Thursday, August 7, 2014

What Do You Do?

For those that don’t know what I do, I will give you a brief summary.

I get up at 4 am. 365 days a year, make my coffee, wake up enough to go out for a short drive to the inner city, Public Market area, at 5 a.m.  It doesn’t matter if it happens to be snowing, blizzarding, raining or pouring, the cats are waiting.  I feed over 50 (that I can see) at 14 different locations, all within a two or so mile radius.  At each of these 14 locations, I have shelters built.  A few of these shelters are nice, some are made out of plastic totes that are lined with Styrofoam and have straw laid on the bottom, each is enough to keep one or two cats safe from the elements, some have wooden shelters that my friend Bob has made, and Kristin and Darrin.  Most of these are rotting, so I need to replenish those spots.  Most have boards over them – I place food and water under them, in between the little huts.  I also use tarps when I can, to keep the rain out of some spots.  It’s a never ending battle really, to keep these shelters secure.  There are many people that have destroyed these spots over the years, I’ve had to rebuild, and rebuild.  Back to it, so these cats know my car, and obviously they have internal clocks because they are sitting there waiting for me, in full view, as I drive toward them.  You can see their eyes glow in the dark.

My shelters and feeding spots are in open fields (city lots – which by the way, is ‘illegal’ I’ve been told – RIDICULOUS), behind boarded up houses, and behind homeowners houses – those that permit me to feed and shelter there.

I try to spay and neuter each and every cat I encounter.  After I leave, there are other cats, for sure, mostly feral cats that won’t even be seen by a human, waiting to eat.  If I don’t’ get them spayed and neutered, they are producing the babies that I try to rescue.

My goal is to remove every cat that is adoptable from the streets, and provide them permanent safety and love with humans.  I have rescued hundreds of cats since I started doing this nearly 15 years ago.  I have found wonderful homes for hundreds of cats over the years.  I have spayed and neutered hundreds also.

All the money that it costs to do all this comes out of my very empty pocket.  My one single measly secretarial paycheck. I go through 18-20 pounds of dry food a day.  A 16-pound bag of cheap cat food is nearly $10.00.  That’s over $70.00 for seven days of food.  I also feed them wet food – I go through 20 medium sized cans of wet food a day.  That’s gold to the cats.  I don’t skimp, they have nothing else to look forward to.  They need this wet, especially in the wintertime, to coat their bellies.  On an average, I am spending nearly $120 per week just on food.  Its $50 per cat to have them spayed and neutered.  I do many TNR’s (Trap, Neuter and Release) for those that I can’t find homes for.  Its heartbreaking to me to put them back on the street.  But I have no other choice.

This is why my two friends Kristin and Pattie decided to help me.  They held a fundraiser for me last week, and it was very successful.  I had at least a hundred people come to it, some I knew, some I didn’t.  It was wonderful to meet so many people that know about me, and/or read my blog.  We raised a good amount of money.  Its enough to buy me nearly five months worth of cat food. Either that or its enough to spay and neuter 56 cats! 

I pray each day that my good health remains.  There is no one that will take my place.  I’ve had three mornings off this past year when I had to travel.  I was blessed to have my friend Sheryl feed them in my absence.  Even those three mornings, I woke at 4 am. thinking of them.  This is what I do.  It’s a thankless job, one that I am compelled to do, knowing those cats depend on me. 

Thanks for listening, thanks for being my friend.  Without you, I have nothing. 


"Never get tired of doing little things for others, sometimes those little things occupy the biggest parts of their hearts."


  1. Whew - you lost me at "I get up at 4 am" and forget about the rest! Janine, you are amazing and the kitties are ever grateful to you. We are too!! And a HUGE thanks to Laura - trapper extraordinare - such a HUGE help!! You two are the best. Thank you - Nancy C.

  2. Great job Laura!! And Janine - I am getting geared up for winterizing your spots and making them as cozy as we can. My eyes are always scanning the roadside for old furniture I can make into shelters, which I find to be lots o' fun. :) What can I say Janine? You are one in a million ♥