Thursday, December 31, 2009 - the ultimate shopping experience for Cat Lovers

Even before I saw the documentary about Bob Walker and Frances Mooney's "Cats' House" and bought the book, I've wanted to create similar fairy land environments for my fur family. Last night I did a google search for cat furniture and found it all at In addition to cat trees and scratching posts, they have wall climbing systems and outdoor pet houses. My imagination went wild. If you're in the market for cat furniture for your kitties, browse this site to your heart's delight. Enjoy!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Love Letter to My Foster Kittens

Dear Little Ones,

I love your little eyes as they look into mine. I love when you look up at me from the floor or the couch, expecting food or attention or a game. I love when you watch what I'm doing and your eyes follow me across the room, even when you're scared and are preparing to scurry away. I love how you learn to trust. I love noticing when you decide I am FOR you.

I love creating spaces for you to play, hide and sleep in. I love making little toys for you to play with and for me to play with you too. I love when you come to me when I'm laying down and you curl up next to me and purr. I love when you touch your paw to my face. I love feeling your soft fur in my fingers. I love taking care of you when you have first been rescued - sometimes you're sick or especially scared then. I love helping you learn that humans can help and make you well.

I love loving you. I love holding you in my arms like a baby and wrapping my T-shirt around you so you feel safe and warm and loved. I love naming you sometimes when it's my turn to do that. I love getting to know your distinct personalities and watch you play with the other kittens in my house. I love photographing you and sharing your cuteness and beauty with the world. I love knowing that I'm helping you find a good forever home even when it's hard to let you go. Most of all, I simply LOVE you ... each soft, furry, sweet, beautiful, magical kitty. You bring so much joy to my life as I freely and completely love you for one day, for a week, for a month or forever. You are a precious gift to me and to the world.

With Sincere Gratitude,
Your Kitty Foster Mom.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Shamrock Preschool Wins $500 grant for Venice Cat Coalition/Key West Cat Society

Deborah Whitham had a great idea to have her schoolchildren at the Shamrock Preschool in Venice learn about what we do to take care of rescued and homeless cats in Sarasota County. They adopted Frankie, our little kitten who came to us last spring with his leg broken in two places. Theresa and Raphaella brought Frankie to the preschool in September so the kids could meet him. They had made a fund-raising jar to collect donations and had a table set up where they would bring things to buy and sell. The children met Frankie and learned about his pending surgery to remove the injured leg. They all wanted to help Frankie get adopted to a family that would care for this special boy kitty. After Theresa taught them about the Key West Cat Society and how we find and help the cats, the kids went to their craft area and drew pictures of Frankie.

Wonderful things came of the dedicated work of Deborah and the children of Shamrock Preschool. First of all a miracle: when Frankie when to the vet for his pre-surgery check-up, the vet said Frankie didn't need an amputation after all. Apparently he had "done his own physical therapy" while trying to keep up with all the other foster kittens at Raphaella's. Second, he found his family!!! Frankie was adopted by a Russian lady from North Port who wanted this very special kitty for a companion. Frankie is now learning Russian!

The third wonderful thing that happened is Deborah submitted her story about Frankie and the Shamrock Preschool to the Community Foundation of Sarasota and this week won a $500 grant for community service for the cats! We are thrilled and so proud of Deborah for coming up with the idea to help, taking action, holding the vision, following through and ... winning! Her devotion to making a difference has already helped Frankie, and now will help a lot more cats in Sarasota County through our work as the Key West Cat Society/Venice Cat Coalition. One person can make a difference.

Click here to make a donation to KWCS/VCC.
Click here to see more pictures on Flickr.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Order Now!!! T-Shirts with new KWCS - VCC logo (featuring art by Raphaella Vaisseau)

The new Key West Cat Society / Venice Cat Coalition T-shirt samples arrived. Shirts are $17 each (donate more if you can) - or better yet, become a member of KWCS.

T-shirt orders are now being taken for delivery before Thanksgiving. Call Raphaella 941-993-7001 for size, style, color choices. See samples at the KWCS booth at the Venice Farmers Market or Raphaella's Heartful Art booth everywhere.

Prints of Raphaella's cat painting are available at

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Help find Frankie a Home

Click here for downloadable flyer to post for Frankie.

Help us find his forever home.

Frankie wants a home - Now

Frankie is six months old today. The children at Shamrock Preschool in Venice, FL adopted him as a project to help him get through the next few months of surgery and recovery, help him find his forever home and raise money for his medical expenses. Click here to see a slideshow of his visit with the children.

Please call Theresa (941-445-4322) or Raphaella (941-993-7001) to foster or adopt. Please visit our website to make a donation to help with Frankie's medical expenses. Thank you for your support of Frankie and all the cats helped by Key West Cat Society and the Venice Cat Coalition.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Frankie, aka Franklin D. Roosevelt

Frankie was rescued in June 09 from a Sarasota backyard by a family who said they couldn’t keep him because one of their daughters was allergic. He was six weeks old and had a bad leg. They dropped him off at Feline Flair, a big cat rescue event with dozens of rescue groups exhibiting, but still no one wanted him or his siblings. He came to Venice to reside with a foster home associated with a spay-neuter group, the Key West Cat Society. The people who turned him in didn’t know how his hip and knee joints became injured, nor could the vets say what had happened to hurt his little leg.

