You can be a part of history by adopting a cat from the ASPCA's largest cat rescue effort since its founding more than 146 years ago: Next weekend, August 11-12, the ASPCA and several Florida animal welfare groups are holding simultaneous adoption events in Jacksonville, Sarasota and Clearwater, for hundreds of cats rescued from horrific conditions who need permanent homes. If you've ever considered sharing your home (or barn, in the case of certain animals) with a cat, now would be a great time to adopt.
These cats have been through so much. At the Caboodle Ranch where they were rescued by the ASPCA and local officials in February, investigators found cats that were in desperate need of immediate veterinary attention. Some were having difficulty breathing; others were sneezing and lethargic. One cat was soaked in urine and feces and could not stand, and another's eyes were matted shut. Dozens of deceased cats were also discovered throughout the property.
The poor health of so many cats was not surprising when we saw their living conditions. The windows of the sick ward were smeared with mucus and blood. Animal feces and vomit were coating the floors of some of the buildings on the property. The conditions were absolutely atrocious and in no way matched the images that Caboodle Ranch promoted to the public.
Over the past five months, the ASPCA spent more than $1.7 million on our Caboodle Ranch cats rescue efforts. This includes funds spent for more than 150,000 cans of food, 140,000 pounds of cat litter, and 5,000 doses of antibiotics. More than 550 responders from 11 agencies have worked more than 85,000 man-hours to ensure that cats in our care were receiving the best of care.
Due to ongoing legal issues, we have had to hold these cats for months instead of adopting them out. During that time, the cats were fed, given water, kept clean, treated by veterinarians and given behavioral enrichment. But despite having received the best of care in our temporary facility, these cats need permanent homes with families, or barns in the case of certain cats, so that they can be given the individual attention that they deserve.
Most of the cats were left at Caboodle Ranch by people who had the best of intentions. Promotional video and photos of Caboodle Ranch showed seemingly happy cats frolicking outdoors. When some of the people who had left cats at Caboodle learned of the raid, they asked to be reunited with their former pets. We have worked with these individuals to help them find their cats, and their stories have been inspiring.
One of my favorite adoption stories involves a special woman named Iris from Texas who had been contacted by someone who worked for a veterinarian. Iris was told that one of the vet's clients was going into a nursing home and had an FIV+ cat who was going to be euthanized as a result. Iris couldn't take the cat herself, but referred the woman to Caboodle Ranch since she thought the "sanctuary" would be safe for Missy, the cat.
Iris, haunted by her recommendation of Caboodle Ranch, drove all the way from Texas to Jacksonville, Fla. to look for Missy at our temporary shelter. She was unable to find her, so instead she adopted another FIV+ cat. In addition to being FIV+ , the sweet little cat Iris adopted has no ears. "Pearl" now lives in Texas with her new mom.
Other stories have been equally moving. For example, a woman named Danica had fed two outdoor cats -- Mama and Bella -- at her office. When Danica's office moved, she was afraid that no one would continue to care for Mama and Bella, so she took them to Caboodle Ranch because she thought they would be safe. Danica has since been reunited with Mama and Bella.
And I can't forget Petunia and Moo, two cats abandoned on the front step of the Florida clinic where a veterinarian named Lynn worked and subsequently entrusted to Caboodle Ranch. Petunia is blind, and Moo is her "guardian kitty." Lynn adopted Petunia and Moo and plans to adopt the other blind cat who had been housed in the temporary shelter with Petunia. Lynn told us that Petunia and Moo "have proven to be two of the most amazing blessings in [her] life!"
Every cat we rescued is worthy of a loving home. I hope to hear hundreds more tales similar to those of Pearl, Mama, Bella, Petunia and Moo following our weekend adoption events.
You can get all the times, locations and other details about the adoption events at www.aspca.org/caboodlecats. Please share this link with other animal lovers to help spread the word about these special cats.