Volunteer Highlight: JULIE TATRO
Updated: Mar 20
Julie Tatro has known Cat by Cat Inc. director Sally Merritt-Braciak for 15 years. “Sally taught me everything I know about community cats and colony care,” Julie said. “So when she started Cat by Cat in 2020, I was proud and eager to join as a volunteer and to support this amazing organization.”
Julie fills several volunteer roles at Cat by Cat, including fostering and direct care. Her greatest love, though, is cat-colony caregiver support and trapping. “I’m boots on the ground,” she laughed. “I’m a trapper.” Julie also explained she has a special talent for trapping cats out of dangerous situations.
Trapping season starts right about now. “I firmly believe in spay/neuter for all cats, both pets and free roaming,” Julie said. "There are way too many cats in our community suffering.”
Julie has supported caretakers of numerous Buffalo cat colonies for many years. “When newcomers show up in the colonies,” she explained, “the colony caretakers call me to come trap the new cats and get them to the vet for spay/neuter, vaccinations, and any other medical treatment they need, before returning them to their colonies. This is the only humane approach to help keep the community-cat population from exploding, and the kitties themselves as healthy as possible.”
Julie is passionate about educating those who love Buffalo’s community cats about the opportunities available for getting help. “A lot of people who love these cats don’t realize how many resources for low cost spay/neuter there are,” she said.
JULIE & COURT
Late last year, Cat by Cat got a call from an officer at the Police Department & Family Court in Buffalo. The compassionate officer was leaving food for a cat she had seen on the security camera in the parking garage, and she needed assistance figuring out how best to help him.
As one of Cat by Cat’s Buffalo volunteers, Julie Tatro took charge of the situation. “At first we thought he was feral—but he was far from it,” she said. “He turned out to be the most outgoing, adventurous, and spirited little boy.” She named him Court, after where he was found, and decided to foster him.
Ten-month-old Court had taken refuge in the parking garage just before the huge winter storm that hit WNY in December. “He hadn’t grown a winter coat, which means he hadn’t been outside long,” Julie said. “We’re pretty sure he was an indoor cat who had been dumped.”
Court may have been abandoned because he’s suffering from Juvenile Gingivostomatitis, a rare, debilitating feline dental disease marked by severe inflammation of the cat’s gums and mouth. “Court’s gums are inflamed, and he sometimes cries when he tries to eat,” Julie said. “He can only eat wet food, and he’s on pain meds.”
Dr. David Hansen, a WNY veterinarian specializing in feline dental services, will be performing surgery on Court on April 25. The surgery will be expensive, but Cat by Cat will cover it. “Cat by Cat committed to Court the minute he came into our care,” Julie said. “That’s one of the reasons I have so much respect for this organization.”
Julie is optimistic about the results of the treatment. “Because Court is young, he has a good chance of complete recovery,” she said. “Once the surgery is behind him, he’ll be looking at a long, happy life in his forever home.”
Court’s surgery will cost $3,200. If you can help Cat by Cat cover this cost, please visit Julie’s Facebook fundraiser page at https://www.facebook.com/donate/1861763414203556/1861763420870222/