All his brothers have gone into good homes, but Frankie is still awaiting a permanent adoption. He has seen several vets for his bad leg, and the consensus is that the leg must be taken off in October. So he is getting ready for that big change, and his foster family is hoping someone will step forward soon to take him home for good.

He is grey and white, slim and handsome, and one of the friendliest, most playful kittens we’ve seen. His bad leg kept him from getting to the food bowl as fast as his brothers when he was young, and even though he is a big foodie with a large appetite now, he is a skinny teen cat.

Frankie has tested negative for FeLK-Fiv and been neutered. Please ask any friends in the Sarasota-Venice area who may want to provide a home for a new “tripod” lovecat to consider adopting Frankie. He has learned quickly to compensate for his physical limitations, hopping and climbing around almost like a cat with four good legs. He is willing to teach his new humans all about living with a handicap and spreading love and goodwill, despite being dealt a difficult hand, in exchange for sharing their lives with him.

If you’d like to meet Frankie, adopt him, or donate towards his upcoming surgery, please contact the Key West Cat Society in Venice, Florida, at 941-445-4322,

Saturday, September 12, 2009

KWCS magnets with Theresa Foley's Cat Art are now on ETSY

Our Rescue Cat Club's latest creations are little floppy magnets for a $1.50 donation - available at the Venice Saturday morning Farmer's Market (8am - noon) and our KWCS Etsy store online.

Look for new T-shirts coming soon.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Curious Kitty - Rescue Cat Club

Facinated by the mouse, the little kittens I foster are ever curious about the computer monitor. Looking behind and under the monitor when the arrow goes to the bottom of the screen is particularly endearing.

Once a week Theresa and I meet to make arts and crafts to sell at the Farmer's Market to raise money for the cats. Yesterday we made fifty little magnets that will go for a $1 donation at Saturday's market. Stop by our Venice Cat Coaltion booth.

We also have an online store on Etsy. It's called the Rescue Cat Club. Check it out. Although our crafts sell fast, we'll try to keep our etsy store stocked so our out-of-town supporters can shop online. Local artists and supporters are welcome to join the club and help make crafts for the cats. Call Raphaella if interested: 941-993-7001

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thank you Cheryl @ Pet Essentials

Cheryl, the owner of Paw Print Essentials behind Kinko's in Venice, hosted our kitten adoption yesterday. The kitties were displayed in the pristine, white holding cages that lucky dogs are held in during their organic grooming. It's an exquisite cat and dog food and grooming shop, + the accessories are divine. It is business people like Cheryl that help the animals in our community. Not only did she open her store on her day off, she promoted the event and even provided exquisite refreshments. Please support Paw Print Essentials and feed your feline and canine the best foods ever! Prevention of health problems begins with healthy food. Mary Riley

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Frankie Needs a Special Home

Here's Frankie ... a special needs kitty rescued from a backyard in Sarasota. A family found the mama kitty and three kittens and could see Frankie was stuck in the bottom of the pile. This may be the reason his leg did not form properly or perhaps the hip didn't form properly. We don't know if it's a birth defect or an early injury or break. He gets along really well despite the handicap. He's a very loving, friendly kitten who will make a wonderful addition to a family looking for a special needs indoor kitty. Long term fostering is an option. Call Raphaella 941-993-7001 or Theresa 941-445-4322 for more information.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

How FreeCycle Made Me Sick This Morning - Cat Abuse!!

I am forwarding to you a string of emails I bounced back and forth with this morning regarding Freecyle and kitten giveaways. I was appalled to see that some user gave 3 week old kittens away "to homes" in no time.

Read it if you are interested, circulate if you desire, and let's try to find some way to stop Freecycle and other websites from perpetuating animal abuse.


Anonymous Freecycler's Post:
TAKEN: 3 week old kittens
Posted by: "arreed98" arreed98
Sat Jul 4, 2009 4:06 pm (PDT)
They all have new homes..thank you!!
Back to top Reply to sender Reply to group Reply via web post Messages in this topic (1)

Theresa's Post:

Iam with a cat rescue/spay neuter group.
I hope you didn't give 3 week old kittens away to individual homes.
They are far too small to be apart from their mother, need feeding by bottle of special milk, medical treatments, etc. They will be sick or die if you just give them away.

Also, I certainly hope you are spaying the mother. I can assist you in doing that asap if need be at no cost to you.

There are thousands of kittens and cats put to death in our local shelters here in this county each year and we have to get the birth rate down. I don't know if you are aware of that but it's imperative to stop the breeding.

Also pit bull owners have been known to take "free kittens" and use them to train their dogs, i.e. the dogs kill the babies. Are you aware of that?

Please contact me if I can help you make sure these kittens and their mother get spayed and are safe and healthy.

