When did you first become interested in becoming an advocate for community cats?
In 2013, I discovered that one of the ferals in my neighborhood had given birth in the space between the back door and storm door of a vacant building across the street from my house. She soon abandoned them and, with the help of some neighbors, the kittens were placed with a rescue. I trapped mom soon after and had her spayed, and she recovered in my office for 24 hours. I let her back out the next day and there have been no more litters to deal with since then (5 years!). Soon after, I started transporting cats, then fostering cats, and eventually I started working with MCCA doing both, plus helping to place feral cats in barn/shed/workshop/garage homes to avoid them being euthanized after being picked up by animal control.
Do you own any cats? If yes, what was the name of the first cat you ever owned?
I have three cats of my own (Luanne, Dorothy, and James) and one long-term foster (MiaFarrow, who happens to be James’s mom). I’ve had cats for the past 23 years. My first was Oliver, a grey DSH I rescued from the Humane Society of Missouri. He was with me from 1995 until 2012.
Do you have a special fondness for any particular breed/color of cat?
No, I love them all.
What specific things do you do most for advocating?
Fostering, transporting, placing ferals in barn homes, medical fostering, and social media networking.
What is your favorite thing to do when working with the cat community?
Transporting. I get to see tons of different towns and meet new people, and it’s gratifying to know the cats I place are getting the best chance they can to live exactly the way they want to without (a) reproducing, or (b) being euthanized simply for being feral.
Asking for pledges
Name one thing that you can’t live without concerning your interaction with your cat work?
Nature’s Miracle and a car that can haul at least 15 carriers at a time. That’s two things.
What is there about your work that most people don’t know about?
There’s always a slight atmosphere of emotional chaos that goes with rescue. It can be incredibly stressful to foster cats long-term. I give up my office to do so, and the house is not quite as peaceful because the gen-pop cats are aware of different felines in their vicinity and life is not quite business as usual.
If you could tell everyone in the world one thing, besides spay and neuter your pets, what would that be?
Adopt from and donate to rescues—not the HSUS, HSMO, or ASPCA. Rescues don’t bribe you with t-shirts and tote bags when they solicit you for money—all the money you donate to rescues goes to the animals, NOT to the people doing the rescuing and certainly not to swag. Rescue ain’t about swag.
Is there anything you like to do to on your “days off” to escape the most difficult aspects of working with the animals?
I have a horse (also a rescue), and she is my lifelong dream and my therapy. She makes me forget about everything except right then, with her.
Anything else you would like to add?
Everyone has something they’re passionate about. If you are a woman who is passionate about cats, and own multiples, you are considered a “crazy cat lady” because it’s the fun thing to say. The same sentiment is not applied to ladies who own multiple dogs, but they are just as passionate and just as deep into saving dogs as we cat ladies. Do everyone a favor and embrace the good will we all have toward animals and appreciate that we care about something so deeply that we would do almost anything to continue, despite having our hearts broken sometimes and our bank accounts drained. Applying a negative label to a person involved in something as altruistic as rescue does nothing positive for anyone.