“I thought this was just going to be about ten people in the church basement with a few cats,” a friend said when she arrived.
“We couldn’t find a parking space!” said another.
And that’s not a complaint but a very surprised compliment to the organization and the amount of support shown for homeless cats at FosterCat’s Annual Benefit Spaghetti Dinner Saturday, September 8, 2012 at Wallace Memorial Presbyterian Church in Green Tree.
From my table as a vendor I was guessing there had been at least 200 people during the three-hour event, but the true count comes from the number of dinners that were served. “We don’t have an exact number but we served more that 250 — probably closer to 275,” said Alexa Howald, Vice President and founder of FosterCat, Inc., who was on KP duty for the event.
An early estimate for what the event raised was over $5,000 from ticket sales for the dinner, Chinese auction and raffles. Alexa also noted that people had bought tickets even though they couldn’t attend. That makes it the biggest fundraising event for this small all-volunteer organization.
The Chinese auction included about 60 individual items donated from friends, supporters and businesses including things intended for cat lovers as well as tickets to sports and cultural events, small appliances, household goods and just plain goodies, edible and otherwise. There was also a 50/50 raffle where the winner knew he might not be present and had marked his ticket to simply donate the money back to FosterCat if he won. He won, FosterCat got the entire amount from sales of the 50/50 tickets.
The feline in attendance from one of FosterCat’s many foster homes was Jonas, a Maine Coon-like long-haired tabby kitty who was a little concerned about the noise and number of people, hence the big eyes, though he’s regularly mellow and friendly. Jonas, his litter mate Jordan, a long-haired black kitty and their Mom, Lorelei were rescued from the streets of West Mifflin earlier this year. All are still waiting for homes, cared for by one of FosterCat’s families, and you can find them on the Adopt Me page on FosterCat’s website.
I was also pleased to meet friends in cat rescue around Pittsburgh who I’ve only known from internet communications. It was so nice to finally meet Michelle Miller from the Homeless Cat Management Team in person as well as Steffi, Beth, Randy and Linda.
I like to eat and socialize, but I can never get enough of “talking shop”. Part of the fun of attending a cat-related event is meeting others who make feline-inspired or sell their wares to support felines. I had a brief chance to speak with each of them, and I’ll be visiting them again later in future articles.
This year I got to meet Catula, Dracula’s Cat also known as Sunny, a rescued Cornish Rex who is an inspiration to Melissa Haas, author of Catula: the Misadventures of Dracula’s Cat. Truly inspired by Sunny, short for Sunshine Melissa wrote and illustrated a book of Sunny’s supposed nighttime exploits. There must be something in a Rex cat’s DNA that invites dressing up as along with Sunny I’ve seen a few others dressed in interesting costumes…
I don’t know how Terry Kelly’s cat Melvin can have a normal life with his mom making high-test catnip toys all day! You’ve seen these same mice in photos of my cats who’ve received them as gifts (gifts to them, not me) and absolutely adore them. In addition to the mice pictured, Terry also makes mega mice for cats who want a struggle, pyramids, fishes, minnows, cat tail, snakes, acorns, hairballs and carrots, and for the holidays, trees and stockings in fleece or cotton depending on the style of toy. Apparently after the dinner plenty of cats were greeted with humans bearing gifts of mice…from T Kelly’s Katnip Toys.
Norma Clouse of Catmint Creations began making beaded earrings several years ago to sell at Pittsburgh animal rescue fundraisers, and donates 15% of gross sales to two Pittsburgh animal organizations, FosterCat, Inc. or Animal Protectors of New Kensington, including sales in her Etsy shop. The earrings are made of semi-precious stones along with high quality glass beads and Swarovski crystal. Instead of my cats I have received some of Norma’s earrings as gifts, and I really should have gotten that pair with the green beads in this picture.
As I mentioned, I’ll be talking with Melissa, Terry and Norma for a profile in the coming month, and I look forward to learning more about them and their cats and their techniques and inspirations.
I didn’t get a chance to photograph the kitchen staff, for which they are probably grateful. FosterCat would like to recognize its major donors for the dinner in the Moonlite Cafe in Brookline (pasta, salad, salad dressing for the third year in a row) and Bethel Park Printing for the tickets (7th year). Nickles Bakery donated the rolls for the 7th year. Deb Chebatoris of Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation donated the cookies as well as auction items and a host of others donated items for the auction.
If you couldn’t attend but still want to help FosterCat and its network of foster homes, you can always make a donation at their website, www.fostercat.org.
Foster homes needed
FosterCat continues to seek foster parents, who are willing and able to provide temporary care for kitties in their homes until permanent homes for them are found. We absorb all vet costs and will also cover the cost of supplies, if requested. Interested parties may complete a foster parent application via their website at www.fostercat.org.
FosterCat incorporated in October, 1999 and began operations in mid 2000. They have placed over 1050 cats and kittens in the intervening years. Foster Cat, Inc. is an all-volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to the proposition that all cats and kittens deserve safe, loving, permanent homes. Their foster parents provide temporary care in their homes for cats and kittens until they can be placed for adoption.
FosterCat provides training and support, medications, food and litter as needed, and absorbs all veterinary expenses associated with the care of their kitties. If you love kitties and would like to be a part of our lifesaving team, consider opening your heart and home to cats or kittens in need. We promise you won’t regret it! If you can’t foster, you can still help save lives as a volunteer or supporting member. Visit FosterCat’s website for details.
Whenever I have an opportunity to do pay forward a donation, FosterCat is always one of my chosen recipients. They’ve helped me with a few of my rescues, and with just a group of volunteers have saved hundreds of cats, from bottle-fed neo-natal kittens to seniors. Adopting a cat from them will immediately open space for another cat to be fostered in a home until adoption.
You can also read about other cats FosterCat has for adoption on The Creative Cat.
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 purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.