Theresa Foley
Venice Cat Coalition

Freecycle Site Monitor's Reprimand to Theresa:

**While your concern is appreciated, we do not allow conversational posts to the group. Also, I don't know if you noticed, but the post said that the mommy cat died.**>

What Theresa tried to post on Freecycle but was rejected by monitors:

Please DO NOT give away kittens on this website.> > Here is why, as I posted to the person who gave 3 tiny babies away today:> > I am with a cat rescue/spay neuter group.> I hope you didn't give 3 week old kittens away to individual homes. > They are far too small to be apart from their mother, need feeding by bottle of special milk, medical treatments, etc. They will be sick or die if you just give them away.> > Also, I certainly hope you are spaying the mother. I can assist you in doing that asap if need be at no cost to you.> > There are thousands of kittens and cats put to death in our local shelters here in this county each year and we have to get the birth rate down. I don't know if you are aware of that but it's imperative to stop the breeding.> > Also pit bull owners have been known to take "free kittens" and use them to train their dogs, i.e. the dogs kill the babies. Are you aware of that?> > Please contact me if I can help you make sure these kittens and their mother get spayed and are safe and healthy.> > Theresa Foley> Venice Cat Coalition>> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Theresa's response to Freecycle site monitor:

Okay, but I never saw the original post, only "all are taken".Something tells me they were taken for dog fight bait, because they just got snatched up so fast. These poor kittens may have a very nasty fate.I would recommend no more pet giveaways on this site. The rescue groups have increasing concerns about this practice. i am going to post this to the rescues, to increase awareness of Freecycle's policy on this.I also do not 100% believe the mother cat died. This is what people repeatedly say in pet dumping situations. Then they keep breeding and breeding and think it's okay for the shelter euthanasia of hundreds each month. I hope you understand how this is perpetuating animal cruelty and that Freecycle could become part of the solution instead of part of the problem.With all due respect.Theresa Foley

----- Original Message ----- From: "julieandgeoff" <>To: "Theresa Foley" <>Sent: Sunday, July 05, 2009 10:46 AMSubject: Message not approved: Re:TAKEN: 3 week old kittens**While your concern is appreciated, we do not allow conversational posts to the group. Also, I don't know if you noticed, but the post said that the mommy cat died.**> Please DO NOT give away kittens on this website.>> Here is why, as I posted to the person who gave 3 tiny babies away today:>> I am with a cat rescue/spay neuter group.> I hope you didn't give 3 week old kittens away to individual homes.> They are far too small to be apart from their mother, need feeding by > bottle of special milk, medical treatments, etc. They will be sick or die > if you just give them away.>> Also, I certainly hope you are spaying the mother. I can assist you in > doing that asap if need be at no cost to you.>> There are thousands of kittens and cats put to death in our local shelters > here in this county each year and we have to get the birth rate down. I > don't know if you are aware of that but it's imperative to stop the > breeding.>> Also pit bull owners have been known to take "free kittens" and use them > to train their dogs, i.e. the dogs kill the babies. Are you aware of that?>> Please contact me if I can help you make sure these kittens and their > mother get spayed and are safe and healthy.>> Theresa Foley> Venice Cat Coalition>>> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Luna and Sterling at Pet Supermarket in Venice

Luna and Sterling are spending a few days at the Pet Supermarket, 470 US Highway 41 Byp, Venice. If you're in the neighborhood, stop in to say hello. Hours are 9-9 M-Sat & 10-5 Sun.

They are looking for their families, so keep your eyes and ears open for their forever homes. Call Raphaella 993-7001 for more information about these two little darlings.

They aren't biological brother and sister but they seem to have adopted each other. Calling all cat lovers: Luna and Sterling need their forever homes. Tell everyone.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Adoption Event Finds Homes for 3 Kittens!

The Venice Cat Coalition thanks Serenity Eyewear and A Pet's Life for hosting its second adoption event on Friday, June 26. Three lucky and beautiful kittens were adopted into 2 homes today.

Thanks also to Brandt Vet Clinic in Nokomis, which has helped with some of prior kitten adoptions!

We still have approximately 30 kittens in foster needing homes. These include several tuxedo kittens, pure black sleek kittens, several tabbies and tabicos, one medium hair 3-color calico, a long hair tortioseshell calico, an orange and white kitten, and two angora long hair kittens. Additionally we have approximately 6 adult cats needing homes, including Yin and Yang, who are rescue cats from downtown Venice, and a people-shy Siamese female with blue eyes.

We soon will send out a special newsletter with photos of all our precious babies. Please consider taking one or two into your life.

Our next adoption event is Sunday July 19 at Pet Essentials pet store in S. Venice, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will be lots of fun. Details to follow. Come pick out your favorite kitten, or just come and learn about what the Venice Cat Coalition does.

All the Bast to you and your animal family!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer Solstice Cat Update

As summer officially begins, we are nearing (we hope) the end of kitten season, so the trappers (like me) have a tiny bit of breathing room in our lives for a change. So I can now write a bit about what's going on with the Venice Cat Coalition-Key West Cat Society.

I have to say -- We are growing! Much more than I would have imagined in our first "active" year. The non-profit was registered in 2006 but we did not collect $ or organize much until last fall. The IRS gave us our official recognition just a few months ago.

Our progress is measurable! In the last 45 days or so, our group has taken upwards of 80 cats or kittens to spay-neuter surgery, either via the free clinics, or using our own funds or donated vouchers. This is great news, and put a big dent in the waiting list of 100 cats plus needing to be TNR'd about 2 months ago.

