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How The Lucky Few Came to Be

How we came to be

We didn’t start off with a goal of wanting to take care of 40 plus cats. We actually only had one cat that we had rescued long ago. However there has always been a soft spot in our hearts for animals and a far off distant dream of someday owning land and providing a home for lots of critters. Our current situation was as renters in Santa Barbara where homes are small and expensive with little or no yard space. Also landlords in Santa Barbara may love animals but they don’t necessarily want to rent to too many of them.

In an attempt to go back to our farming roots we moved to a beautiful old ranch north of town. The day we arrived we noticed a couple of stray cats around that would quickly disappear when we got close. Later that day we noticed a few more. When we took our trash to the dumpster we saw at least ten more going through the bins. That night we heard the sounds of fighting Toms. The next morning we saw what terrible damage they do to each other in those fights. Truly wild animals that are part of an established ecosystem are best left alone. However by domesticating certain animals we humans have made them much less able to fend for themselves and much more reliant on us. When we turn our backs on them they suffer. Very shortly after we moved to the ranch we realized there was a huge and very unhealthy feral cat population that we had landed right in the middle of. Something had to be done.

We discovered a wonderful charity called Catalyst for Cats that taught us about trapping feral cats, spaying and neutering them and then releasing them back to the wild. When they were being fixed we made sure they were tested for diseases, given shots, dewormed, and deflead. Since we live in a rural area predators are a very real threat. We just didn’t have the heart to release these fuzzy faces to the dinner table of a coyote. So we fenced in our yard, built kennels and started the lengthily process of taming them. It took about 18 months, and a lot of frayed nerves but now, three years later we have achieved a stable population and they are all happy and healthy.

Throughout the whole thing we were seriously behind the learning curve. We just did what made the most sense at the time and so consequently through dumb luck we have stumbled on techniques and systems that evidently no one else has done before. For instance we didn’t know that the common thought is that you cannot tame a feral cat if they are older than 8 weeks. We just worked with them until they were tame. See the page on Feral Cats for the full story. We have and will continue to write about these techniques in an attempt to educate people on how better to interact with animals.

Our immediate goal is to educate people through our story about the desperate need to end unwanted litters of animals and to put a personal fuzzy face on the animals whose lives we are privileged to interact with. We will also continue to trap and release within our community as much as is needed. We have a longer-range goal of buying a piece of land and turning it into an animal sanctuary. Our day job (in between cat feedings) is an event design business so we have the additional thought of turning this animal sanctuary into an event center. It would be a beautifully landscaped wooded property with barns and outbuildings perfect for weddings and events. This would also be a place where we could continue to teach people about pet overpopulation and the welfare of animals in general. Of course all the proceeds would go to the sanctuary. Just imagine the bride telling her father that he should spend more on her wedding because it will help the animals. The animals will be living large I am sure!

So in a rather large nutshell that is the story of how we came to be and what we hope to become. If you are interested in helping us financially first and foremost thank you very much. Visit our donation “feed the belly” page for more details as to how to do that. Thank you again for your time and interest!

Progenitors of Many Cats