Honoring Newington Volunteer Linda Newton
Linda Newton has a soft spot for underdogs. Or shall we say, undercats. The seniors, the super shy felines, the ones rescued from hoarders and the ones with a little sass. For the past 15 years, she has dedicated time each week to comforting them while they reside at the Connecticut Humane Society in Newington.
When Linda retired early from her career as a lawyer for Aetna, she decided to focus on her lifelong passion for cats. She had always shared her home with a cat or two…or three…but she knew she could help more than she could house if she volunteered for a humane organization. She followed in the footsteps of her friend Lorrie Duff, who was a regular CHS volunteer and who continues to serve the pets today.
Linda naturally became a cat cuddler and regularly visited with the felines who were waiting to be found by their new families. A year into her volunteer service, a 15-year-old cat named Costner wound up at CHS after his owner died. Costner arrived with matted fur and was given a lion-style ’do. His teeth were in rough shape and most of them needed to be pulled. And he was grumpy. When Linda saw him getting looked over by adopters week after week, she decided to bring him home. He went on to enjoy another six grumpy years in her care.
When a program launched in 2012 to give volunteers specialized training with the cats who were feisty or withdrawn, Linda became an inaugural member of the Fur Squad team. Her experience with some of the most challenging feline residents has made her a go-to person for other volunteers—she’s been a great teacher for the newer cat handlers. Her best piece of advice is always “keep your eyes on the cat and go slow.”
Fifteen years in and Linda continues to be one of the most reliable members of the volunteer team. She now resides with just one cat, Oliver, a feisty grey-and-white feral cat she rescued from the woods behind her house when he was nine months old—around the same time she started volunteering at CHS. He is 16 now and going strong. In addition to her passion for felines, Linda enjoys gardening and taking walks in her neighborhood.