A History of our Accomplishments
For the Love of Cats is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to saving the lives of abandoned cats and kittens in the community. We are a no-kill, all volunteer rescue group operating through the generous donations of the community members.
For the Love of Cats really began when founders,Jan and Jim Rich, moved to Marco Island and saw the plight of the growing feral cat population. After selling their business, it was time to start a new one- the business of For the Love of Cats with the focus on TNR (trap, neuter, return) for the feral cats of the community. The first year, only 24 kittens were rescued and 6 adult cats were fixed but it was a beginning.
Petsmart became an adoption partner and with the help of another rescue group in Naples, Jan and Jim learned the basics of care and rehabilitation for the rescued cats and kittens. At first, there was only a small common room and 6 individual cages in the air-conditioned garage of their house. Soon, the second car was in the driveway and there were 12 cages and word of mouth was bringing in new volunteers.
Over 80 cats were TNR’d and 180 kittens were rescued. Sometimes there were 8 traps full on their way to the veterinarian on any given morning. Meetings were held with all the condo and hotel managers to educate and coordinate trapping efforts with them.
The shelter moved to a new location, a bigger air-conditioned garage with 2 “romper rooms’ for the kittens and a capacity for 40 cats and kittens. Commercial flooring, lighting and new flexible kitty condos have created a spacious and comfortable environment for the care and nurturing of abandoned cats and kittens from the community.
For the Love of Cats is honored with the prestigious Walter Turken Award for excellence in Animal Welfare by the Humane Society of Naples.
With the help of over 70 volunteers, For the Love of Cats has rescued and adopted over 1800 cats and kittens and TNR’d over 1000 feral cats by the end of 2010. We received a $10,000 grant from Home Again for our “Seniors for Seniors” program which matches senior citizens with cats that are over 5 years old and are the most often overlooked at shelters. The program is a collaboration with the Naples Humane Society and Domestic Animal Services of Collier County. For the Love of Cats also received a $10,000 grant from Petsmart Charities for our “Help ‘em Keep ‘me” program for low income families that need financial assistance for spay/neuter of their cat in order to slow down the cycle of abandoned pets in the community.
Community programs that help educate the public about spay and neuter, low income spay/neuter support and food programs to help people keep their pets are ongoing and vital services that have become an integral part of For the Love of Cats as the organization moves towards its goal of “no more homeless pets” in the Marco Island area. All of the original feral cats in the Marco Island community have been TNR’d and are under the watchful eye of volunteer caregivers who provide fresh food and water daily. We adopted over 200 cats and kittens. Through a grant from Petsmart Charities, we spayed and neutered over 180 cats and kittens for low income families and adopted 18 older cats through our Seniors for Seniors program. We helped over 50 families keep the stray cat they found with low cost spay/neuter expenses and helped 3 families with the cost of major surgery for their cat that they otherwise would have had to euthanize for lack of financial ability.
We are doubling our efforts to rescue the continuing abandonment of adult cats in the community. There are coyotes on the island that have made this effort extremely urgent. We will continue to communicate to the public about the dangers of allowing their cats to roam outside. Our Seniors for Seniors program will continue this year as we also continue to field dozens of daily calls from people all over Collier county needing assistance and resources to keep their pets.