We also have been doing adoptions as a steady pace, despite the economy and the other blues that many people are singing. I am still adding up the numbers but we have done at least a dozen adoptions in the last month or so. Not bad for a nonprofit that has no facility or shelter: just volunteer homes!

And we continue our practice of working with the "end of the road" cats, taking in and placing even the bad luck cats that the other rescue groups have rejected or condemned to die for some reason. We will tell more of their stories soon, but they have included a blind kitten, a broken-legged kitten, a male tom that was badly mauled by an animal and mangy, a declawed cat that was declared "vicious" and "unadoptable" by another group, another badly mauled six-toed cat, and at least one cat that tested positive for a blood disease but appears to be in perfect health.

So all is well here. You can help by volunteering or sending in a financial donations. Helping so many cats does cost money, and we regularly buy medicines, flea treatments, food, litter and other supplies, in addition to paying for the vet bills. Mary Riley is becoming our volunteer coordinator and she has a nice list of jobs that could be done by willing helpers.

With the slight slow-down in kittens and trapping now that we are in the heat of the season, we are going to turn some of our attention to education and community awareness, and building more community partnerships -- all to help the cats, all cats, not just the "fluffies" but the ones out on the streets who have no one to speak for them (except you and me!).

Thanks to all who have helped this season, and all the best of Bast to you!


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Venice Cat Coalition Dinner at Ophelia's Honored Sarasota County Cat Trappers

Our photo (left) appeared in the Venice Gondolier's Weekend Edition on June 20, 2009. It shows the party we held at Ophelia's in Nokomis on May 8th. Living proof of inter-agency cooperation, trappers come from far and wide and work together to help the feral and free-roaming cats in Sarasota County.

Theresa Foley and the Venice Cat Coalition (VCC) / Key West Cat Society (KWCS) honored the trappers' selfless service with this dinner party, generously supported by Nancy, owner of Ophelia's, who also is a big supporter of our work.

Donations to help the Trap Neuter Return (TNR) work of the VCC / KWCS can be made online at or may be mailed to KWCS, 1131 Columbine Road, Venice, FL 34293.

The smaller photo to the right is Caroline Resnick holding an adorable puppy rescued and being cared for by one of the trappers. The puppy was the star of the ballroom, even among cat lovers!

Once again, thank you to the trappers!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Black Kitty Love

My first foster kitten was adopted by Annie at the Venice Cat Coalition's first adoptathon at A Pet's Life, a new pet store near Barclay's Pharmacy. Annie chose the small all-black kitty once she learned black kittens and cats are not the first chosen to adopt. Such an open heart Annie has to not care what the feline looks like, simply that the need was there to give the kitten a home. My desire is to attract people like Annie. Please send them our way.
Miaou (French meow, compliments of Annie!)

Thank you for Adopting Kittens

Over the past several weeks kittens I've fostered have been adopted by gracious animal-loving people. To this I am grateful. Thank you dear adopters for caring to give a kitten a home. Since they were rescued from the outdoors, their lives have changed drastically from fleas, mites, ticks, diseases, injuries and predators plus searching for food and clean water, you are giving them a life of safety, peace and love. Thank you to Laura, Robin, Sue, Linda and those adopters from Brandt Veterinary Clinic. Your hearts and your kitten's hearts meld.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Twins Adopt Twin Kittens

A week ago when Gus (fka Zeus) and Elsa (fka Grace) were adopted by a family, the father said one of the reasons they selected Gus and Elsa was because Eros and Anteros looked like twins. He felt they should be adopted by a family with twins. I started calling the little boy kittens twins, and in my mind I started envisioning a family with twins finding them. Three days later a woman called Theresa looking for kittens. No mention was made of twins, but the woman and her two 6 yr old children came right over to the Venice Cat Coalition booth at the Farmer's Market in downtown Venice to meet the kittens. All three of them immediately fell in love with Eros and Anteros. When I said they were twins, the mom exclaimed, "My children are twins!" Voila. It felt like destiny to me. So perfect.

I invited the family to visit the kittens at my home so they could meet them and play together outside of the confines of the adoption cage at the market. Julia loved little Eros and named him Spot. Gianluca fell in love with Anteros and named him George. All agreed, the kittens had found their family and the family had found their kittens. The adoption was made June 1, 2009.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Two More Adoptions Today

Little Grace and Zeus were born in my house on April 5th and are now seven weeks old. The sweet sister and brother (now called Elsa and Gus) were adopted together today and are spending their first night with their new family here in Venice. The twin boys, Eros and Anteros, are missing them a lot but my ferocious Diana is keeping them busy with romping play. We still have many kittens available for adoption.

First Adoption Clinic at A Pet's Life in Venice - May 22, 2009

The Key West Cat Society / Venice Cat Coalition had a successful afternoon on May 22nd at the first adoption clinic to be held monthly at Carmie and John's new pet store, A Pet's Life, across from Barclays Pharmacy in Hamilton Square in Downtown Venice. Complete with Pet Psychic and resource booths from pet sitting to dog training, the day was complete with two adoptions: Little snowy white Everett (with no tail) is now the official cat of A Pet's Life and Bijoux found her new home. Brianna looked like she enjoyed discovering the thrill of a having a corn snake slide through her braided hair while the rest of the volunteers enjoyed catching up with cat stories and checking out a new book by a local author: "A Cat's Tale" by Lindy Lindmann.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Personal Responsibility

This little kitten was anonymously left after hours at the door of A Pet's Life a few days ago by a complete coward of a human being. Regardless of the personal circumstances he, she or they may be faced with, he, she or they (at the very least) could have brought the kitten in during business hours to protect it from the traffic on US 41 nearby, and who knows what else. Were there more kittens left at the door? No one knows.

