By Linda Cole
I remember “rescuing” my first cat when I was a child. I also remember learning the difference between a stray/lost cat, and a neighborhood outside cat with that first rescue. However, I didn’t let that minor setback discourage me from rescuing cats that really needed saving when I got older. Millions of stray and feral cats spend each day trying to survive the best they can, living in the shadow of our busy lives, unnoticed by most people.
Brigid’s Crossing Foundation (BCF) was founded in 2008 by Heather Burch. It’s a unique nonprofit, holistic cat sanctuary and rescue in Naples, Florida, dedicated to making a difference in the lives of cats in their care. Awhile back, I shared a story with you about an unlikely friendship between a kitten and a wild crow. Lisa Fleming, author of the children’s book “Cat & Crow, an Amazing Friendship,” volunteers at Brigid’s Crossing, and I had a chance to talk with her about this truly amazing cat sanctuary.
Cats living at the sanctuary are free to roam in the nature-oriented center. BCF is a no- kill rescue with a focus on rescuing and caring for homeless, sick and abandoned cats, giving them a second chance. The sanctuary even cares for cats with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), which is not the same as feline leukemia virus (FeLV), although they are in the same family of viruses.
Unfortunately, there’s no real treatment for FIV. A cat can carry the virus for years before symptoms begin to appear. It’s diagnosed through a blood test. I asked Lisa how infected cats are treated at the sanctuary. “It’s completely holistic, with raw food and purified water served. Natural remedies are always chosen first before prescription. Through a healthy diet and nutrition, there has never been a cat at the sanctuary who went into full blown aids. Cats with FIV do not have to be euthanized; they can and do live a healthy life. Many shelters can’t spend the time or money to care for them with the proper nutrition they need, so they call Brigid’s Crossing. Cats do not give or receive the virus from humans, only other cats. The FIV’s do get adopted and find their forever families.” You can lessen the chances of your cat being infected with FIV or FeLV by keeping her inside.