FixNation participated in Los Angeles’ annual Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, celebration at the famous Hollywood Forever cemetery. Dia de los Muertos was Sunday, Nov. 1, but the event was held this year on Oct. 24. On the Day of the Dead, people pay tribute to lost loved ones, celebrate their lives, and support their spiritual journeys.
Co-founder Karn Myers and her dedicated team created an interactive altar in honor of lost and deceased cats. The popular altar also gave the group a chance to educate the public about FixNation’s work on behalf of the untold numbers of homeless, stray, and feral cats living in Los Angeles.
It was FixNation’s sixth appearance at the Day of the Dead event. A group spokeswoman said FixNation is proud to be the only animal welfare organization invited by the cemetery’s owners to participate. Over the years, FixNation has fixed more than 100 cats who’ve lived on the grounds of Hollywood Forever.
FixNation asked cat lovers to send photos of their deceased felines. The photos were framed and displayed throughout the altar area. Many pet guardians came to the altar in person and eagerly searched for the photo of their beloved kitty.
Many people sent in photos of feral cats as well as companion animals, such as the cat in the photo below, Grumpy. As darkness fell, miniature electric candles and strings of twinkling lights illuminated the altar and its individual shrines.
The altar was lavishly decorated with bowls of cat food, cat toys, plastic feline skeletons, small wooden carvings of cats, and papier mâché cat heads.
Also represented were photos of Cecil, the African lion who was killed by a trophy-hunting American dentist, and a photo and painting of Tiger, a pet cat who was deliberately killed by a Texas veterinarian with a bow and arrow.
The photo below shows FixNation volunteer Heather and practice manager William on the afternoon of the event, which ran from noon until midnight. There was live music, Aztec dancers, films projected on the sides of mausoleums, picnics on top of gravesites, and rows of souvenir stands, food vendors, and face painters. Things became more festive as day turned to night and thousands more visitors flocked to the festival.
All FixNation volunteers and staff at the event wore traditional Day of the Dead costumes, complete with painted faces.
The altar included walls covered with paper where people wrote tributes to their cats. Many tears were shed as grieving cat lovers penned heartfelt tributes to their deceased feline friends.
Sad tributes were also made to lost kitties. There are thousands of lost, stray, and abandoned cats roaming the streets of Los Angeles, as many people learned from informative brochures handed out at the FixNation altar.
For many children attending the event, a pet’s death was the first experience with grief and loss.
A number of people expressed gratitude for having an opportunity to mourn with other animal lovers and talk openly about their much-loved pet.
A FixNation spokeswoman said Day of the Dead celebration was a wonderful and powerfully emotional event, and that everyone in the organization is looking forward to doing it again next year.