This incomprehensible lack of personal responsiblity is topped only by the person or persons who left two beautiful cats in downtown Venice a few weeks ago when they presumably left their winter paradise for parts up North. Grrrrr.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Update on Johnnie Cash

When KWCS was asked to help with TNR at a home in Nokomis in March, "Johnnie Cash was in such bad shape that he pretty much crawled into the trap for help," reported Theresa Foley in her March 24th post to this blog. "Not only did he have an extreme case of mange, he'd been attacked by something, perhaps a dog or another large animal, and was bitten all over his head with gaping, bloody wounds. I believe that the mange had crusted over his eyes, impairing his ability to escape or fight back. KWCS was there to do the neutering work, not to end his life, so we made the controversial decision to have him fixed and to see what could be done to return him to health if the mange and wounds were treated."

These photos show the 6-week healing journey to date. This isn't the end of the story for Johnnie Cash. He continues to recover at the home base of the Venice Cat Coalition. We will keep you updated with his miraculous recovery - a testament to our work to help the cats.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Foster Kittens and Mama Cat

Mama Cat arrived at my home on Sunday evening, April 5th. Her four kittens were born during the night and early in the morning on April 6th. This little family was one of 50 cats Theresa, the Key West Cat Society and friends trapped in a colony in Punta Gorda that weekend. ALL of the female cats captured were pregnant.

The size of this colony underlines the need for swift and continual SNR (spay-neuter-return) programs world wide to control the overpopulation of cats everywhere. It starts with personal responsibility for pet owners everywhere to spay and neuter their pets, even when the intention is that they live indoors. Stop the breeding. Save the cats.

All the 50 cats and their kittens trapped in this Punta Gorda colony will be spayed and neutered and have all their shots and tests before adopted or returned to the place they were found. Please support our work with a generous donation to KWCS/VCC.

Click HERE to see more photos. Once at the Flickr photosite, click on "view as slideshow" if desired.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kitty Drama

Princess Diana stalked this squirrel for about 1/2 hr. as it made it's way around the yard. When it decided to crawl up the screen of my lanai, she decided to act and lunged at it, crashing into the screen head on - scared us all. The little hunter probably found edible things in the dirt around plants when she was living in the wild outdoors because I notice she's been digging in my fern a couple of times. Hummm. The adventure continues. Today I rearranged all the furniture in the main bedroom so Apache and Diana could have a fresh new look at who gets what for territory. Apache ventured out of her closet apartment in the night last night to climb up on the bed. She stayed for about 15 minutes - on full alert for Diana, ready to hiss at anything that moved. I'm hopeful that we can all get used to the new arrangement within a few weeks and Apache will accept Diana into the family.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Eyes Open - Day 8 for Foster Kittens

I'm so excited to witness the lives of the mother cat and her four little kittens born in my house on Monday April 6th. Today, on day eight, they are opening their eyes. Here's a picture of the wonderful event.

Plus ... it's my birthday today. This is a thrilling birthday present from the cats :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Great Article on Animal Ethics/Rights Debate in NYT

Op-Ed Columnist
Humanity Even for Nonhumans
Writings by a Princeton scholar have popularized a movement to grant basic protections to pigs and chickens — and to limit human dominion over other species.

Published: April 8, 2009
One of the historical election landmarks last year had nothing to do with race or the presidency. Rather, it had to do with pigs and chickens — and with overarching ideas about the limits of human dominion over other species.

