In recent weeks I was privileged to enjoy a luncheon hosted by Claudia Boyd Ross in the Rose Hill home of Dwight Dunton, a beautiful 18th-century farm, with Rose Jacob, Frances Sip and Laurie Counts.
They are board members plus tireless and dedicated volunteers supporting For the Cat’s Sake, an extraordinary non-profit helping our feline population. While familiar with local groups such as Rawl, Rappcats and naturally Lisa Reid’s Ragged Mountain Dogs animal rescue organizations, I had no knowledge of this enterprise and now am one of their biggest fans.
For the Cat’s Sake is three years young and founded by Frances Sip and Claudia Ross, who met while volunteering at RappCats. The group is dedicated to spaying and neutering stray, feral and domestic cats in Rappahannock and surrounding counties. According to their treasurer and main kitten foster Laurie Counts, “We seek to stabilize feral cat colonies and reduce the homeless stray cat population, while also finding homes for adoptable cats and kittens we come across during our work. We like to say we do TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release) and a whole lot more.”
The history in brief is as follows: “Rappahannock County dissolved separate funding for Animal Control in 2011, and all animal matters became the responsibility of the Sheriff’s department. The Rappahannock Animal Welfare League (RAWL) is a rescue based nonprofit that manages the daily operations of the Rappahannock County animal shelter. Partial funding is provided by Rappahannock County, but the majority comes from donors.
“Unfortunately, RAWL does not include cats so the late Franklin Schmidt and his wife Esther formed RappCats in 2007 to help the stray, abused, abandoned, and unwanted cats of Rappahannock County. RappCats receives no funding or support from the Rappahannock County government and the center can only hold up to 20 cats, a drop in the bucket compared to the total population. For the Cat’s Sake was thereby created to fill the void.”
Rose Jacob shares: “We are often helping seniors and low income residents to cope with cats that show up at their homes, and who quickly reproduce to become a colony of twenty or more cats. Fixing such a colony and providing any needed medical care can easily cost the group close to $2,000. Cats and kittens are cared for in foster care, and all the testing and vaccinations for the cats also need to be paid for so they can be adopted out. Our group places barn cats, indoor cats and indoor/outdoor cats”.
So far In 2017, their extraordinary efforts have resulted in fixing 112 cats and adopting out 43, and it’s only April. In total during their three-year operation they have fixed over 500 cats and found homes for almost 200.