickup. The second supports adoptions of animals older than 8 years with free blood tests prior to adoption, an annual exam at the shelter’s Dogwood Clinic and a year’s supply of flea, tick and heartworm treatment.

Nicoletta said of her cat, “Phyllis is amazing. We’re obsessed with her.”

Nicoletta and Francie were looking for a cat before the COVID-19 outbreak. For the shelter, the quarantine meant keeping the space safe by stopping adopter visits and limiting the number of volunteers at the facilities while limited shelter staff worked overtime to care for the animals and carry out its mission to find forever homes. The Love is Blind program became the vehicle to continue adoptions while observing social distancing. 

And so Nicoletta and Francie applied online and had several conversations with shelter personnel. The pair were informed there were several cats that met the criteria and Darcy, a.k.a Phyllis, was at the top of the list. The curbside pickup was emotional. Shelter staff filmed the women picking up the cat, placed outside the door in a carrier, along with documents and a supply of toys. 

“Because Darcy has feline HIV, she will be an only child,” Nicoletta said. 

The shelter’s Golden Paw Project will help alleviate some of the other costs associated with pet ownership. The program is supported by a grant from the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys and Nola’s Fund, both designed to help find homes for older animals. 


For more information about the programs listed, visit fkscpa.org and click on the adopt tab. Or call the shelters directly at 305-294-4857 (Key West) or 305-743-4800 (Marathon). 

June is Adopt a Shelter Cat month. Between the two campuses of FKSPCA, in Marathon and Key West, there are 132 cats up for adoption — all ages, breeds, coat patterns and temperaments. All adoption fees are currently waived. For animal lovers who cannot adopt, the FKSPCA is hosting a special “kitten shower.” Donate to either shelter’s Amazon wish list to buy supplies for kittens while they are being fostered, or become a kitten foster parent by providing a safe space for the animals to grow until they are ready to be adopted. For more information about the kitten shower, visit fkspca.org and click on the kitten shower button under the education and events tab.

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