Our cat Odin is a nominee for Cat Ruler of the World, a fun contest for a cause. If Odin wins, the grand prize will benefit Brigid’s Crossing Foundation, The Nation’s Premier Holistic Cat Sanctuary & Adoption Center TM. Founded by Heather Burch, the verdant 6 acre, no kill, no cage and safe haven for homeless cats is located in Naples, Florida.
One of the volunteers who works tirelessly for the sanctuary is Lisa Fleming, author of Cat & Crow, An Amazing Friendship. I first met Lisa at the sanctuary last winter where I instantly understood her passion for this unique cat shelter.
Q & A with Lisa Fleming
LMW: Tell us a little of how you became involved with Brigid’s Crossing?
LF: I had heard about Brigid’s Crossing was looking to volunteer, and be part of an organization where I knew the cats were well cared for, treated with respect, and didn’t live in a cage. And to know the only reason they wouldn’t be there the next time I arrived, would be because they found their forever family, was fantastic! The first time I was given a tour, and upon leaving the well protected, cat security fencing gate, a cat came running,chattering, and meowing away, after me. The staff member looked at me, and the cat, still pacing my every move thru the fence, and radioed a volunteer, to please come for her. She said that had not happened before, since I was a complete stranger to all of the cats, that day. I knew then, that the sanctuary was where I needed, and wanted to be. Their furred faces have touched my heart, and the sanctuary, has become my home away from home. Now, 50 kitties come and greet me when I arrive!
LMW:How is Brigid’s Crossing different from other cat shelters or rescue groups?
LF:Brigid’s Crossing’s motto is ‘Healing the Circle of Life.’ They care about alllife, and helping the cats, that have been, abandoned, abused, blind, deaf, feral, stray, and surrendered. We receive many calls from other shelters to take their cats that are not considered to be adoptable. With loving hands and hearts, they are healed, transformed and adopted. Heather has been treating FIV cats for years, and so they too, are welcomed, and live in separate houses outside of the property, with their own cat care staff; specially trained in their treatment program.
Heather, and the cat care staff, are the true heroes. I have learned so much from everyone, as I watch them pureeing squash in the blender, and other healthy mixtures for cats on special diets. The food served to them is raw: either beef, chicken or turkey. Natural water from a purifier is the only water they are served. The attention to every detail, is standard operating procedure. In keeping with the holistic nature of the sanctuary, natural remedies are always chosen first, over prescription medications.
LMW: What’s the most remarkable recovery of a cat you’ve seen at the sanctuary?
LF: Centurion. An FIV who was going to be put down at a shelter.
He is our Miracle, and such a joy! How profound, that as I went inside to find my camera, to photograph the Brigid’s Crossing special Tote Bag, when I came back out, our volunteer photographer, Mila Bridger, found him right next to it.
Note the 2 black ears sticking up from behind. That’s Sammy! Centurion knows, that there certainly is power in his purr!
LMW: I feel in love with Centurian when I met him and he is a big reason why Brigid’s Crossing was selected as our shelter choice.
LMW: Why do you think cats are becoming more popular as pets?
LF: They now outnumber dog owners for the first time! They are soft and snuggly, extremely loving, highly intelligent, and have such fascinating purrsonalities. Cats are good for our health! How can you not laugh, when watching playful kittens! Simply petting a kitty, can ease stress, and calm your heart. They are the purrfect dose of happiness.
LMW: Despite the increased popularity of cats especially in social media, misconceptions about cats continue. What key message would you like to share with our readers about cats?
LF: That cats are so independent, people think they can leave them all alone, even for a day or two. This logic is simply criminal. Placing large bowls of food, when a cat used to receiving 2 small servings a day, and overeating, can kill. A cat kept inside a locked home, is not safe; anything could happen, including a fire, and I feel there should be laws in place for this type of abandonment. If you know anyone who is leaving their pets unattended, you can report them to your local animal control, or law enforcement agency.
Donors, donations, sponsors and volunteers are always needed and necessary to continue rescuing and saving lives.
To learn more about Lisa Fleming, please visit her Cat and Crow Facebook page.
Voting for the Cat Ruler of the World contest begins the week of September 9 and readers get only one vote. Stay tuned to Cat Wisdom 101 for details. Odin’s next campaign debate will be on September 4. Our blog post about Layla’s first visit to the sanctuary.
Our regular Thursday feature Vet 101 will return next week.