Foundation rescues cats amidst recession

September 25, 2009 7:26:57 PM PDT
ABC7's initial report on an effort to help unwanted and abandoned kittens and cats in the Bay Area was responded to with the generous donations of several thousand dollars to the Safe Cat Foundation. It really made a difference, but more help is badly needed.

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"Twinkle" the cat is as curious as she is cute. Think of Twinkle as the poster-kitty for a heartbreaking problem. So is Tigger. Adopted last December, he had a happy home until hard times made him expendable.

"He's just one of probably hundreds of stories in the Bay Area right now, of people losing their homes and being forced to give up their animals," explained Marla Rogozin, co-founder of Safe Cat Foundation.

Rogozin is watching it happen over and over again.

To cat-lovers of course, all the cats seem like a good choice, irresistible. They certainly are to the Hall family. On a recent Saturday in Clayton, they went to a Safe Cat Foundation adoption event.

"It's really nice having pets in the house, something that you can come home to that will jump in your lap when you're doing homework or up studying for a test, and they're still there with you," says Ted Hall.

Emma made the family's choice and she sure is smitten with a kitten.

"Okay well, she's 4-months-old about, or five, and she's really sweet and mellow, and she'll let you hold her. And, you can pet her and she's always purring," she told ABC7.

It was a perfect match with a happy ending. Sadly, those happy endings are harder to come by now. The recession has made an already serious problem much worse.

"It couldn't be tougher. With people losing their homes, the amount of animals that are being surrendered, it's filling up the shelters and making it more and more difficult to try to keep ahead of the euthanasia list, and to make sure those that are there can get out," Rogozin explained.

For example, one day recently, Safe Cat went into a local animal shelter. There were 43 cats on the euthanasia list that day. Safe Cat was able to take out nine to try to adopt out. That left 34 cats to be put to sleep that one day.

For Safe Cat Foundation co-founder Elise Stewart, the numbers are discouraging. But, they do not keep her from taking on some long odds.

"I specialize in taking in the animals that need recovery or that need extensive medical treatment," she said. "It's something I'm good at."

Safe Cat saved Hobbles, a three-legged cat. The poor thing was badly injured and at a kill shelter when Stewart got the call. Hobbles may be missing a leg, but has a gentle nature and now, a fighting chance.

Ty Miller likes the idea of a pet that did not come from a store. He is looking for playful and sweet.

"I've always cared for the well-being of animals. So, I'd rather adopt a cat that needs a home than just buy a cat that will be fine having another home," he says.

For anyone worried about adopting a rescued animal, Stewart explained the Safe Cat guarantee.

"If they end up with a medical condition that you can't afford, we'll take them back. We get treatments at vets a lot cheaper than you do, so we will take them back and get them fixed up," she said.

That is reassuring to hear. But, Jan Linnekin of San Ramon has been sold on adopting her pets ever since she was a little girl.

"We went to shelters for our kitties and dogs. Yeah, there are so many cats and dogs and all kinds of animals that need a home. So, definitely help the ones that need it," she said.

Linnekin recently picked two cats to help, Chester, an older lap cat for her, and Quentin for her kids. The two new additions to her family are two more cats saved.

But, so many more are getting left behind.

Link: Safe Cat Foundation

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