I saw the kitty above when I was on one of my local trails on a dark and dreary weekend just before Thanksgiving a few years ago. Judging by where I was when I saw him and the state of his fur I would guess this kitty did not have a home to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. As he moved away and crossed the trail I could see a kink in his tail and ripples through his fur, signs of scars and a life lived outdoors.
I had nothing to catch him with, I was on my bicycle and rain was threatening, and I decided against any type of pursuit. “You can’t save them all,” I have always had to tell myself.
But I should save the ones I can save, and while I may not have been able to catch this kitty that day or return with a trap and food later, I can always support someone who can or the network of organizations that help all animals.
Therefore, on Black Friday, keep kitties like this guy in mind as you plan your activities.
You can support a local TNR effort with a donation or even volunteer efforts at a clinic. If you know someone who manages a colony, take advantage of Black Friday sales to buy cat food and give it to them, or donate to help them care for the cats they manage. In fact…
The Story of 38
My designated rescue group for “Holiday Cheer for Homeless Cats and their Caretakers” (more on this below) is Frankie’s Friends, and if there was ever any doubt about the number of cats they help with the good they do, and the power of people working together, here’s a Thanksgiving story to eliminate any doubts at all. Thanks to Samantha Ginsburg working through Kopy Kat Sanctuary for sharing this and Randi Krohmaly for the photos.
. . . . . . .
On this Thanksgiving we would like to tell you about the story of a colony of 38 cats. This is a wonderful example of compassionate people coming together to make a difference for some kitties in need. In a small municipality outside of Pittsburgh one colony caretaker had been trying to get help to fix his cats for a couple of years. Unfortunately it had to reach 38 but here we go…
Step 1: He reached out to one rescuer, (M) who provided all the information he would need and she put her rescuer friends in motion. We are grateful to all the kind people who volunteer their time.
Step 2: Several rescuers loaned us their traps. A couple of rescuers rounded them all up and delivered 40 traps to this caretaker’s house. We are thankful for everyone always being kind enough to donate their traps.
Step 3: (M) arranged for Frankie’s Friends mobile surgical unit to be at the site of this colony last Sunday [November 24] to do surgeries all in one day. This meant (M) paid for the whole colony to be spayed/neutered out of her own hard earned funds! We are thankful that there are people out there are so very generous.
Step 4: The caretaker planned for 3 days of trapping prior to the mobile unit’s arrival on Sunday. He fed everyone in the traps for 1-1/2 days to get them familiar with the traps. He caught everyone in less than 24 hours!!! We are thankful for the caretakers that step up and take hands on action.
Step 5: The whole colony was spayed/neutered. Kittens are currently being fostered and socialized with hope of adoption in near future.
Mission accomplished! The colony is healthy, happy, released and no more unwanted kittens! The caretaker is continuing to feed and love them.
We work hard and give all we can, but we still need people to donate funds to step up to help sponsor more cat spay/neuters. Please consider donating.
Frankie’s Friends Cat Rescue has a custom designed mobile unit that is fully equipped for surgery and treatment of animals requiring veterinary care. They have performed over hundreds of surgeries in the unit to date, and are pleased to work with other animal rescue organizations who are dedicated to providing high quality but low cost care to needy animals.
Holiday Cheer for Homeless Cats and Their Caretakers
Donate a gift certificate, get a gift certificate
Help homeless cats come in off the streets, get veterinary care, shelter and food like The Story of 38, above—make a donation that helps people help cats, and I will give you a $10 gift certificate to my shop, now through the end of 2013.
We may call this Trap-Neuter-Return or TNR or simply rescue. It’s far more than just grabbing homeless cats and spaying or neutering them, returning them to their outdoor home; there’s a network of assistance behind what rescuers do to help them with this rescue and care for outdoor cats, offering food and materials if they can’t afford it on their own and low-cost veterinary care for a cat they’ve rescued or a foster or outdoor cat they are caring for.
The Homeless Cat Management Team (HCMT) and Frankie’s Friends provide that network of care to rescuers in the Pittsburgh area, loaning out traps, networking rescuers, providing low-cost or free spay/neuter clinics at least monthly and making low-cost emergency veterinary care available to rescuers as well as distributing food and even shelters to those who are caring for rescues in their homes or community cats living outdoors.
