Cat by Cat Medina team celebrates success stories on first anniversary
Updated: Feb 13
February marks our Medina team’s one-year anniversary with Cat by Cat Inc. “These dedicated volunteers are making connections and building bridges to help more people help more cats in the Medina community and surrounding rural area,” said Sally Merritt Braciak, Cat by Cat’s executive director. “We are proud to have them on our team and look forward to continuing our exciting partnership in 2023.”
“The team of three—Shannon, Ellen and Janice—were making a huge impact even before they joined Cat by Cat in 2022,” Sally continued. “The addition of this team to our group has had a positive impact on everyone (and every cat) involved.”
Team leader Shannon Blount is amazed at how many cats and kittens her team helped last year. “When I saw the numbers I was blown away,” she said. “Between three team members and a few other volunteers, we took care of more than 80 kitties and facilitated 56 adoptions. We also trapped and handled 140 to 150 community cats for Cat by Cat’s TNVR (Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Return) program.” .” These numbers are amazing, considering that two of the three team members, and all the volunteers, work full time.
“My mom, Janice, who is 75, fostered a whopping 38 kittens last year,” Shannon said. “I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished with the help of our foster volunteers and community partners.
You’d think that in a small rural town like Medina, such efforts to get stray and community cats neutered would bring about a decrease in numbers, but that’s not the case. “Because we’re out in the country,” Shannon said, “people dump their cats here. They see something that looks like a farm and hope their kitty will find a home there. And abandoned cats multiply quickly.”
“We’re trying to do the right thing,” Shannon said, “but there are so many cats it’s hard to know where to start.” The Medina team hopes to develop a program in their community to raise money to help financially struggling people get their cats and the community cat colonies they care for neutered.
“Another initiative we’d like to work toward in 2023 is reaching out to the vets in the county to let them know we’re here and hopefully find a way to work together to help more cats.”
“The thing is, the six or seven vets in this county are already inundated with more animals than they can care for. But we’ve got to start somewhere.”
Shannon has been building community partnerships and educating people to change perceptions about the treatment of community cats. “I am called to educate others,” she said. “If you know better, you do better.”
Medina Success Stories: Told by Shannon Blount
We called him “The Library Cat.” One day, a large, friendly black kitty started hanging around the Medina library. The library staff put food outside for him and named him Lenny. He desperately wanted inside, which wasn’t possible. So the staff posted his picture on their social media pages, trying to find out if Lenny was lost. Nobody claimed this sweet and friendly boy, so they called me to help figuring out what to do with him.
I determined that Lenny was healthy, but I didn’t have room for him at home. So the library spread the word again, person to person and through Facebook, looking for a home or someone to foster Lenny.
A community member and library patron offered to foster Lenny. Cat by Cat got Lenny fixed and vetted, and he is still in foster care. Shannon said, “We feel Lenny could be a good ‘Foster Guardian’ kitty, enabling him to stay with his foster mom as long as she’s comfortable caring for him, and then Cat by Cat would take him back when she is no longer able to do so.”
It takes a village! Everyone worked together to find Lenny a loving foster home.
Walter’s story started with a community inquiry. Someone called and said, “We have taken in this stray cat. He is incredibly sweet, but something is wrong.” They loved Walter and wanted to keep him, but they couldn’t afford a large vet bill. Most likely Walter had been abandoned, and he was lucky to find a family who loved him.
We brought Walter to a vet who partners with Cat by Cat, and it turned out he had a terrible infection in his jaw and teeth. Once they got the infection under control, they had to pull all his teeth—a tremendously expensive undertaking that Cat by Cat paid for from its Medina fund.
We’d done pretty well fundraising. The week after Thanksgiving, the people who organize the Home for the Holidays 5K chose the Cat by Cat Medina team as a beneficiary and presented us with a check for $1,000. As it happened, this just covered Walter’s vet bill. Walter is now healthy and happy, living with his new family.
HAPPILY EVER AFTER
Right after Christmas, a loving family from Tonawanda adopted three of our kittens—not something that happens often. Two were brothers, Toby and Keith, and the third, Wiggles, was a younger kitten they fell in love with. We were worried Toby and Keith would be hard to place as they were older, bonded kittens who were very shy and often hid from new people. But in this family was a cat whisperer, 10-year-old boy Matthew, who, along with his 4-year-old brother Zach, knew just how to make the young kitties feel safe and welcome. So the family took all three, and it’s working out beautifully!