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The 5 Most Awesome Catster Heroes of 2013

This year we've met a lot of amazing people working to help cats in all sorts of ways.

 |  Dec 26th 2013  |   34 Contributions


For every news story that makes me want to roll my eyes with disgust or cry with grief over what is done to animals by heartless people, there’s another story that warms my heart. Many of our Catster Heroes are not particularly well-known, because who’s got time to market themselves when they’re busy saving cats’ lives?

Here are my favorite Catster Heroes of 2013 -- in no particular order, because all of these people and groups are equally amazing.

1. 9 Lives Lanzarote

This ginger tom is too clever to go in the trap! Photo by Barbarella Buchner

On this tiny island paradise in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Africa, 9 Lives Lanzarote traps feral cats, spays/neuters them, and then releases them in their familiar surroundings. Although the group works nearly every day of the year, its intensive annual spay/neuter campaign each autumn has proven particularly successful over time. In the first three weeks of the 2013 campaign, it had already spayed/neutered around 120 cats.

2. Sara Goldenthal

Sara Goldenthal administers some Bach Remedy-infused treats to one of the cats in HART's main cat room. Photo by JaneA Kelley

Goldenthal has been working with animal shelters for years, on a mission to help cats feel safe -- and therefore become more adoptable -- through the use of flower essences and a special form of therapeutic touch. She has developed a protocol for a simple program shelters can use to rehabilitate fearful and anxious cats, which she describes in a booklet titled No More Scaredy Cat. It is available as a Kindle download for $2.99.

3. House of Dreams

Willie, age 23 is House of Dreams' oldest cat -- and he's FeLV-positive! Photo by Maeve Connor

The Portland, Oregon, cat shelter House of Dreams has a special cage-free room just for cats who have the feline leukemia virus (FeLV). In most shelters, FeLV-positive cats would be put down as soon as the snap test came back positive, but House of Dreams saves these cats’ lives, educates people about FeLV, and has proven that FeLV-positive cats can have long, healthy lives if they are cared for properly.

4. The Paw Project

For more than 12 years, The Paw Project has been repairing large and small cats' paws and advocating against declawing. The group’s most recent (and most awesome) effort, is The Paw Project Documentary, which has been screened all over the U.S. and is now available for streaming through iTunes, U-Verse, the Dish network, and Amazon Instant Video.

5. Quinton Smith

Monkey likes to suckle Smith's ear to make himself feel better. His mother was run over by a mean man in a tractor last summer. Photo by Quinton Smith

Smith describes himself as “a 54-year-old ex-Army hippie welder,” but he’s a lot more than that to the cats he’s saved through his rescue, Paw Town Cats. A sick stray kitten named Oscar was Smith’s inspiration, and now about 50 cats live at his shelter, almost all of whom were abandoned in the desert near the rescue. With the help of friends, rescue groups and a vet or two, he’s saved these cats from a very grisly death.

Have I missed your favorite Catster hero? Give a shout-out to that person or group in the comments –- and share a link or photo so we can learn more about them!

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About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their award-winning cat advice blog, Paws and Effect, since 2003.

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