He was a stray from the mean streets of Hampden, with a soft spot for belly rubs that hinted at better days in the past.

She was an upscale shop cat who spent her days napping in a sunny window on the Avenue.

He spotted her there one day last month, snoozing among the blow-up pink flamingos and eye shadow cases. He fell in love.

Since then, says Debra Stone, owner of Kiss N' Makeup on 36th Street, this white and gray tom cat has parked himself on the sidewalk in front of the store each afternoon at four o'clock, singing to his love, Mrs. Puff.

"He does pine for her, I believe," said Stone. "He is the loudest cat I ever heard."

Mrs. Puff, a former stray herself, is not impressed.

She rarely acknowledges her suitor, one of several who have paid court to her over the four years since Stone rescued her. The few times he came into the shop, he embarrassed himself, since he has not been neutered.

Stone, who has rescued more than two dozen stray cats near the shop, is hoping to find someone to adopt Mrs. Puff's gentleman caller, who she believes is about a year old.

He was skinny when he first started showing up, but since Stone has been feeding him, he has filled out and looks quite healthy. He's a lover of both cats and people, she said.

"He just wanted someone to sit with him, canoodle with him and feed him," she said.

--Julie Scharper