Disney Actress Opens Her Heart and Home to Foster Cats
For Tania Gunadi, work days can be long and hard on the Toronto set of the Disney XD adventure series Aaron Stone. The actress, who plays girl next door Emma Lau, is often away from her Los Angeles home – but her thoughts are never far from her favorite felines, Ricky and Lucy.
Named after the stars of her favorite TV show, I Love Lucy, the cats may be brother and sister – but they’re nothing alike! Ricky, the “big-boned” 20-lb. shorthaired cat, loves to be petted and massaged. “He’s so chubby, I can lay my head on him,” Gunadi tells PEOPLE Pets. Lucy, on the other hand, weighs only 7 lbs. and though she’s “scared of other people,” she can always be found following the 25-year-old actress around.
Before Gunadi adopted them, the lovable felines were dangerously close to ending up homeless. After her neighbor was moving to Germany and planned to take the two cats to a nearby shelter, Gunadi decided she couldn’t let that happen. Though she always had dogs growing up in Indonesia, the actress welcomed the siblings into her home. “I fell in love with them so quickly,” she says.
And the love doesn’t stop there. In addition to her own cats, Gunadi also fosters cats. She took in a pair for the first time while filming in Toronto last year. Ben and Jerry had been in a shelter for nine months and “were so raggedy and scared,” she says. “They didn’t come out of the closet for two days.” But Gunadi took her time acclimating them to their new home and after two months, she got Jerry to play a game of catch!
Besides benefiting animals in need, Gunadi realized how beneficial fostering is to her as well. After a long day of shooting and being so far from home, the actress looked forward to bundles of energy waiting for her. “They come rushing towards me – they’re like dogs! At night they sleep and there they are looking at you, loving you,” she says.
In August, Ben and Jerry were adopted into a loving home. But Gunadi stays updated on the kitties’ progress. “It’s been eight months and the woman who got [them] still sends me pictures,” she says.
Realizing what a difference she made with Ben and Jerry, Gunadi has begun researching on how to socialize cats. And the actress, who volunteers at a shelter in Van Nuys, Calif., plans on fostering more cats in the future – and is grateful that Ben and Jerry started it all.
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