by Elisa Black-Taylor
One of Tasha's first babies
Good morning readers. I've found a really remarkable lady in Eugene, Oregon who operates Stray & Feral Cat Rescue. Her name is Tasha. I'd love to tell you her story. She offers a lot of advice, as well as love, on how to run a private rescue.
I love doing stories showing how one person can make a difference in the lives of the abandoned and unwanted. I hope my stories encourage each person to do more and think positively because a single person is all it takes to help a cat.
I found Tasha thru a page on Furby's site and had to get in touch with her for an interview. (Tasha's Rescue)
What she's doing for the ferals is so GREAT!! Here is her mission statement from that page.
"I run an in-home stray and feral cat rescue. I take in cats that no one wants or cares about, the cats that are sick, beaten and abused, the cats that are hurt and starving to death, the cats that could die today and no one would know they even existed.
I devote my life to rescuing "throw away" cats and making sure they know that at least one person in this whole world does care and love them. I get them all fixed, vaccinated, tested for FIV/FeLV and find them loving forever homes."
Tasha began Stray and Feral Cat Rescue on July 4, 2009. Since that time, she has TNR'ed 350 stray and feral cats. Tasha works mostly in the Springfield, Oregon area as they are overrun with stray and feral cats. She traps them, has them spay/neutered, vaccines, tests, vet care, and purchases food and litter all out of pocket. This is amazing and a lot of work. But Tasha doesn't stop there.
Once a cat has been spay/neutered thru the Trap, Neuter, Release program, which she works for, her work is really just beginning. Tasha takes in as many as she has room for (and if you look at her page of photos she has a LOT) and socializes and tames as many as possible. This can take months and even then some are never ready for another home. They are either too feral or have health problems that keep them from making good adoptable pets.
For the cats that are too sick to live (some die within hours) they die with her holding them. For a short time they know the love of a human. Tasha takes in the throw aways, the ferals, the strays, and the dying. Sometimes even the vet can't save them. I'm glad Tasha has the heart to be with these poor babies at the end. It must be devastating. And yet, she continues her work.
I was curious about her work with the feral and stray cats in her area and asked her several questions since she doesn't have a large nationally recognized rescue where I could have found the answers.
One of the questions I put to her was how to start a home rescue. She recommended talking to others who run feral rescues. Tasha told me there's always something to learn and the only way to learn is to ask questions. Volunteering for a TNR program is another way to self educate yourself. Get a hands-on feel and go from there.
Tasha is a big believer in going above and beyond the call of duty. Not only does she care for the cats through their surgery and in taming them, she does much more. Networking is a big part of her rehoming program. She stays in touch with other rescues, offers the reformed ferals on Craigslist and through adoption events, and networks through her MySpace page (opens in a new window or tab).
Instead of immediately returning the feral cats to the wild, she goes above and beyond what is expected of a TNR advocate.
This story just gets better and better, Whenever Tasha finds a feral that can't be trained or adopted out for health reasons, she keeps it herself. Here's a quote from her as to how the cats in permanent residence live.
"For the cats that are special needs or considered "unadoptable" due to behavior issues or if they are unable to be tamed, I keep them. They live a cats dream as a barn cat on our property where they have numerous cat houses, beds and toys in different areas of the property. And of course food and water We currently have about 35 permanent residents that live on the property and they couldn't be happier. They have everything they could ever want and need."
I hope all of the cat lovers will check out her page and help her out if you can.
I know I'll never find all of the individual rescuers out there and do a story on each. There are simply too many. That's not to say those who run a similar rescue can't write their own story and submit it to pictures-of-cats.org. I'd love to hear more about how different rescuers operate.
Please feel free to leave comments and let Tasha know she's appreciated. And Tasha, please comment and inform the readers here of anything I may have missed.