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A Q & A with Tricia Helfer

Cat-loving supermodel Tricia Helfer on her 10—yes, 10—rescue cats

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Interview & photograph by Chris Ameruoso

Q: Tell us about your cats Cesar and Bella.

A: Bella (along with and her sister, Delilah), I adopted in New York when I was still living there. They were part of a litter of nine that had been found in an alley. Bella’s a polydactyl or Hemingway cat, meaning she has an extra claw on her front paws. I loved her “mitten” feet and adopted them straight away. They were only about nine weeks old at the time and are now turning 14 years old! Cesar we adopted from Kitten Rescue here in Los Angeles. He was such an insane flirt that I instantly fell in love.

Q: How many rescued cats do you have right now.

A: I have 10.

Q: Wow, how did you get so involved in rescuing cats?

A: I love all animals, but I’ve always had an affinity for cats. I got involved with Kitten Rescue after donating money to them when I was at Petco buying cat food. They had a little stand there and some cats up for adoption…I saw the donation sign and I wrote a cheque, handed it to the woman, and walked away. She caught up to me and was crying and hugged me. We’ve adopted a few cats from them since and I got more involved with the organization, as well as with HSUS, Best Friends, RAPS, and PETA. I decided to make a “shop” section on my website [] where 100 percent of the profits go to animal charities. Because of work travel, I’m not home enough to be as hands on as I’d like in terms of volunteering, so I hope I can at least help out with donating what I can and helping to raise awareness.

Q: What have you learned from having these cats in your life?

A: I have learned to not feel sorry for myself. I have a couple of old cats with ailments and a three-legged cat. They don’t feel sorry for themselves; they just keep on going. They give you so much love it’s silly.

Q: What are some of their favourite things?

A: Both Bella and Cesar love the sunshine and the cattery (enclosed, outdoor cat playroom). They also both like going on harnesses and leashes in our backyard. They come running at the sound of us getting the harnesses out.

Q: How does your husband like having all these rescue cats in your life?

A: I had Bella and Delilah when my husband and I met. He quickly fell in love with them and has been a huge supporter of having animals. He was never really an animal person before. Not that he disliked animals, just didn’t have any or didn’t really understand the bond with them. He has definitely changed his tune and is a certified crazy cat person like me.

Q: What is the greatest thing about being a guardian for cats?

A: Quite simply the joy I get from helping save a few wonderful little souls. They give me so much love everyday.

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