The Medina Team: A Passion for Cats!
Medina, population not quite 6,000, is a thriving village about an hour’s drive northeast of Buffalo. Overflowing with history, it once provided good and services to canal-boat traffic; today, it’s a thriving, picturesque community that welcomes tourists and maintains its close-knit, American-small-town identity.
Medina is home to hundreds—maybe thousands—of Community Cats, unowned felines who can’t live indoors and rarely socialize with humans. Fortunately for these challenged kitties, Medina is blessed with a trio of dedicated women who have made improving the lives of community cats and finding loving homes for kittens and friendly strays their mission.
“It's not the cats’ fault,” says Shannon Blount, longtime Medina cat rescuer. “Human beings created this problem, and only human beings can do something about it.” Shannon, along with partners Janice Strianese and Ellen Blanc, are doing something about it. They are avid practitioners of TNVR (Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Return), and all three care for kittens waiting for their forever homes.
“The three of us keep kittens until we can adopt them out,” Shannon says. “Right now, we have fourteen kittens, three in foster situations and eleven in our homes.” Janice, Shannon’s mom, bottle feeds the little ones who are too young to be without their mothers. Shannon estimates that they’ve housed hundreds of kittens over the years. And now that the Medina Team has partnered with Cat by Cat, Inc., they are grateful that CEO Sally Braciak helps out when they have too many kittens to handle.
It was last October when the Medina “cat ladies” and Cat by Cat found each other. “We were involved in a TNVR project on Glenwood Avenue,” Shannon remembers. “Between October 2021 and June 2022, we TNVR’d fifty cats just on that one street!” Shannon met Sally by chance when they had both taken cats to the low-cost spay/neuter clinic, Operation Pets.
“We got to talking,” Shannon says, “and Sally offered to pick up my Medina TNVR kitties from Operation Pets when she retrieved hers and take them back to the Cat by Cat shelter in East Amherst, where I was able to pick them up. It was a much shorter drive for me.”
Over the next months Shannon and Sally communicated frequently, and they finally decided, “Why reinvent the wheel?” Shannon had been thinking about establishing a nonprofit in Medina, but she dreaded the bureaucracy and headaches involved. After several conversations with Sally, Shannon, Janice and Ellen decided to work under the umbrella of Cat by Cat’s 501(c)3 instead. Now, Cat by Cat helps the Medina Team by arranging spay/neuter appointments and vet care, sheltering overflow cats, and providing other support as needed.
On July 9, the Medina Team raised $10,000 for Cat by Cat with a Tattoo & Basket Raffle Fundraiser. Local businesses donated 80 baskets and gift certificates for the raffle, and Canalside Tattoo artists provided 60 tattoos and body piercings for a suggested donation of $100 each. The money the Medina team raised will stay local to assist cats and kittens in Medina and surrounding areas in Orleans County, including Albion and Lyndonville.
“We are excited to welcome Shannon, Ellen, and Janice, our Medina Team, into the Cat by Cat, Inc., family,” says CEO Sally Braciak. “It is refreshing to embrace such passionate people who see the future as we at Cat by Cat do. A vision where people in our community are proud to say, “We care for our free-roaming Community Cats through targeted TNVR practices.”