If Beth Stern were a Disney heroine, she would embody Snow White, whose gentle and generous spirit attracted animals of all sorts. And while Beth’s collection of resident and fostered cats may not help her clean the house that she shares with husband Howard Stern or wash the dishes like in Snow White’s world, Beth’s remarkable relationship and communication with nature and its creatures makes her story even more appealing. After all, when Snow White married the prince there was no evidence that she ever really did any advocacy work on behalf of those critters that helped her clean that cottage.
Beth has turned her passion for animals, and in particular for cats, into pure magic. She has the kind of clout that recently spearheaded a campaign to raise nearly $15 million for Bianca’s Furry Friends Feline Adoption Center, a 14,000 square foot, cage-free cat habitat built on top of the Adoption Center at North Shore Animal League America (NSALA) in Port Washington. The creation of the Adoption Center is just one aspect of her dedication and advocacy work for NSALA, which started over 16 years ago, when she was approached to take part in a fashion show for the NSALA.
“I remember not leaving the runway until every cat and dog and puppy was adopted and they recognized my passion for animals,” she says. “It’s been such a rewarding, beautiful relationship, and I get so much out of it. So, it’s my life.”
And she’s not kidding. Right before this interview. Beth said she had just “finished cleaning litter boxes.” The Sterns’ Southampton home is roomy enough to accommodate the current 13 foster cats that Beth so lovingly cares for until they can be adopted into “forever homes,” as well as her six permanent resident cats.
“We chose a big house and I have a separate area where I keep my fosters, and right now I’m really focusing on a lot of senior fosters, where people that sadly have passed away and no family members are willing to take their animals,” Beth says. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she notes, adoptions have increased due to the number of people working at home. People are also more open to adopting animals with special needs and adult and senior animals.
“It’s been really a nice thing in the middle of this horrific pandemic and what’s going on in the world, but that doesn’t mean that the shelters aren’t still full. And we still have so many who do need homes,” she adds.
Beth and Howard have been spending all their time at their Southampton home since March, she says, a home they moved into 12 years ago. Howard has been broadcasting his show from the house.
“We just feel safe and protected, here we love the fresh air, we love going on beach walks, we love the lifestyle here. Don’t get me wrong, we definitely love New York City, but we really prefer being out here. I love living in the middle of this beauty and just looking out my window and seeing a family of deer frolicking in my dunes. I feel my connection with the wildlife has definitely deepened.”
Whether it’s the wild creatures outdoors, or the cuddy kittens inside the home, Beth Stern is surrounded by the unconditional love that the animals give and she is filled with grace and gratitude.
“I’m so fortunate,” she says, “to live a lifestyle that I can pursue my passion every day of my life.”
Todd Shapiro is an award-winning publicist and an Associate Publisher at Dan’s Papers.