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Community Cat Fairy Godmother

Not too long ago, Margaret wasn’t a cat person—she owned a dog, and that was it. But when an injured cat showed up at her door in June 2021, she started feeding it. More cats followed to take advantage of this generous new source of nourishment. And still more. Not sure how to cope with her growing number of feline friends, Margaret called Cat by Cat Inc. for advice.

And so, at the age of eighty-something, Margaret took on the care and feeding of a community cat colony, with the able assistance of Cat by Cat volunteer Jon Braciak. She helped Jon trap the cats, and by the end of that summer everyone in the colony had been trapped, neutered, vaccinated, and returned to their Riverside neighborhood.

“Margaret took such good care of those cats,” Jon says. “Out of her own pocket, she fed them, paid for their medical care, and even built them a large cinder-block-and-plywood winter shelter, which we called ‘The Bunker’” (see photo).

Jon remembers that, during the time he and Margaret were trapping, they’d sit talking for hours, waiting for cats to visit the food they’d put out. “We were using drop traps,” he says. “When the cat comes to eat, you pull the string, and the cage drops.”

There were so many cats—20 or more—that they used the Greek alphabet to name them: Alpha, Beta Gamma, Delta, and so on.

“Margaret was really into it. She’s proof that anyone can do this, no matter what their age.”

For more information about caring for a colony of community cats, read “Best Practices: Community Cat Colony Care” at


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