Supported by

The Atlantic Selects

All Cats Go to Heaven

Jun 19, 2018 | 831 videos
Video by Jonathan Napolitano

Cats are like potato chips, reads a sign in Bruce and Terry Jenkins’s home. You can’t just have one!

In fact, the Jenkinses have 30. They have devoted their retirement to caring for this plethora of elderly cats, transforming their home over the years into a makeshift feline senior center. “It’s kind of a big family,” says Terry Jenkins in Jonathan Napolitano’s short documentary, Cats Cradle. “It gives me the opportunity to be with more cats than I possibly could ever have imagined.”

The couple welcomes older cats that have been abandoned due to the death or sickness of a previous owner. “The cats come with different neuroses from where they were before… it’s very gratifying to see the transition from what they were when they came here to what they become,” says Bruce.

“It’s like they bloom,” adds Terry. “They get to be what they’re meant to be.”

Cats Cradle is by turns heartwarming and heartbreaking as it showcases the love that exists between the quirky couple and their horde of cats. “These cats are old, and we’re old,” says Terry. “We have a sense of those issues. We’re kind of bound together by it. Just like feeding them, petting them, and loving them, you have to help [the cats] at the end.”

Napolitano, who himself has three cats, told The Atlantic that Terry and Bruce’s devotion to each other and their cats is unparalleled. “You never know what's going to happen when you turn the camera on,” Napolitano said. “I've met people full of life, and as soon I press record, they drop dead almost immediately. Bruce and Terry have something you can't fake. There's a lot of love in that house.”

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to

Author: Emily Buder

About This Series

A showcase of cinematic short documentary films, curated by The Atlantic.