I’m referring to the stunning passage in California, by nearly a 2-to-1 majority, of an animal rights ballot initiative that will ban factory farms from keeping calves, pregnant hogs or egg-laying hens in tiny pens or cages in which they can’t stretch out or turn around. It was an element of a broad push in Europe and America alike to grant increasing legal protections to animals.
Spain is moving to grant basic legal rights to apes. In the United States, law schools are offering courses on animal rights, fast-food restaurants including Burger King are working with animal rights groups to ease the plight of hogs and chickens in factory farms and the Humane Society of the United States is preparing to push new legislation to extend the California protections to other states.
At one level, this movement on behalf of oppressed farm animals is emotional, driven by sympathy at photos of forlorn pigs or veal calves kept in tiny pens. Yet the movement is also the product of a deep intellectual ferment pioneered by the Princeton scholar Peter Singer.
Professor Singer wrote a landmark article in 1973 for The New York Review of Books and later expanded it into a 1975 book, “Animal Liberation.” That book helped yank academic philosophy back from a dreary foray into linguistics and pushed it to confront such fascinating questions of applied ethics as: What are our moral obligations to pigs?
John Maynard Keynes wrote that ideas, “both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else.” This idea popularized by Professor Singer — that we have ethical obligations that transcend our species — is one whose time appears to have come.
“There’s some growth in numbers of vegetarians, but the bigger thing is a broad acceptance of the idea that animals count,” Mr. Singer reflected the other day.
What we’re seeing now is an interesting moral moment: a grass-roots effort by members of one species to promote the welfare of others. Legislation is playing a role, with Europe scheduled to phase out bare wire cages for egg production by 2012, but consumer consciences are paramount. It’s because of consumers that companies like Burger King and Hardee’s are beginning to buy pork and eggs from producers that give space to their animals.
For most of history, all of this would have been unimaginable even to people of the most refined ethical sensibility (granted, for many centuries those refined ethicists were also untroubled by slavery). A distinguished philosopher, Thomas Taylor, reacted to Mary Wollstonecraft’s 1792 call for “the rights of woman” by writing a mocking call for “the rights of brutes.” To him, it seemed as absurd that women should have rights as that animals should have rights.
One of the few exceptions was Jeremy Bentham, the philosopher who 200 years ago also advocated for women’s rights, gay rights and prison reform. He responded to Kant’s lack of interest in animals by saying: “The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?”
In recent years, the issue has entered the mainstream, but even for those who accept that we should try to reduce the suffering of animals, the question remains where to draw lines. I eagerly pushed Mr. Singer to find his boundaries. “Do you have any compunctions about swatting a cockroach?” I asked him.
“Not much,” he replied, citing reasons to doubt that insects are capable of much suffering. Mr. Singer is somewhat unsure about shellfish, although he mostly gives them the benefit of the doubt and tends to avoid eating them.
Free-range eggs don’t seem offensive to him, but there is the awkwardness that even wholesome egg-laying operations depend on the slaughtering of males, since a male chick is executed for every female allowed to survive and lay eggs.
I asked Mr. Singer how he would weigh human lives against animal lives, and he said that he wouldn’t favor executing a human to save any number of animals. But he added that he would be troubled by the idea of keeping one human alive by torturing 10,000 hogs to death.
These are vexing questions, and different people will answer them differently. For my part, I eat meat, but I would prefer that this practice not inflict gratuitous suffering.
Yet however we may answer these questions, there is one profound difference from past centuries: animal rights are now firmly on the mainstream ethical agenda.

I invite you to visit my blog, On the Ground. Please also join me on Facebook, watch my YouTube videos and follow me on Twitter.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sarasota AC Releases Cat Killing Dogs in Nokomis



Warning: If you live in Nokomis, esp. east of U.S. 41, KWCS has received reports of 2 incidents this week of rampaging pairs of dangerous dogs that are still at large.

In an attack on Monday in Nokomis, 2 rampaging pit bulls with tags and collars killed at least 3 cats in front of eye witnesses, injured at least 2 more cats, and roamed around attacking for at least 9 hours until Animal Control impounded the two dogs. The attacks were reported on Osceola St., just off Colonia. KWCS has extensive information on the names of the victims, the dogs’ identities and the dog owners identities. We will be blogging with more facts and names about these attacks in the coming days.

KWCS is gathering reports on exactly what happened and will provide residents and our members with further information in the next few days, but the urgent warning that should go out to residents and visitors to Nokomis who have children or pets is to be on the lookout for these dogs and be prepared to defend yourselves by calling 911 immediately.

Unfortunately, the animal control officers involved in this case told the victims repeatedly, “There’s nothing we can do” when the cat owners asked that stronger action be taken to permanently remove the 2 dogs from the neighborhood.

On Weds. Night, animal control released the dogs back to their owners after a large fine was paid. The two dogs and their owners allegedly have numerous other citations and vicious dog reports on file, but animal control chose to release the dogs anyway, apparently because they believe no laws were broken. The couple who own the dogs also raise and sell pit bull puppies, the victims said. The Osceola St. attack was approximately two miles from where the dogs live on Verona St.

In a separate incident on Tuesday, at another house in Nokomis, in a neighborhood just north of the Osceola attack about a half mile away, a resident heard a loud commotion under her house, investigated, found two dogs either fighting each other or killing another animal. She immediately called 911 (the sheriff’s dept. instead of animal control), and 3 deputies came “guns drawn” and spent a good deal of time trying to find the dogs, she says. The dogs had fled by that point. She said it appeared that the deputies were prepared to shoot the dogs and had been on the lookout for them, but were unable to find them.

In both cases, the victims tried to stop the dogs by hitting the dogs with boards or lawn implements but had no success. An interesting comment made by an animal control officer Weds. Night to one of the involved parties who asked that the dogs not be released, was that it would have been okay for the victims to shoot the dogs during the attack because the attack was going on, but after the attack was over, the AC officer said, “there’s nothing we can do” to the dogs or the owners, other than to fine them for allowing the dogs to roam. They had not done anything illegal, she said.

Callers to KWCS who are extremely upset by these events keep asking, what can we, the residents and cat owners, do about this? At this time, we are gathering information and coming up with some ideas of how to raise community awareness and involvement in preventing further dog attacks here. We will be emailing to our list and posting on our blog with concrete actions that can be taken to voice your opinion or make calls to officials about this situation. Stay tuned. In the meantime, we have contacted the sheriff’s dept. and other animal rescue groups to ask for their input and response to these incidents. So far, no one has called back.

