"They were found on the street … wet and starving, in the same city, across town, within days of each other," Ziering says

By Laura Barcella
January 13, 2020 01:42 PM
Erin Ziering
Credit: Erin Ziering/Instagram

Erin Ziering hadn’t planned to adopt two kittens. But after a major life change — she filed for divorce from her husband, actor Ian Ziering, in November — Ziering was ready to prioritize her own wants and needs again. And what she wanted was … a cat.

“I was never allowed to have a cat — none of the men in my life ever wanted one, and Ian is allergic,” she tells PEOPLE. “But he’s not here anymore. This is my house now, so I [thought,] ‘I can do this.'”

Already mom to two young daughters and a small cadre of dogs — “Ian kept one of the dogs in the divorce, and I kept the puppy,” she says (she also has a 12-and-a-half-year-old rescue dog who moved cross-country with her after college), Ziering decided to round out her revamped household with a kitten. “I wanted a companion for the puppy. I thought a kitten would be as good of a companion as another dog,” she explains.

Erin Ziering
Credit: Erin Ziering/Instagram

The Los Angeles-based former cardiac nurse and Elevated by Erin blogger talked to a feline-loving friend, Mel Lamprey, who is active in the local cat rescue scene. Ziering told her what she was looking for and Lamprey led her to a Ventura County-based rescue group called Wrenn Rescues.

As soon as she met kitten BFFs Luna and Star, who were then crashing with another Wrenn Rescues foster mom, Ziering was a goner. She adopted Luna right away, and agreed to foster Star as well. But “this kitten isn’t going anywhere,” Ziering admits, saying she’s already bought Star her own collar and name tag.

The kitten buddies easily adapted to Ziering’s household, though they did it in their own ways. Luna, Ziering says, “is a classic cat — she prances around, knows her territory and the dogs respect her.”

Star has a far less chill approach. “Right away this kitten was like, ‘I am on top of you, and I’m best friends with the puppy,’ ” Ziering says. “She has this desperation to be included. She wakes up and the first thing she does is look for the puppy. She desperately wants to go outside and go for a walk.”

Alissa Smith, who runs Wrenn Rescues, says the duo were rescued together as babies, though they weren’t siblings. They had different names then: Ursala (now Star) and Alistair (now Luna). “Ursala had a home lined up, but when she was getting spay surgery, she had a reaction to the anesthesia,” Smith says. “We had to delay her adoption until she was 100 percent.” Her intended adoption fell through, as did Alistair’s.

Erin Ziering
Credit: Erin Ziering/Instagram

“They were found on the street wet and starving, in the same city, across town, within days of each other,” Ziering says. The kittens were about 5 or 6 weeks old at the time.

Today, Luna and Star are living the high life with their caring human guardian, two human sisters, and their dog friends, who are objects of obsession for both kittens. “They always have to find where the puppy is sleeping, and they get under the covers and cuddle up next to him,” Ziering laughs.

Ziering’s kids, Penna Mae, 6½, and Mia Loren, 8½, understandably love the new additions, though Ziering says, “I think the kittens love the kids even more — they [love] getting carried around like baby dolls.”

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Ziering, an animal lover who grew up on a farm, has long been involved in rescue. “At Ian’s house I rescued guinea pigs [with the Los Angeles Guinea Pig Rescue], and we also had an aviary,” she says. Ziering encourages all animal lovers to try fostering as a low-risk way to help animals in their communities.

“If you’re fostering through a rescue, they’ll pay for medical [care] and they’ll pay for food as needed,” she says. But most importantly, “you’re saving an animal’s life,” Ziering says. “It doesn’t have to be a [forever] commitment, but you took the time, gave an animal a home, made it cozy and comfortable. It can actually be life or death for them.”

Smith, of course, agrees. She founded Wrenn Rescues in 2017, just a handful of years after being diagnosed with cancer. Since then, the group — now a 501(c)(3) fueled solely by donations — has rescued more than 300 cats, and Smith is thrilled at how well Luna and Star have taken to their new digs with Ziering’s family.

“I’m really happy it worked out, considering everything [Ziering’s] been going through,” Smith says. “We’ve been so lucky.”