The Animal Shelter of Picayune’s : “Tale of Two Kitties”

Published 3:02 pm Monday, August 30, 2010

Maria Diamond works with cats at the Animal Shelter of Picayune and has a few stories of what she calls “long distance love.” This term refers to occasions when someone comes from out of state to adopt a kitten or dog from the shelter.

The shelter lists their animals on their own website and on These animals are then available for viewing by potential families from all over. One such family came from Juneau, Alaska.

Zane and Jill Sullivan are that family, along with Finley, their four and a half year old daughter. They had always wanted Manx kittens and they first spotted Bouncer and Pouncer on the SPCA website.  According to Jill, “Zane got his “gut” feeling and when he gets it, things usually work out.” 

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Diamond says, “When he first called about the kittens and I found out that he lived in Alaska, I pretty much put it out of my mind. We don’t ship cats and kittens because of the stress involved and I did not figure that anyone would come that far to adopt a kitten.”

“I heard from him a couple of weeks later and we still had the kittens. I got really excited, I guess it was just meant to be.”

The Sullivans say, “Juneau rarely has kittens available, at the shelter or otherwise.”

After exhausting local resources, which were slim to begin with, the Sullivans took their search online with the criteria being a “Manx tabby kitten”. That is when the shelter in Picayune came up on their screen. It was love at first sight when they first laid eyes on Bouncer and Pouncer.

Zane Sullivan says “Unfortunately, we were not able to act as quickly as we would have liked. My schedule at work needed clearing and the uncertainty of the trip with expenses to be incurred weighed heavily on our minds.”

At the end of the two weeks after his first contact with Diamond, Zane Sullivan knew that he had to get those kittens for his family. Even if they were all the way in Mississippi. Once that decision was made, things fell into place very quickly.

To say things came together quickly for Zane Sullivan is a fact. His work schedule cleared in a matter of days, his flight confirmed in a matter of hours from his departure time.  However, to say that things went smoothly would not be true, at all.

The hardships started with a $150 price jump on his ticket on the Seattle to New Orleans leg of his journey. The lower price had been solid when he had checked mere hours before. Meanwhile, Jill Sullivan was back home in Juneau attempting to book a rental care for Zane upon his arrival in New Orleans for his trip to Picayune. She discovered that rental vehicles were in short supply; thanks to the oil spill disaster. In the end, Jill Sullivan was able to rent her husband a car at the expense of $150 for a 24 hour time period. 

The Sullivans say, “We were lucky to get a vehicle at all because most of the car companies that we contacted said that they had no availability at any price.”

Once Sullivan made it to the shelter, he decided to adopt both kittens instead of just the one. They were brothers, after all. 

The first issue that Sullivan encountered was upon arrival to his hotel room in New Orleans.

“I had stayed at the place before, without issue, several months earlier. I decided not to mention the kittens and figured it was not a big deal. I carried them up the back stairs to my room in the kitten carrier. In doing so, I unfortunately passed a hotel employee. Immediately upon entering my room, I received a call from the hotel manager.”

Sullivan was told that the hotel did not have pet policy and if he chose to stay with the pets, there would be an additional $250 charge to sanitize the room.

He says, “Despite it being 10 p.m. at night and being dog- tired from my nearly sleepless journey to that point, I had no choice but to find another hotel.”

His current hotel was willing to assist him in locating another hotel with a pet policy.

“I had visions of sleeping curled up in my rental car with the kittens,” he says.

Upon arriving at his new hotel, he checked in with his precious cargo.

“The kittens went nuts. Once they were out of their carrier, they had a great time chasing each other carrying on for the nearly four and a half hours before the alarm clock went off.”

The next issue that Sullivan encountered was the journey home with the additional adoptee in tow. Now, he was unable to carry the kittens on board with him as he planned. He received mixed up information from the airline for his New Orleans to Seattle part of his journey.

“Because I was scheduled to take a small plane with an unpressurized cargo compartment, I was told that the kittens would have to take a different flight. The first few airline representatives contact via the 800 number told us that the kittens could not be shipped until 1:30 p.m. at the earliest. This was much too late to make the Houston connection to Seattle. It was only after many frantic attempts that my wife learned that this was not true and was able to speak with someone who cared enough to accommodate us by booking the kittens on a pressurized, larger flight out of New Orleans, departing a mere 30 minutes earlier than mine. This was another averted disaster.”

Zane Sullivan, Bouncer and Pouncer, did make it to Juneau and are living the great happily ever after. 

Jill Sullivan says, “Bouncer and Pouncer have been renamed Mickey (as in Mickey Mouse) and Leo, by our daughter Finley. They are doing very well and are as happy as can be. They couldn’t be more perfect for our family. They eat together and take naps together but they include us in their day as well.  Finley just loves them and plays with them all of the time.” 

Zane Sullivan says, “Needless to say, my wife and daughter are ecstatic. The kittens are all that we could have ever hoped for… As anyone that has ever fallen in love should be able to verify, distance rarely serves as a true obstacle.”

Zane Sullivan also says in an e-mail to Diamond that, “Many may consider it crazy to travel from our home in Juneau, Alaska to Mississippi in order to adopt kittens from a shelter. However, now that we have, I am certainly glad that we did. I would do it again, without hesitation.”