Donna K. has been working with a colony of feral cats in Northeast Ohio for the last three months. And in those few short months, the 12 cats that she has been able to TNR are now happier and healthier. She still has a few more to go, but Donna is determined and committed to TNRing the rest of the group, along with providing continual care and food.
A conversation with Donna
How did you come into caring for the colony?
Driving by this area twice a day, I kept noticing what I thought was one white cat. I stopped to feed it and put out a shelter and that is when three came out of hiding. A few days later, I stopped and found the owner of the property/building and I inquired about the cats. He then told me there are about 12-14 cats. I have documented at least 21 cats living there.
What is the environment like where the colony lives?
Not a good area and it is basically a mess… pallets and old computers/ink cartridges everywhere. Just a real junky spot.
Can you describe what you do for the 20+ colony of cats?
I feed them twice a day – food/water – and have put about a dozen shelters on the property for them.
Have you ever taken in one that seemed adoptable?
I thought a few might be adoptable, but that truly isn’t the case. They are happy living where they are.
What is the hardest part about caring for them?
Hoping to adopt some out, but finding out that it is not possible.
What is the best part about caring for them?
Knowing I am giving them a better, healthier life, with no reproduction for any of them.
What would you say is the most common misconception about TNR?
Most people would turn their back and say… oh they are just cats… they live outside… it’s not my problem. In reality, it is the fault of humans for not spaying/neutering their pets.
Does anyone else in the community help you?
I have a rescue group that is helping me with the surgeries, and I’m pleading to the community for donations of food.
Have you encountered any criticism from anyone?
No, not at all… although most of my friends and family think I am a crazy cat lady. I AM! The owner of the property has been helpful with allowing me to do this – he is appreciative. What started out with just one or two cats has clearly become a bigger problem for him. People just drop off their cats at this location and abandon them.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting a TNR program?
DO it… you will be happy that you did. Helping the voiceless and homeless cats is so rewarding.
About how much food does it take to care for the colony?
I go through about 40 lbs of dry food and about 100 cans of wet food a week.
How do you cover the expenses?
I have spent about $400 of my own money on food before I received some help from the rescue.
Is there a TNR kitty that stands out in your mind?
My sweet Lucky boy – my first one TNR’d. He is always there to greet me when I come to feed. He comes relatively close to me, and I believe he has since learned to forgive me (for the TNR). He has learned his name (I name all of the cats), and he responds to it. He now knows I am only there to help.
Are there any resources you can recommend regarding TNR?
Join some support groups on Facebook, local rescue groups are always willing to help, and the internet is very helpful in finding information.
Do you have any pets at home?
I have two rescue cats of my own and a 12-year-old Lab/Springer Spaniel dog that we rescued from the pound as a pup.
Anything else we should know about you?
I have always been one to help, and it feels so good to be able to help these babies!
A big thank you to Donna for caring for this colony of feral cats. Their lives are entirely better because of you! You can connect with Donna on Instagram and keep up with her progress. If you’d like to help Donna feed these sweet kitties, you can support Donna through her Amazon Wish List.