Two local women help cats find homes

December 26, 2008 8:19:58 PM PST
The weak economy is proving to be tough on animals as well as people. A number of local animal shelters are seeing an increase in the number of pets given-up by their owners.

And sadly, many of those animals are euthanized. But some are being saved.

Just about every weekend of the year, Marla Rogozin introduces cats to people she hopes will adopt them. A few miles away, at a pet store in San Ramon, Elise Stewart is doing the same thing.

"Pepper is 6-years-old and Silver is 5-years-old. They are two housemates that were declaws. Woman: Oh, look at that nose," said Stewart.

The two women have both spent years rescuing abandoned cats. A few months ago, they realized they could do even more together. They started an organization called Safe Cat Foundation.

"We believe in looking at animals as they are, not based on a chart of adoptability or if they are going to cost too much. But we look on every animal as a life and something we want a chance to save," said Elise Stewart from Safe Cat Foundation.

Marla and Elise make constant trips to east bay shelters, where they rescue cats about to be euthanized. Since February, they've already saved 450.

"I choose to work on the cats that really need to be rescued. The ones that other groups will overlook because of their age or medical condition," said

The two women do everything they can to get the cats adopted. They are all spayed or neutered, and a few local veterinarians provide low cost medical care.

One of the little guys has only one eye - and it's damaged. But he's still full of fun.

"I find with most of the kittens with eye problems, they have the best personalities. It hasn't phased them one bit," said Rogozin.

Most shelters don't have the resources to treat animals with serious health problems. And it can be hard to assess a cat's personality when it's in a cage.

Even the sweetest cats can seem aggressive, when they're really just scared. For those cats, volunteer rescue workers like Marla and Elise are -- literally "lifesavers."

"It's up to the rescue groups to go in there and make a second assessment of those animals and then get them out, put them in a home environment for foster and then you get to see what the cat's personality really is," said Rogozin.

Elise's family is providing a foster home for Try-Pawed. Try-Pawed is a three legged cat about 3-years-old. He's not fast, but he is healthy and affectionate. He even tried to snuggle up to our camera.

After weeks of being hauled from one adoption event to another, Try-Pawed is still waiting for a home.

"As you do it, you realize each one you adopt out means there's another one you can save," said Stewart.

Safe Cat Foundation's biggest challenge right now is a group of 15 cats found abandoned on an island in the Delta. A boater happened to find them, and saw they were desperate for food and attention.

"The worst part is they were nice cats, social, friendly, loving, affectionate cats," said Rogozin.

The Safe Cat Foundation went into action. They found a temporary home for the group at an animal boarding facility called Dan and Dave's Country Inn in Clayton.

"The cats are doing really well. They just kind of came in the environment and -just like they were at home," said Denise Eberle from Dan & Dave's Country Inn.

Some of the cats had health problems which are being taken care of, but many are ready for adoption right away.

Of course, all of this costs a lot. Safe Cat relies heavily on donations. They are in a constant search for both funding, and permanent homes for wonderful pets.

"We can't save them all, but we don't want to stop trying," said Stewart.

ABC7 salutes Marla Rogozin and Elise Stewart for helping connect so many cats with people to love them. Related Link:

  • Safe Cat Foundation

    Written and produced by Jennifer Olney.


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