SANTA FE, N.M. — “If you don’t speak to your cat about catnip, who will do it?”
– Poster at the event
This may come as a surprise, but I know a thing or two about feral cats. My mother, in her dotage, turned her lovely 6,000-square-foot home into a cat hotel for feral cats. Lots of them.
At one point, she had 68 feral cats on her property. This was clearly against the city ordinance, but when the officials came to raid her, she scolded them and told them that if they took any cats off her property, they must guarantee her that no cats would be killed and they must find at least as good a home as hers in which to place them. So they turned a blind eye to her Feline Salvation Army operation.
About 30 of them were indoor cats and the rest were consigned to exterior accommodations where they were nevertheless well fed and watered, spayed and neutered, and quite better off than whence they came. The indoor kitties were separated into closed-off rooms to prevent the colonies from interacting or they would get into cat gang fights and kill each other, which happened if anyone left a door open.
And you can’t try to break them up! If one scratches your artery, “You could have bled to death saving the feral cat,” we told our mother bandaged up and in the ICU. She tried to adopt them out, but most people want a cuddly purring domestic cat, not a hissing wild one, so not a huge success, obviously, with 53 to choose from … 15 being permanent family members. “Good Lord, mother!”, we said, to no avail. Cat lovers are fanatic about them.
Felines and Friends has a better track record for cat adoptions and rescuing. Mr. Schultz has a knack for tempting feral cats into his humane trap and the volunteers for bringing them into loving homes. There is an adoption center at Petco on St. Michael’s staffed by lovers of kitties who volunteer there and quite often act as foster parents until the cats find their permanent homes! The center is not just for feral, but also abandoned, kitties that bonehead owners leave by the side of the road or in parking lots. What do they think is going to happen to the poor, confused animal? With luck, it will end up with Felines and Friends.
Amalia Thomas told me about a particular cat who kept showing up at her mother’s door, scraggly and emaciated, filthy dirty and matted. Her mom, Inez, a volunteer at Felines and Friends, was not able to take in another cat – she was already inundated at the time. Nevertheless, she fed “Wannabe” as they named him (get it?) and, of course, he kept coming back to her kitchen door. One day, he arrived covered in blood, torn up and beaten up badly, had probably been in a fight, or maybe a coyote tried to have him for dinner. Inez and Amalia rushed him to the Felines and Friends vet, who performed a long, intense surgery and miraculously repaired him. This is what Felines and Friends does!
About 150 kitty-lovers came out to the Sunday afternoon silent auction and raffle event, Cocktails for Critters, to support Felines and Friends, now 16 years old, and to talk about cats! The nearly $30,000 raised will be used to offset the care of orphaned cats, including their medical and dietary needs.
I asked Amalia what had become of old Wannabe. Had someone finally adopted him after his surgery? “Oh yes!” she said.
“That was five years ago and he’s been with me ever since! I wouldn’t part with him for anything!”
Ashley Margetson has a BA in English from UCLA, is a senior real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty and has a finger on the pulse of philanthropic activities in Santa Fe. To tell us about an upcoming event, email email@example.com.