FOR THE LOVE OF CATS
Naomi & Karina Paape
Dear fellow felines. Welcome back to kitty paradise! Not much has changed since you left last spring. But be advised, there are still too many predators for us to be outdoor kitties. We have bobcats, coyotes, hawks, eagles, panthers, black bears, the occasional python, and at least one lynx. But who can complain?
We get the run of the lanai where we can chase geckos, nap in the sun, shed all over our human’s nice, rattan furniture, and drink out of the pool. But too many geckos makes for an upset tummy, and too low of a water level in the pool can find us taking an unplanned plunge. Fortunately, most of us are the fastest things on four paws when it comes to leaping out of the water. I know at least one of you who doesn’t even get his head wet. Way to go Tanner!
Oops! I haven’t introduced myself. For those of you out of the loop, my name is Naomi and I am the supervisor at For the Love of Cats, that most wonderful no-kill cat shelter on Marco Island which recently celebrated its tenth anniversary. Our shelter is funded by generous donations from the community and is staffed by 70 volunteers. Naturally, it is my job to keep all of these humans in line.
Thanks to these fine folks I was rescued three years ago from homelessness and dumpster diving and given a “forever home.” That’s what we in shelter circles call it when one of our homeless kittens or cats gets adopted. First we’re rescued, then we get adopted, usually during adoption weekends at Petsmart in Naples, or through those great photos of our most recent acquisitions on our website. We even put pictures of our newest fuzzy orphans in the local newspapers.
I call us orphans because we’ve lost our homes and our humans so we must fend for ourselves. We become strays and hang out near dumpsters in search of food. Many of our kittens are born in the wild because their mommas got dumped for being pregnant. Isn’t that mean? After all, it was the humans who failed to get us spayed in the first place.
It will probably surprise you to learn that approximately 2,000 cats and kittens have come through our shelter doors in the past ten years. The reasons vary: some get tired of loving us when we are no longer cute little kittens; others get sick of cleaning litter boxes; a few discover they have cat allergies; and some decide that we are snobs for not being lap cats.
One of our proudest achievements has been our trap-neuter-return (TNR) program which has reined in what was once a huge problem on Marco Island: overpopulation via feral (undomesticated) cats. Over the years we have TNR’d at local hotels, restaurants, condominium complexes, grocery stores, shopping centers, churches, the estates, and gated communities. Ferals live in managed “colonies” and are recognizable by their notched left ears. Our volunteers currently feed approximately 300 of these kitties every day, 365 days a year.
Enough about those orphans; let’s talk about me. I am a “tortie,” officially known as a tortoiseshell. I am like a calico, but far superior because I don’t have a stitch of white fur. You and your humans can watch me in action as I conduct the shelter’s virtual tour on our aforementioned cool website, www.fortheloveofcatsfl.com.
Now that I have gotten our shelter, our volunteers, and our founders – Jim and Jan Rich – trained and organized, I thought it was time to share my extraordinary wisdom with your humans. You will thank me when I enlighten them about litter box management and how to properly play with you. But you might get a little hissy when I give them pointers on how to trim your nails or get you guys and gals into that awful thing known as a “cat carrier.” Being the most esteemed tortie that I am, I insist that my feline charges exhibit good manners. I do not tolerate biting, growling, reckless climbing, not using the litter box, bullying, stealing food, or unwarranted hissing.
Since everyone knows that cats don’t have thumbs, two of my staff – remember, dogs have owners while we felines maintain a staff- have volunteered to help with the word processing and other important writing tasks: our founder Jan Rich, and one of our volunteers – Karina Paape.
Our reasons for tackling the betterment of your lives with humans? Well sillies…
For the Love of Cats of course!
Naomi is a 4 year old Tortie and a permanent resident at FLC. She is the shelter supervisor and takes her salary in food. She would love for you to learn more about For the Love of Cats at its website, www.floridacatrescue.com