Nor has the news media reported any of this. Even more troubling is that these 2 attacks follow by only a few weeks three reports received by KWCS of South Venice, Nokomis and Sarasota residents shooting and killing cats, or planning to do so. Again, Sarasota County’s animal officials said nothing can be done about this without the victims presenting hard evidence of the shootings first. A victim needs to produce the dead cat’s body and/or videotaped recordings of the actual shooting before an investigation can begin, we are told.

And, yes, it gets worse: in Venice recently, two individuals were arrested for having sex with a dog and videotaping themselves doing it. (unbelievable? No, I am not making this up. This report comes from comments made at by a member of the county’s animal welfare advisory committee at a recent public meeting at the Fruitville Road Public Library in the context of a discussion about Florida being a place where bestiality is legal.) The prosecutors have not decided whether to prosecute the creeps who did this, but might choose to do so. Again, no news reports of this that we are aware of.

Where are the news media and the public officials when these animal abuse cases come to light? We don’t think any of the authorities condone these atrocities, but the philosophy of “don’t make waves” or “the laws just don’t cover that,” or “we are too overworked to deal with it” just does not cut it. Who is going to take a stand for the victims?

All good questions, and we only hope that the animals whose lives have been given or who have been subjected to such awful treatment will have suffered for a reason. Their sacrifice might bring the necessary changes in Sarasota County to protect animals. By the way, the current animal ordinance expires in July and is being rewritten as we speak. It may be time to voice your opinion on what the revised rules will say to your county commissioner. More soon on all that!

You can post a comment on this blog and we will forward the comments to any public official who is interested in this discussion.

Theresa Foley, Key West Cat Society

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cats and Kittens Everywhere

Theresa and Caroline trapped over 25 cats and kittens yesterday in Punta Gorda as part of the Key West Cat Society's dedication to the TNR mission (trap, neuter, release). That's just the beginning for these cats. Two momma cats had litters already and Theresa asked if I could foster a pregnant mother cat through her pregnancy which we thought might be another two weeks. I said yes, of course, and brought this beautiful momma home and made up her kitty condo on my dining room table - with a hiding room and plenty of soft towels. Throughout the night I could hear her softly crying, and I got up to check on her and pet her head and under her chin. Around 4 am she began giving birth to her litter of 4 kittens. All is well. I have always dreamed of having little kittens in my home and now I am blessed to watch them grow, love them and find their families. This beautiful mother cat has been a joy to take care of as she takes care of her little ones. We don't know yet whether or not she will return to the outdoors after her kittens are gone, but my guess is she will find her own family to love and to love her. Theresa, Caroline and I will keep you up to date on the other cats from this colony. Spread the word. Trap-Neuter-Release saves lives.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Adoption Success for My Tabby Boys

Here is a picture of Jeremiah and Echo with their new Mommy. The lucky boys were adopted together. Bullet was adopted within hours of arriving at Cat Depot. I'm so happy these adorable tabby brothers are all at home with their families. Blessings to one and all. Love, RV

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Thank you to PetSmart

clipped from

PHOENIX, AZ--(MARKET WIRE)--Mar 27, 2009 -- As flood waters rise and evacuations continue
in Fargo, N.D., PetSmart Charities is sending an Emergency
Waggin'® trailer stocked with at least 16 tons of much-needed
pet food
and supplies, as well as a back-up trailer loaded with essential
care items
for pets and their rescuers, to the affected areas.

 blog it

Sunday Update on a Busy Week for the Cats

Hello Cat Lovers,
I will try to make this a quick Sunday morning update, as I listen to the thunder and lightning (lovely) here in Venice. We are having blessed rain!!

Johnnie Cash, the mangy bloody cat who came in a week ago, is doing much better, and he is recovering in a cage inside St. Francis's infirmary. He's been seen by 2 vets this week, and although a lot of people think he maybe should have been put down for his injuries and mange, Johnnie didn't want to go yet. So he came to us, and I do believe he's going to fully recover, return to his family (he's a yard cat) and live many more years in a healthy, calm, non-testosterone fulled state. I will post some photos of him soon. The vet said she thinks his head wounds were from being attacked by a larger animal, not from cat fighting.

The county is moving now to replace the ordnance that governs animals here, which will expire in its current form in July. We will join with our cat activists in meetings in the coming week to urge officials to change the language to help the cats, save tax dollars, incorporate more non-profit rescue group resources and modernize the county's policies towards TNR, spay-neuter and the killing of "excess" animals. Everyone pray for the animals on this one, it's important. I will post results as they come in and let you know of any key meetings to attend for public comment.

At the Farmer's Market this week, we met a couple who has opened a new pet store in Venice, "A Pet's Life", which is near Barclays Pharmacy on the island (200 Tamiami Trail, N. Suite G) 488-2636, owned by Carmie Bednar. The first thing they did was donate a huge amount of gourmet dry cat food to the ferals. Besides saying Thanks a Million to them, I wanted to comment on what a way to create good karma for a new business. Please stop in and see them. KWCS hopes to partner with them in several exciting ways, and I will let you know of fun, beneficial things we are doing together that you can participate in!

