The Cat House on the Kings: Open House, Makeovers & More

Oct 25, 2014 | 2014 Articles, Animal Rescue Adventures, Jackie Dale

by Jackie Dale

Jackie is a part of Cat House On The Kings in Parlier and does a monthly column on the Cat House here at KRL.

Okay people, next weekend is The Cat House on the Kings big Fall Festival Open House. I hope you all have marked your calendars, made sure you had the day off from work and are ready for some fun and lots of kitty lovin’! Remember to bring an admission donation: bleach, pine cleaner, paper towels, scoopable litter and/or of course, cat food. We use both canned food and dry food. Please note that we try to avoid dry cat food with brightly colored pieces of kibble. Something about the dye used to color the food messes with the urinary tract of the male cats. We look forward to seeing each and every one of you on November 1, from 10 a.m.–2 p.m.

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Trees, Makeovers and Calendars

The Cat House on the Kings has recently partnered up with Tree Fresno, and on October 17 volunteers arrived at The Cat House to assist with the planting of trees in the open acreage. Landscape designer and certified arborist, Susan Stiltz, directed the volunteers in planting the Pistache and fruitless Mulberry trees. There is still plenty of space left, so if you would like to donate a tree, it would be greatly appreciated; you can donate it in someone’s memory if you like. For more information contact Beth Caffrey at beth@cathouseonthekings.

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Lynea supervises the tree planting.

The Cat House on the Kings is the Grand Prize Winner in the “Hauspanther” (online magazine) “Ultimate Cat Shelter Makeover Contest.” The Cat House garnered the most votes to win, among other things, a “Catified” room makeover complete with $1,000 of cat products donated by The Vertical Cat and a designer cat toy assortment from “Hauspanther.” We would like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for The Cat House. You came through for us again!

The time to pre-order your Cat House on the Kings calendars ends this Sunday, October 26. There will be some calendars available for purchase after the pre-order period is over, but they will be in limited supply. The Cat House has received orders from nearly every state and 12 countries! Don’t be the only one without a Cat House on the Kings calendar. The clock is ticking down so order right now!
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Backlash and Background

My column last month prompted one reader to send an email to Lynea complaining that my column was just too sad and that all the stories should have happy endings. My response was to say that if you don’t like my column then you certainly do not have to read it. I went on to say that it was not my job to sugarcoat the world for people. I am a realist. I write about the truth and the truth is sometimes painful. When I wrote about Rocky’s story, he was doing well. I had literally just finished my column that day when I received word that he had taken a turn for the worse and didn’t make it. I had to change the ending of his story to reflect that. This reader also seemed to think that I was Lynea’s sister.

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Teaser: Watch for this adorable kitten's story in our next newsletter!

That being said, I would like to take this opportunity to give a little background on myself. First of all, I am not Lynea’s sister. I am a wife and mother of two. My daughter is 17 and my son is 22. My son has a terminal brain disease and my main job is caring for him. I am a free-lance writer, a fitness/yoga instructor and a former ballerina who now teaches. Lynea and I met about 20 years ago when I answered a plea for donations of food. I ended up adopting a cat from her and the rest is history. I write for a local magazine, Traffic, and in January of 2012, The Cat House on the Kings was featured as the cover story. Shortly thereafter, I was hired to write the newsletter for The Cat House.

When Kings River Life Magazine asked me to write this column, I agreed. I do not get paid to write this column, I do it for the sole benefit of The Cat House on the Kings. My goal is to spread the word about The Cat House, to make people aware of all the good work that is done there. The Cat House survives solely on donations, so it is vital that we reach as many people as possible. If anything I write offends someone, I do apologize, as that is not my intention. However, I cannot alter the truth in order to make it less painful. I hope you continue to read my column but if you choose not to, I will understand.

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One of the cats rescued in the Fresno tragedy.

There is a lot of heartache and heartbreak when you work in animal rescue. There is no way around it. In animal rescue, you see the worst of the worst. There is rampant abuse, neglect and abandonment. And there is sometimes senseless, horrific violence. A Fresno woman was killed in her own driveway while defending her cats from a woman walking her dog. The dog walker, in front of her two children, stabbed Mary Lara to death. The Cat House on the Kings and ARF (Animal Rescue of Fresno) stepped in and volunteered to help after learning about 18 cats and several dogs that now had no caretaker.

Education is the Key

I believe we need to create a program where we go around to the schools to properly educate students on how we should care for our fellow creatures. The need for this was never more clearly illustrated to me as when someone recently said to me, “Animals don’t feel pain like people do. You are treating animals like they are people, giving them human emotions.” I was simply flabbergasted at this line of thinking. Let me mention that the topic was whether or not it was necessary to anesthetize male cats before neutering. I cannot fathom that someone would actually believe that animals do not feel pain or have emotions. This is exactly the sort of third-world thinking that we must rally against. I have said it before and I will say it again and again: Education, as well as mandatory spay and neuter laws, are the only ways to control a problem that is completely out of control.

