Our volunteers at Alley Cat Advocates are so committed and dedicated. So, we asked them … “Why? Why do you believe in Alley Cat Advocates? Why do you volunteer? How did you get involved?”
Their stories are below, and we hope they will inspire you. We thank them for sharing their stories, as we thank all of our volunteers, donors, caretakers and supporters who believe in the Alley Cat Advocate’s lifesaving mission.
Chris Albert, Volunteer Veterinarian, Board Chair
From the moment I first walked into a Big Fix some 10 years ago, Alley Cat Advocates impressed me as a model of efficiency and commitment. I had spoken with Karen and received a concise one page statement of information (the staging area is here, we find that feral kitties really NEED simple interrupted sutures and such). When I arrived, my correct glove size and suture preference were at my station. An experienced Alley Cat vet was there to answer my questions and I started a long and satisfying relationship with this fine organization.
Veterinarians DO care about animals, but often get bogged down in “administration of caring” – somebody has to order that suture and those gloves, write thank you notes to donors, be available for aftercare of cats, and questions from caretakers. At Alley Cat Advocates, vets get to just be vets – performing one surgery after another – some 150 every big fix. It’s a miracle!
Elizabeth Cooper, Board Member, Volunteer
When I relocated from Atlanta to Louisville about 5 years ago, I wanted to find an organization that I could volunteer for and truly feel good about the work the group was doing. I found out about Alley Cat Advocates by searching online for local 501(c)(3) organizations that focused on animal care and issues.
I attended Big Fix training and helped on several Big Fixes and was extremely impressed by the level of dedication of the workers and could clearly see that everyone was motivated and focused on the main priority – caring for community cats and improving their lives. My hope in serving on the Board is to help find ways to grow the dedicated volunteer base and better connect the volunteers both to each other and the variety of programs and services ACA provides.
Christina Durham, Board Member, Volunteer
I believe ACA is making a real, long term difference in our community. I believe that the ACA’s intense focus on the trap, neuter and release (TNR) program; its thorough organization and data collection processes; and the totally committed volunteers; are making a lifesaving difference in our community. ACA is eliminating cat overpopulation in Louisville one zip code at a time. And, they are providing a vital support system for caretakers of “community cats” in and around Louisville.
I’m so impressed by the entire ACA team: Karen Little and the committed league of volunteers and supporters who understand the need and who work so tirelessly to achieve the goals of this wonderful organization. I’m proud to be a part of Alley Cat Advocates.
Timothy Kent, Board Member, Volunteer
My Life Changing Experience with a Feral Cat
When I was delivering newspapers at eight years old, my friends and I would end our morning deliveries by stopping by a set of shacks behind some local shops. About ten or so feral cats would climb out from under the shacks’ crawlspaces to greet us. We would sit down on the gravel and let the cats climb all over us as we petted them and cleaned their fur of brambles, etc.
Just after dawn one morning, we met a new, red cat that checked us out. She quickly left only to return moments later with a red kitten. The kitten was as to be expected: extremely cute and playful. We left the cats as usual without any further thought.
The next couple of mornings were very much like the previous, except that the red kitten’s mother left after nudging her kitten amongst us. What was more interesting is that the kitten followed us when we left. We took the hint and picked up the kitten and carried it to my friend’s house in his newspaper sack.
My friend’s mother would not tolerate having a cat; hence, I took the kitten to my home. Because my mother grew up on a farm, she would not tolerate having an animal in the house. However, she did let me keep “Fred K. Beast” on our back porch.
Fred remained my loyal companion for almost a decade. He would always seek the warmth of my lap and enjoy having his fur cleaned of the detritus from the previous night’s fights. Some mornings, when he was especially hungry, he would hang on my mother’s backdoor screen like a “hang in there kitty” poster. Sometimes he would leave me “gifts” of birds, mice, or leverets. He would always watch me cut the yard, rake leaves, etc.
I was in my early teens when I discovered that Fred broke his hip. The Veterinarian proposed removing the bones’ fragments, but my family could only afford some pain pills. Fred didn’t seem to mind when the prescription was complete and got back to his usual habits. However, he was never quite the same.
Fred started spending more than one or two days away from home before he was never seen again. I would like to think that he died in his sleep, but it was more likely that he was captured and euthanized by the city. He may have upset a neighbor’s garden or frustrated a bird enthusiast. Although living outside may shorten the potential lifespan of a cat, Fred was still relatively young and never displayed any illness. However, he was never licensed and thus, there was no reason for Animal Control to treat him as anyone’s chattel.
As a child, I recognized that feral cats serve the purpose of controlling the local vermin; however, later as an adult I recognized my responsibility in the proliferation of cats. Fred was the last cat that I had that was not spayed or neutered.
I first discovered Trap-Neuter-Release when I was touring Rome, Italy. After I returned home I mentioned to a fellow animal lover how logical and elegant the program was. It was several years later that that friend invited me to join Alley Cat Advocates.
Barbara Ray, Volunteer
I became a caretaker of feral cats in 2007, a stray female cat came to my house in the winter of 2006. She had two kittens with her. She was almost starved and full of worms. She would eat anything. My Grad Daughter named her Jewels. She had a litter of kittens in late March. They were hidden in my neighbor’s barn. Her kitten that she brought with her had a litter of kittens in late May. Something happened to that cat, and her six kittens, only a few days old were found by my neighbor. So to make a long story short my neighbor and I raised these six kittens and found homes for all of them.
During this time Jewels started to bring her kittens out. There were five solid white kittens. They were wild. My neighbor’s husband said that they had to go. I trapped two of them and took them to KHS. I was told that they would probably be euthanized. I was so upset, but I learned later that they were put up for adoption at Petsmart. Than I learned about Alley Cat Advocates, and with the help of Jan Arnold, we trapped two of the kittens and her older kitten. They went to the Quick Fix. Jewels went to my vet.
In the winter of 2011, I began to notice all these young cats coming to eat with Jewels and her two grown kittens.I started counting. I saw fourteen cats. I contacted ACA and got on the waiting list for the Big Fix. We got in the April 2012 Big Fix. Just in time two of the cats were almost ready to have kittens. One large male was hurt. His name is Fuzzy Face and his life was saved by ACA. They did surgery on him a number of times and kept him in rehab for two months. He is now an indoor kitty, and he is very spoiled.
I volunteer my time to ACA, because I am very grateful for what they have done for the cats that I care for, and for all the other cats that they help. A few picture’s of the colony are included.