Celebrity cat growing old in Spring Hill

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Cassie the cat was one half of an unlikely duo that also included Moses the crow.

Their story is one of lengthy friendship. It began in August 1999 when Cassie, an abandoned black-and-white kitten, and Moses, a big, black American crow, met in the Massachusetts garden of Ann and Wallace Collito. The tiny kitten had been thrown over the fence into the Collito’s garden and promptly was adopted by the crow.

During the next few weeks, the Collitos watched the unusual pair and decided to name the kitten Cassie and the crow Moses. The couple videotaped Cassie and Moses playing together to convince disbelieving friends. Since then the antics of this playful duo have been featured in a National Geographic program and drawn more than five million views on YouTube.

Once just a winter visitor to Hernando County, Wallace Collito, now a widower, has moved permanently to Spring Hill. In the final stages of selling his home in Massachusetts, Collito and his son called in at The Smitten Kitten Cat Resort and Spa on County Line Road, Spring Hill. They wanted to board Cassie for a few days while they carried out last-minute removals to Florida.

Susan Barr, owner of the cattery, said father and son came in to check out her facility but didn’t mention Cassie’s celebrity status until they brought her in to board.

“When they told me, I remembered seeing a video of a cat and crow playing together but had quite forgotten that this special relationship had lasted for many years,” she said.

“That they shared such friendship does not surprise me at all. I have been blessed to witness animals bond and play together that would never meet up in the wild, like emus from Australia and alpacas from Peru.”

“There have been some really special moments that just warm my heart,” Barr said.

“Wallace Collito and Cassie are super sweet. Mr. Collito told me all about how Moses the crow would knock on the screen door every morning for Cassie to come out and play,” she said.

“Cassie is now 14 years old and sleeps a lot,” said Barr. “But she does enjoy looking out of the windows here at all the chickens, emus and of course her favorite, crows in my back yard.”

Barr owns several acres that she shares with chickens, ducks, alpacas, emus, turkeys and goats.

When asked if she thought Cassie remembered her longtime friend Moses, Barr said cats most likely remember past experiences and she was sure Cassie has sweet memories of her time with Moses.

Wallace Collito said the friendship lasted several years, until one day Moses flew off and never returned.

“Maybe he got a girlfriend or he died, we don’t know really what happened to Moses,” said Collito. His wife, Ann, died several years ago but he and his son, Ronald, still love and take care of Cassie — now in Spring Hill.

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