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Woman gets new life thanks to cat

Marie Colicchia was a happy pet owner who lived with her husband and grown son and their 13 pets until tragedy struck and she lost her entire family, including her animals. Feeling empty without pets, she has fought to have animal companions ever since, the Buffalo News reports.

Her son had two strokes and died at age 35, and her husband suffered a seizure disorder that required him to live in an assisted living facility. Alone, Colicchhia needed a knee replacement, and was forced to give up her animals while she was hospitalized and rehabilitated.

Despite her volunteering hours at the local shelter while living in senior care, Colicchia yearned to have her own animal, so she moved to a senior living facility that allowed animals.

Now, she lives happily with her cat, Toby, that she adopted from the shelter, and fosters several other animals.

"We talk to people who have an intense, crippling loneliness, and these pets are providing companionship, devotion and love, and they are rescuing their owners from that loneliness," Gina Browning, director of public relations of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Serving Erie County, New York, told the news outlet.  
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