It all started when my family decided to adopt and spotted a 4Paws cat online wearing a bow tie, our Jefferson. Because our initial experience was so positive, I decided to volunteer by helping feed the cats at one of the Petco store cages. One hot day in the middle of July, we received a panic call from the Petco store manager that a cat had been left by their dumpster in a carrier with a note that said “I’m Harry. Please take care of me”. The store volunteer coordinator asked all the volunteers to please consider fostering him so he could be vetted and assessed as to whether he was adoptable. I hoped someone else would volunteer but then realized if not me then who? Harry was my first foster cat. I’ve fostered close to 300 cats since then! I find fostering to be such a rewarding experience; you are the first step to a new life for these cats. And without fosters, the numbers of cats that are rescued would not be possible.
I continued to volunteer at Petco, and I began to foster additional cats, and then I met a woman who was feeding a community cat who had made his home at the Boston Market in the same parking lot as the Petco. This was my first introduction to the world of community cats. I learned about trapping and Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) programs. I helped trap the cat, and we determined he was not comfortable being indoors around humans. We had him neutered, vaccinated and returned him to his outdoor home where several of us volunteers continued to feed him. That experience began my passion for helping community cats, those cats out there that aren’t suitable to live indoors with humans but are healthy and comfortable in their outdoor homes if someone continues to feed them.
My passion for caring for community cats has lead me to discovering that I’m quite good at trapping cats. Whether as part of a TNR program or helping to catch lost or found cats, now a days you will find me on the weekends trapping cats. I have polished my skills learning from an incredible network of trappers who are willing to share their techniques. In between trapping, I also receive 4Paws cats coming from transport. I foster them for the short term until a longer term foster or store cage can be found.
A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine mentioned the work 4Paws does for community cats to Jay Korf, a reporter for WJLA. She connected him to me and we met for a few hours to discuss the work and record footage. Although it’s funny to see yourself on TV, I thought the story was a positive one and he did a good job explaining what community cats are and why TNR is important. He also managed to highlight 4Paws role in the program. View the whole story here.