Photo by Alfonso Cevola

One rainy night on Whitehurst Drive, Kim Pierce saw a tiny ball of fur. Cars were passing over the fur ball, and Pierce knew she had to do something. Not sure what the fur ball was or if it was even alive, she quickly made a U-turn to ensure cars couldn’t hurt it. Stepping out of her car and stopping oncoming traffic, Pierce rescued a 1-pound kitten.

After returning home, she turned her guest bathroom into a safe space for the shivering and damp kitten. Although he was only supposed to be a guest, Luigi soon became a part of the household.

Barely 5 weeks old, he couldn’t eat cat food and didn’t like milk bottles from the store. Pierce and her partner, Alfonso Cevola, had to syringe feed Luigi a mixture of kitten milk and wet food for six weeks.

“[Alfonso] just fell in love, he was the one who was up doing the 4:30 a.m. feedings,” Pierce says. “He’s been a part of our family ever since.” 

Pierce works with the feral cat group at Southern Methodist University, feeding and taking care of campus cats.

The couple’s two older cats, “welcomed him in the way that cats can welcome another cat into the fold,” Pierce says. They took turns “mothering” Luigi, cuddling, grooming or playing with the kitten.

While Luigi has grown, he still maintains a small, boxy shape. “I’m convinced he’s part dwarf,” Pierce says. Along with his boxy body and head shape, he runs like a rabbit with both back feet moving in unison, a characteristic of dwarf cats.

Despite his size, Luigi is self-possessed and confident in his domain. He doesn’t walk; he prances. When he’s not eating, he’s capturing his toys and sneaking them off as if they were real prey.

In the morning, he enjoys sitting in Cevola’s lap making biscuits, or he curls up with his big sisters.

“He just won our hearts,” Pierce says.