$10 gets you $10
There are two ways you can help this effort by making even a small tax-deductible donation to Frankie’s Friends for HCMT and their network of rescuers and caretakers through a donated gift card or with cash, and I’ll give you a $10 gift certificate to my Etsy shop for you to use for your holiday shopping, to give as a gift, or keep for later, good for $10.00 off your order of $25.00 or more. And don’t forget that both cash and gift cards are fully tax-deductible as charitable contributions unless you are receiving a gift from the organization you are donating to—but you’re not receiving a gift from Frankie’s Friends, the gift comes from me, and I’m doing this of my own free will and get no benefit from Homeless Cat Management Team or Frankie’s Friends for it.
Make a donation
A cash donation will help support the low-cost veterinary care that has saved many lives and, most importantly, prevented the births of many kittens. And Frankie’s Friends also treats dogs in many of their low-cost clinics in Tarentum and in the mobile van, so you are helping prevent puppies as well, and also helping rescued dogs with low-cost veterinary care.
Here’s what you do:
1. Go to the Frankie’s Friends website and make a donation of at least $10.00.
2. The donation is made through PayPal which has a “notes” section. Note that this is through “The Creative Cat Holiday Cheer for Homeless Cats”, or just “The Creative Cat”.
3. Email your confirmation to me, or simply email me that you donated cash through the Holiday Cheer program. Please let me know if you’d like to be acknowledged publicly at the end of the campaign with just your name, no donation amount. Your name will not be used without your permission to publish it.
4. Frankie’s Friends will email me to confirm your donation.
5. I will reply to your email with your numbered gift certificate attached.
Donate gift cards electronically
Help HCMT and Frankie’s Friends continue to provide much-needed food and supplies to rescuers and caretakers by donating a gift card for pet supplies and they can purchase food and supplies tailored for the animals they are caring for. Petco, PetSmart and WalMart are each convenient to the HCMT clinic in Tarentum where the TNR clinics are held and the veterinary care happens, and where the materials are collected and distributed, so gift cards from these three would be most appreciated.
Here’s what you do:
1. Go to the Petco, PetSmart or WalMart website and purchase an electronic gift card for at least $10.00.
2. Designate it as a gift to “Frankie’s Friends”.
3. In their “notes” section (most have one for gifts), note that this is through “The Creative Cat Holiday Cheer for Homeless Cats”, or just “The Creative Cat” so Frankie’s Friends knows where it came from.
4. To complete the gift card, here is their contact information:
Mailing Address: Frankie’s Friends Cat Rescue, P.O. Box 161, Tarentum, PA 15084
Phone Number: 724-889-7011
5. Email your confirmation to me, or simply email me that you donated a gift card through the Holiday Cheer program. Please let me know if you’d like to be acknowledged publicly at the end of the campaign with just your name, no donation amount. Your name will not be used without your permission to publish it.
6. Frankie’s Friends will email me to confirm your donation.
7. I will reply to your email with your numbered gift certificate attached.
If you’re not comfortable purchasing it on the internet, you can purchase it in person and mail it to them using the address above. Simply include a note that it’s part of “The Creative Cat Holiday Cheer for Homeless Cats”, or just “The Creative Cat”, and make sure you include your email address. They will contact me when they receive it and I will send your gift certificate.
How to use your gift certificate
Your gift certificate will have a code that will be active for use in my Etsy shop until December 31, 2013. This code is entered at checkout for your $10.00 discount. But if you are shopping elsewhere on one of my pages or you’d like to use the discount toward a commissioned portrait or in person, you’ll just need to give me your name and the certificate number and I’ll either manually discount your order or refund $10.00 to you.
Feel free to use your certificate for your holiday shopping, for your post-holiday shopping, or to give as a gift. For my own accounting purposes, I’d like to keep all the transactions within this calendar year.
Other ways you can help in your local area
Choose a shelter in your area or find a small rescue and make a donation, or buy a case or two of canned cat or dog food to donate to your local shelter and deliver it on Black Friday—or any Friday!
Many shelters have wish lists published on their websites including things they need or would like to have but can’t quite afford or which will offset operating costs, and on these lists you’ll find the usual stuff such as food and litter, but also items that might surprise you such as office furniture, cleaning supplies, even a car. Check the lists and see if there is anything you can supply.
These are just a few things you can do today to turn the consumer power of Black Friday to the good of animals. Make sure the animals or the people who help them are on your list.
Browse some rescued cats and kittens!
All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.