The TV personality says her lovable tabby Benito Pussolini is one “cool cat”

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June 02, 2011 07:30 PM

On a recent episode of her CNN show, Joy Behar chatted with Kathie Lee Gifford about who should replace TV icon Regis Philbin when he leaves his post on Regis & Kelly later this year. But Behar didn’t name-drop Philbin’s most obvious fill-in: Her cat, Benito Pussolini.

“My cat has a casual air about him, like Regis Philbin,” she says of the 12-year-old tabby. “He’s kind of a cool cat. When he wants something, like if you’re lying down in bed, he’ll just jump on your chest and start to purr and just sit there indefinitely until you get up and get it.”

Just like Regis, Benito is full of personality – so much so that he’s a fixture in her family, along with her 8-year-old mutts Tallulah and Gracie. This week, Behar is using her love of animals to help other cats in need. She’s partnering with the ASPCA and Fresh Step cat litter to host a cat adoption event in Manhattan on June 3, a kick-off to Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat month.

“Anytime anybody asks me to do something for animals, I find the time to do it,” she says, adding that the ASPCA’s Free Over Three program is waiving adoption fees for cats over one year old from June 3-12, while cats over three are free all year long. “I just feel that they have no way of speaking – animals can do [amazing things]. Dogs can now detect cancer. They detect bombs. They know when you’re sick, they alert the police. They’re just incredible, we must pay attention to them.”

At home in New York, Behar gives plenty of attention to her furry trio. She even takes them on the road to a country retreat in the Hamptons, where Benito is her live-in mouser (his most recent catch was a vole which he proudly threw in her bathtub!). When he’s not standing guard, he enjoys kicking back with his dog pals – maybe a little too much.

“Benito and Tallulah sort of make out,” Behar says, adding that the dog and cat are sort of a couple. “I have a picture of them making out, in fact. They snuggle, it’s cute.”

For more information about the ASPCA’s Free Over Three program, click here.

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