Monday, August 31, 2009

Every Single Cat Matters

By Julia Williams

Two years ago this August, Laurie Cinotto started a little blog called Itty Bitty Kitty Committee (or IBKC). This wonderful blog is a perfect example of how lives can change for the better, thanks to the advent of the internet. In this case, the lives changed are those of itty bitty homeless kitties—lots and lots of them!

I didn’t start reading the IBKC blog until recently, so I don’t know how long it took to “catch on,” but it’s very apparent that it has. The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee chronicles the daily lives of kittens that Laurie fosters for the Humane Society of Tacoma/Pierce County in Washington. Recently, she also participated in their annual Dog-A-Thon fundraiser for the shelter’s homeless dogs and cats.

The IBKC started with a modest goal of $3,000 which was quickly met by her readers. Each day I watched the pledges soar to new heights, and I marveled at the generosity of people from all over the world. Most had no ties to this particular shelter, but were obviously loyal fans of the IBKC. In the end, more than $23,000 was raised to help homeless kitties. This amount is not something one person could easily raise, unless they have a very wealthy circle of friends. Hence, the IBKC’s successful fundraising is a testament to the power of the “world wide web” in bringing people together for a common good – in this case, homeless kitties in need.

A talented Seattle artist named Mimi Torchia Boothby donated a beautiful watercolor painting to auction off for the fundraiser. The painting featured a colony of feral cats that live in a courtyard in a small Italian town. Said Laurie Cinotto, “I think it's amazing that these cats who live on the streets, barely cared for, will be making a difference. These cats touched Mimi and she made a painting of them. The money from the sale of this painting will help fund lifesaving programs for cats and kittens. To me this illustrates that every SINGLE cat matters, and every cat has a purpose.”

Black, white, tortie or tabby…every single cat does matter. And as fantastic as it is for all of the cats that the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee was able to help through this fundraiser, I got to thinking what would happen if every single cat in every single shelter had an IBKC to help them. Imagine how many homeless kitties lives would improve if every shelter had a volunteer who had a blog with such a huge following, and every year they also raised this amount.

I’m so happy for the kitties that the IBKC could help, but at the same time a bit sad for all the other shelter cats (and dogs). The brutal economy of late is forcing people to make some really hard decisions about what’s best for their beloved pet, and many see no alternative but to surrender them. Unfortunately, a fair number of shelters are ill equipped to handle the number of animals they had before the economy tanked, let alone this marked increase. So an “Itty Bitty Kitty Committee for every city” would be a truly great thing, wouldn’t it?

My lifelong dream has been to open a cat sanctuary, because every single cat absolutely matters to me. Not only that, every single cat deserves to live each and every day with plenty of food, a warm place to sleep, and a home with a human who cherishes them. That’s my idea of utopia. I only hope I live long enough to see my lifelong dream become a reality.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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