Finally, the Key West Cat Society is ready to launch a new program. We want to encourage everyone to microchip our pets. We have finally obtained our first 50 chips from Home Again, and will begin microchipping the cats that we find homes for. We also will offer 10 pets per month free microchipping to help the animals in case they get lost. If you want to take advantage of this offer, email or call me,, or 941-445-4322, or stop into to sign up at A Pet's Life (see above)....

So, blessings from Bast and thanks for helping the cats!
Key West Cat Society president, Theresa Foley

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Say a prayer for Johnnie

Here is Johnnie, a Nokomis tomcat who is tame and sweet but very sick. His feeders called KWCS a few days ago asking for help with 3 yard cats who were not fixed. They caught 2 very quickly and Johnnie was turned over on Sunday to me.
I took him into the TNR surgery at a local vet on Monday knowing he was sick. The vet fixed him, gave him a rabies shot and an ear tip, and gave him back. I knew I was rocking the boat with this one, because most vets and many cat care experts would simply say to "put him down" due to his condition. However, when he came in, I couldn't see all the blood and puss because of the extreme mange and matted hair.
After his neutering, St. Francis agreed to allow him to stay in its infirmary for 2 weeks so that he could be given medications, and then today, Tuesday, I found out how sick he really is. His face is oozing blood and puss from both sides and the mange is crusted over his head, and present over the rest of his body. Of course, mange is not fatal, just disgusting and itchy.

So it is an ethical question for me, should a cat like this be immediately killed, or should we treat him as best we can and try to bring him back to health? Johnnie has the next few days to help us answer this.
We have treated him for mange and he is on antibiotics. His infections (from fighting or an attack by an animal??? we just don't know) have gotten pussy, swollen and the abcess is broken. I am going into the shelter to help clean the pus out and clean up the dead mange parasites.
You can see in his picture how bad he looks. I will let you know in a day or two what the prognosis is and how he's doing. He did eat several bowls full of food today (thanks Judy!) and he rises up in back to meet my hand when I rub his back, so his pain and illness is not all consuming.
Check back on Thursday or Friday for how Johnnie is doing. I have not seen a street cat/mange cat in this bad of shape in 8 years, other than 1 I remember in Key West that was on death's door and in fact died as soon as he was caught.
Thanks for loving all the cats, even the unpretty ones like Johnnie!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Greetings from Caroline

Hello everyone,

Welcome to the KWCS blog. This will be a good place to share information and support each other when it comes to our beloved feral cats.

I never knew what a feral cat was until I moved out east into the country. It was out here that I first noticed feral cats. I didn't understand why there were so many and why NO ONE did anything about it. There was so much cat roadkill. I was disgusted and confused why this even existed. I noticed 80 feral cats at a country gas station. Kittens running around, sick cats, injured cats ~ you name it. It was all there front and center staring me right in the face. I went home that night wondering what I could do. I wanted to know who is helping these cats and would they please hurry up and do something. I wanted someone to do something. I never even thought of me doing anything, just someone else.

When I went back there the next day, I saw a freshly run over cat in the gas station parking lot. People just ignored the cat and drove around it like it didn't exist. Nobody even checked to see if just maybe it was alive. Right at that instant I realized that the person I hoped was out there to help these cats didn't exist. And that if I wanted to do something, I WAS to become that person. So I did. I bought a trap and started trapping. Sadly, I was met with alot of resistance. I was surrounded by redneck mentality. People used to laugh at me and poke fun out of me, telling me I couldn't do it. I could NEVER trap all those cats. I was messing with nature. Who was I to play God and spay/neuter. Huh??? What??? Well, that was 10 years ago. I haven't stopped since.

And yes, I did trap every cat out there. One or two at a time. That's all I could do. I know some people frown on 1 cat here, 1 cat there, but really that was all I could handle. I was learning as I went along. I made alot of mistakes and I wish I had a support group, but these cats had absolutely no representation and they needed me.

As time went on an interesting thing happened. The rednecks didn't poke fun anymore. Isn't that interesting... Instead of being called a "Do Gooder," they now address me as "ma'am." Some of the rednecks have eveb "spaded" their own cats with the free clinics offered in Sarasota. Wow, attitudes changed out east, huh?

Fast forward 10 years. My colony is healthy and stable. they are fed every day. I put flea control on those I can touch. I love them and I know they feel it. It's alot of dedication and hard work, but it was all worth it. These cats are my inspiration. I draw strength and a second wind from them when I start to fade and feel hopeless and helpless from other trapping situations in other locations. THEY are the ones who give me hope that i can help other felines and to carry on with this important and thankless work.

I think back to the day I found the cat laying dead in the busy gas station parking lot. I say his short life had extreme value. Because of his sacrifice, he continues to save countless other felines. He ignited a fire in me that I didn't know existed. His life was not for nothing. If it wasn't for that fateful day, I'd still be waiting for that ONE person to show up that never even existed in the first place.

I end with this famous quote: Never underestimate the power of one.

Three Tabby Kittens Up For Adoption

Three month old brothers with all their shots (& neutered) are looking for their family. They are playful, adorable and would be great for any family, even with children. Raphaella has been fostering them for five weeks and wants them to be adopted soon so their new family can get to know them as kittens. Click here to see a slideshow of their journey with her. Call me at 941.445.4322 for more information. Prescreening required. Adoption fee $50-$75 if approved.
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