(Photo by: Gianna DeCarlo/TU student)
Sally Gibson had never been a cat person.But now she’s crouching on the floor and petting a large black and white cat named Wilson. Gibson explains that Wilson is diabetic and that finding him a home has proven difficult because of his special needs. But she is not without hope. Gibson tells the story of Lucky, a cat she adopted that only had three legs and had been hit by a car. Lucky had lived to be fourteen years old under Gibson’s care and his survival is what prompted Gibson to take action. It is her optimism and passion that helps find so many cats their “forever home”.
The Lucky Cat Rescue is a nonprofit group formed to help find homes for cats and kittens in the Baltimore area. The organization, founded in Lucky’s memory, has a system of volunteers which help in socializing and fostering stray cats that other adoption agencies have deemed “unadoptable”. That is not a term that the Lucky Cat Rescue volunteers believe in. The belief that Lucky Cat is founded on is that every cat has a perfect home, and it is their duty to find it.
The organization provides medical care, socialization, and foster homes for cats that are often caught and brought in by volunteers. Gibson says that the feeling of joy that comes from finding a cat the perfect home is what keeps her motivated every day. “When we get a picture or the family responds by e-mail and says ‘They slept in bed with us!’ or there’s pictures, and it’s just heart-warming and it is the most gratifying, rewarding thing you can do-making a difference, saving a life,” said Gibson. Since 2001, The Lucky Cat Rescue has adopted out over 2000 cats.
Lucky Cat Rescue is also committed to promoting the spaying and neutering of pets. Every spring countless litters come in to shelters and its difficult to keep up with. The Lucky Cat Rescue practices a way of population control called “trap-neuter-release”, where stray cats are trapped and fixed and then released to prevent more unwanted litters. This is a way to lower the number of feral cats, which are often too aggressive to be socialized and eventually adopted.
Mary Baust found her very own lucky cat at an adoption event at the Catonsville Cat Clinic. The new mother of Mimi, a fluffy black and white kitten, Mary says she supports the mission of the rescue and it was Gibson’s passion that helped her find the perfect cat for her family. Baust has rescued cats before and echos Gibson’s mission statement. The Lucky Cat Rescue is so important because it finds homes for cats that have been given up on, according to Baust. Baust also extolled the organization for how it rescues cats of all ages. She explains the importance “of adopting older cats not just the cute cuddly kitten set everyone wants to adopt. When you adopt an older cat only do you save their life but you get what you see.”
Lucky Cat cares for around 50 cats and since they don’t have a shelter, they rely on foster parents. Foster parents are an essential part of the rescue, says Gibson. Since many of the rescued cats are straight off the street, they are skittish or wary of human contact. It is the foster parents’ job to socialize the cats and get them used to interacting with people. Some foster parents also have to nurse their cats through surgery since some cats that come in have medical issues due to their rough start in life.
The rescue holds adoption events throughout the year where cats that at Petco locations in Tollgate Shopping Center in Bel Air and Golden Ring Plaza in Rosedale search for their future homes. The adoption cost is $85 dollars and all cats are provides with up-to-date vaccinations, veterinary records, and of course, spaying and neutering. Like Mary Baust and Mimi, it is at these events where special connections are made. Gibson says that the events are a great way to spread the word about the organization and to have people be aware of all the cats that desperately need homes.
Gibson pulls out a folder of all the cats she had adopted. Besides each picture of a cat is information about the family that adopted them because Gibson likes to keep updated about her progress. Each cat is special, she explains. Seeing a cat in its perfect home with its perfect family is what keeps her motivated every day to her mission. Wilson purrs happily and flips over on his back when Gibson pets him, as if he knows that luck is truly on his side.