by Jackie Dale
Jackie is a part of Cat House On The Kings in Parlier and will be doing a monthly column on the Cat House here at KRL.
This is my first column for The Cat House on the Kings and it happens just as The Cat House is celebrating its 20-year anniversary. We would like to thank Kings River Life Magazine and Lorie Ham for giving us this opportunity to inform the public and highlight the work being done at The Cat House on the Kings. We receive very little publicity compared to some of the other rescue groups and The Cat House on the Kings receives no public funding of any kind. Founder and director, Lynea Lattanzio, has even spent a good portion of her own retirement money to keep this facility open. We rely solely on donations from our cat-loving public and twice a year we hold fundraising events.
For those unfamiliar with The Cat House on the Kings, we are a 12-acre facility located between Parlier and Reedley in the sunny San Joaquin Valley. The Cat House is a no kill, free-range sanctuary and rescue. We are the largest no-kill sanctuary in the state. Lynea’s spacious million-dollar, five bedroom home with the sunken living room and fishpond in the foyer, serves as the main adoption center. Lynea lives in a mobile home next door.
Lynea Lattanzio and her dedicated team of 25 employees work tirelessly day after day caring for the rescue’s 800+ cats and approximately 200 kittens. This writer came on board this past May to take over the duties of writing the newsletter and to assist with various other duties. Lynea spends a good part of her day on the phone. We offer low-cost spay and neuter services as well as assistance and education to cat owners. Lynea gives advice and support to feral colony caregivers and she advises people on the best ways to find homes for their cats or kittens. Lynea’s #1 piece of advice; do not advertise your kittens for free. Free to many people means “no value”. If people pay money for something, they are much more likely to take good care of it. Sometimes people do horrific things with free kittens like feed them to snakes or use them to train fighting dogs. We say that if someone cannot afford a nominal fee, say $20, then perhaps you should reconsider whether or not you can afford a cat.
One of our biggest sources of frustration is that so many people think that The Cat House on the Kings is a place to dump off the cat they no longer find convenient. Or they think that we are the place that is going to take in the kittens that have resulted from their failure to spay their cat. We are a sanctuary and rescue. That means we mainly use our space to house rescued animals. Many of these animals are considered unadoptable (i.e. old/disabled) and will remain here for life. We do take some surrendered cats but there is a substantial surrender fee. The shelter in Parlier that closed this year resulted in our taking in 47 homeless cats. A man in Madera who passed away left over 150 cats behind and we took in 51 of those cats. We receive no compensation for those kinds of rescues.
This problem was clearly illustrated by one man who called us last year. He asked us to take a litter of kittens that his cat had given birth to. We told him we were full but we offered to spay his mother kitty. “Oh no” he said. “I don’t want to spay her, my kids like kittens. These are just too big now” Lynea asked him what he did with the kittens that were “too big.” “I just take them to the supermarket or Walmart and leave them in the parking lot.” This stellar example of head-banging logic inspired one of our most popular t-shirts that reads; “You can’t fix stupid, but you can fix stupid’s pets.”
Unfortunately it is this very attitude that ranks the San Joaquin Valley as having one of the highest kill rates in the entire nation. This is a shameful claim to fame. This is the reason why this valley must consider instituting mandatory spay and neutering. Our organization places a very high emphasis on educating the public on the benefits of spaying and neutering. Areas with mandatory spay and neuter laws, such as Lake Tahoe, have virtually empty shelters. The last time we sent kittens to Lake Tahoe, they were all adopted before the van even arrived with its cargo of tiny fur balls. There must be an end to backyard breeding and puppy mills. With our overflowing animal shelters, there is simply no rhyme or reason to bring more animals into a society that is already inundated with homeless pets. I think it is safe to say that every rescue group’s greatest desire is to be put out of business!
The summer always brings a flurry of visitors to The Cat House on the Kings. We had a honeymooning couple from Italy, a young woman from the Netherlands and a traveling blogger from Canada. We even have a guest room that can be reserved for a small fee. Local area hotels have also been very accommodating in giving guests to The Cat House discounted rates. We also received a visit from Sara Lawrence of Oman. Sara was instrumental in arranging for the Middle East cats arrival in June. One of the cats that came, a three-legged cat from Kuwait, was recently adopted! Of course we had lots of American visitors as well. The shows Must Love Cats (Animal Planet) and The Lady with 700 Cats (NatGeoWild) have brought The Cat House on the Kings a lot of much needed attention. We love to get emails from our fans and supporters from all over the world.
You can help out The Cat House on the Kings in many ways. There is our website, www.cathouseonthekings.com which is chock full of information and news. There you can sign up to receive our quarterly newsletter. You can also sign up to sponsor a cat for only $15 dollars a month. “Like” us on Facebook, especially if you like pictures of cute kitties. You can check out our wish list on Amazon.com and maybe buy something for us? Or you can donate items/services for the silent auction at our upcoming Halloween fundraiser. You don’t need money to help us, you can come out and volunteer your time too.
Last but certainly not least, The Cat House on the Kings is currently in first place (barely) in a contest being held by www.animalrescuesite.com. The first prize is $5,000! We desperately could use that money. We plead for everyone to vote for the Cat House on the Kings! (Parlier, CA) You can vote EVERYDAY until September 17th. The best part is you can vote each day from every device you own. So vote from your PC, laptop, phone, tablet, etc. With just a moment of your time each day you can help The Cat House on the Kings win this contest and in turn help out a lot of deserving felines. Thanks for your support!
Another way to help Cat House is to buy an ad from Kings River Life and 10% of that ad money will go to Cat House On The Kings, you simply need to specify that they are the rescue you would like it to go to. You can learn more in this article in KRL.
Learn more about The Cat House On The Kings in this past article in KRL.