Of all the great mysteries of life, “love at first sight” is one of the most puzzling. If you’ve ever experienced this phenomenon – whether with a person or a pet – you know it defies rational explanation. Nothing about love at first sight makes sense to our logical human minds. There’s no scientific evidence for how it can happen, and it’s nearly impossible to explain to anyone who hasn’t experienced it themselves. I’ve experienced it twice: once with a person many years ago, and more recently with a beautiful kitten named Kimber.
The best description I can give is that there is a very strong “pull” combined with intense emotion and a feeling that you’ve known them forever. You also know without question that you love them. You might not understand how or why you could love them given that you just met, but you absolutely know you do.
I’ve loved many pets deeply throughout my life, but I’d never fallen in love with one at first sight. It happened while I was casually reading the Facebook posts of friends, acquaintances and pet rescue groups. I certainly wasn’t looking for a cat to adopt; in fact, that was probably the furthest thing from my mind. Yet all of a sudden, there she was – the most beautiful, long-haired calico kitten I’d ever seen.
So what, right? It’s not like I don’t see dozens of beautiful cats every day on Facebook, all in need of a good home. I don’t linger, because although I have room in my heart for a thousand cats, my small home is full with three. I definitely didn’t “need” another cat, especially one that just happened to be 1,300 miles away!
But I couldn’t look away. I stared at the photo of this lovely little kitten, and I was smitten. I didn’t know a thing about her other than her name. I guessed that she was about three months old, and she had the sweetest, wisest, gentlest face. I knew without a doubt that I loved her, and wanted her to join my family. I didn’t know how I’d make it work, but I knew I would do everything humanly possible to see that it did.
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.
As a cat lover, I have my fair share of kitty figurines on display in my home and garden. Mine are adorable or I wouldn’t keep them. However, there have been times I’ve spied one in a thrift shop and thought, What were they thinking when they made this ugly thing? It never occurred to me that the tacky ceramic figurines I saw could actually be transformed into a cool-looking cat, and that they could then be sold to kitty lovers like me to help cat rescue groups all across the United States. Thankfully, someone else did have the ability to envision a way to not only give those outdated tchotchkes a much needed makeover, but to use the funds raised to support various cat charities in America. That someone is Isa Chandra Moskowitz, who founded The Teal Cat Project a few years ago.
The Teal Cat Project takes vintage ceramic kitty statues, paints them a beautiful teal color and gives each “newly born” cat a numbered tag for authenticity. The kitties are then ready for adoption by cat lovers, who scoop them up so fast that each “litter” (between 100 to 150 cats) is sold out in just a few days! The teal cats come in three sizes and sell for $25 to $35. The Teal Cat Project also recently started selling T-shirts.
The Teal Cat Project is a win-win for cat lovers and cat rescue groups alike. Cat lovers get a unique collectible, and cat rescue groups get help with their Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs aimed at controlling feral cat population growth. Each Teal Cat campaign supports a different TNR group in a new city, so the money raised can help feral kitties all across America. The Teal Cat Project is also planning to branch out to other animals (think bunny and doggie tchotchkes!) who will each have their own special color and cause.
I caught up with The Teal Cat Project’s founder recently, to learn a little more about this unique charity. (If you want to get one of the kitties from the next litter, follow them on Facebook!).
How and why did you decide on the color teal for the cat makeovers?
Isa Chandra Moskowitz: I just liked the color and it felt like something that would look great in homes. As it turns out, teal is also the color of National Feral Cat Day, so it worked out well.
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