Homeless to Housecats – Stories About Cat Rescue

It seems daily that I learn something new about my cats, how to care for them better, improve their health, improve their quality of life, understand them better, and appreciate their unique gifts and personalities.

My cats have taught me so much over these last 15 years, that I wanted a way to share what I have learned. I love my cats so much that I’m constantly pursuing new ways to provide them with the best of everything — veterinary care, nutrition, comfort, contentment, safety — and yet with a multi-cat household this can be a challenge and there are big hurdles, but you just have to be willing to spend the time and make the commitment.

Each of my cats was homeless, either living on the street (my first cat), living in incredible fear at the Oakland Airport (my second cat), severely abused and brain damaged (my third cat), abused and returned twice to a local rescue organization (my fourth cat), and the list goes on with cats that I have rescued and fostered but were never adopted or were just completely unadoptable.  So naming my blog Homeless to Housecats seemed appropriate and a fitting name.

Looking back, I never set out to have more than a couple of cats. So when I reflect, it’s interesting how life has led me on this path and how one experience has led to other experiences, that finally brought me here to having a cat sanctuary of rescue cats.

Of course my decisions and choices have all brought me to this place, but also my deep compassion for animals and my desire to alleviate their suffering, homelessness, abandonment played a big part in my growing involvement and commitment. I found that as soon as I entered the world of cat rescue, my eyes were opened to a new world and the reality of how people carelessly discard and neglect their cats outside, abandon them when they move, decide they no longer want to care for them or have them as pets and take them to the shelter, or get frustrated with their behavior or a habit and just give them up.

I became acutely aware of the overpopulation of cats, the need to spay and neuter to reduce the increasing cat population, and the high rate of euthanasia throughout the country as a solution — to be challenges that collectively we needed to tackle and raise awareness about. Everywhere I went, I came to realize that many cats were living lives of quiet suffering and starvation, outside or somewhere hidden, in every community. At this point, there was no going back for me. My life was ever changed and I felt compelled to try to do something about it, and reduce the suffering and overpopulation, as well as raise awareness about these problems.

So today, along with caring for my own rescue cats, I work for the county’s largest cat rescue group; work to trap and spay/neuter homeless cats; work at our county shelter’s spay/neuter (SNIP) clinics; help manage our adoption site; produce and manage our cat rescue group’s website; feed feral cats in my neighborhood; and help the community trap-neuter-return cats to their own communities, all as a volunteer. I advocate for cats, and will always advocate for them, and want to help them to get the help they need.

This blog is my effort to share my stories and experiences, but also to raise awareness about what I’ve learned about cats along the way. It’s a journey that I’m incredibly grateful for, would never change if I could do it all over again, and one that has given me profound respect for animals in general—and cats in particular.

I cherish every day that I am blessed to share with these amazing, smart, loving, wise, sensitive, emotional creatures.

– Jennie Richards