The titular 'old thing' is a cat stand that was donated to the charity by its long-time supporter. That kind man actually asked the stand to be given to the 'cat lady with the blue and white rug'. Well, that's me, I guess. And this is it:
And this is Snowball. He's the loudest kitten we've ever met, and that's because he's deaf, which is sometimes the case with white cats. It's to do with genes - the autosomal dominant gene termed W (for white), to be exact. It's a gene with multiple effects, and it is responsible for white coat colour, blue eyes and deafness.
This doesn't mean that these cats can't have a normal life indoors, with a few things their humans have to adjust to - like stomping their feet when approaching the deaf cat, or tapping the surface near the sleeping cat so as not to startle it, etc. Snowball was also one of the friendliest kittens we'd ever seen - born to be loved.