And finally, the latest “Animal Rescue Site Fall Challenge” started on October 13 and runs until November 23. We didn’t win in the last one but we are hoping this time will be the one. It only takes a minute and a few mouse clicks to help us win some cash! You can vote every day and even sign up for a daily reminder.

Last, but not least, if you place an ad in Kings River Life, you can denote 10% to go to The Cat House on the Kings.

Check out more animal rescue & pet related articles, including more Cat House columns, in our Pet Perspective section.

Jackie Dale is a freelance writer who lives in Reedley with her husband of 21 years, Frank, and their 2 children. Jackie currently writes for Traffic Magazine and for The Cat House on the Kings Feline Rescue. A former ballerina, Jackie now teaches yoga and fitness classes privately and at local area gyms.


  1. Dear Jackie, Kudos for telling it like it is, a la the woman who commented on ‘too many sad stories’. I agree with you wholeheartedly, and follow KRL in my email Inbox whenever they come — however, the only stories I bookmark/Save are the ones by you….. Best regards, April.H in Southern California. Three semi-ferals I fed for years on a VA hospital property, were surrendered in 2011 when we cat feeders were told by administration to relocate or else….. So, my three Whitefoot Clan siblings at the “best cat-house in the west”, still! I am actually sponsoring one of them at present….

  2. Like so many others let me applaud your efforts to do what you can. In your case it seems that is tremendously more sacrifice than most would even consider. Your articles are informative and necessary and heartfelt. I cannot imagine the inhumanity of someone who thinks animals don’t feel pain, or fear, or emotion. But then again, that a woman would stab another in front of her own children? Dog fighting for pleasure? Animal abuse? We need more people who educate others to think the way you do to reverse the mis-wired brains in our society.

    Thank you for what you do to help Lynea succeed! Sincerely.

  3. I’ve been supporting TCHOTK since learning about it on Animal Planet’s “Must Love Cats.” It has been several years now and I’ve shed many tears over the sad stories you have shared. However, I believe in Lynea and her wonderful staff and volunteers. Attending the Open Houses has given me time to laugh…and reflect about what is important in my life. As I live in the Bay Area, I didn’t learn of the horrific crime that took Mary Lara’s life. Thank you to TCHOTK and ARF for stepping forward to help her kitties and dogs.

  4. Love you & your column. Keep up the good work! I help care for a feral cat colony & practice TNR with any cat I can humanely trap. We definitely need more education! Thank you for all you do & for Cat House On The Kings! I’m praying for all volunteers who tirelessly help animals, Gods creatures.

  5. Yes I wish there weren’t so many sad stories too, but the reality is that are many more than t hose told. There would be a lot less if only people would only spay and neuter. I have and care for 8 rescued cats and 1 rescued dog, all are now spayed and NEUTERED . I know we have reached our limit but I still try to help others spay and neuter their animals.

    Keep up the great work your doing and I look forward to reading the newsletter each time it comes out. Thank you, Donna

  6. Good column. All animals should be protected by a code of ethics. They feel pain and happiness, and have very complex thoughts. If you think they don’t, just look at the average creature. They have eyes, ears, and noses, just like us. So it stands to reason that they are like us on every other level as well. This pertains to every being, even if we don’t see such obvious similarities.

  7. Jackie – Thank you so much for your work on behalf of the Cat House on the Kings – I know there are sad stories and to sugar-coat them would be a disservice to Linea and all of the work that she & her crew do. I live in Southern California, am a lifelong cat lover – my Lily was a rescue from the Camarillo shelter when she was about 4 years old – that was 10 yrs ago & we still are “Besties” – I’m a retired widow and at the VERY top of my Bucket List is a visit to The Cat House on the Kings – maybe for next year’s Open House. My best to you!
    Diane Watters

  8. Sad stories are a part of life. If more people realized how horrific and brutal many of these ‘sad stories’ truly are they might get off their behinds and do something about the unnecessary animal abuse as well as human suffering. Read up on South Korea and how they treat dogs and cats, then talk about ‘sad’–some of the most horrific and sickening true life atrocities of the dog and cat meat trade.

  9. You go Jackie. You are absolutely right life is not pretty when it comes to animal rescue. But I am aware there are some people who just cannot see and deal the bad with the good. So don’t be disheartened with negative comments. Their problems are their own.

  10. Well said Jackie! Don’t sugarcoat things for us. Tell us how it is. We of course want to hear the success stories, but the sad stories are what motivate us to continue fighting for these beautiful animals.

  11. There are not adequate words to express my gratitude and admiration for you and everyone at CHOTK. I sponsor some kitties and contribute to the fundraisers, but it is not nearly enough. The sad but honest stories are the ones that make our hearts hurt, are just part of what you all face daily. It is what is necessary and not something that most of us could handle.
    God bless you all.


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