Janet Calloway loves cats. But unlike some people, her passion for feline companions has not been a lifelong journey.
“Sad to say I did not get my first cat until I was in my fifties. Unfortunately for me I missed many decades of the pleasure of being owned by a cat,” Calloway says.
But she has made up for the slow start in recent years. She had already brought two indoor cats into her life when she moved into a complex that was located between a couple of pastures. “Not too surprisingly, there were cats in the pastures. Since the cowboys at the nearby stables did not fix the cats, we soon had kittens,” she explains.
From there, her experiences with cats just… well, Snowballed. She started a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) venture and over the past few years has neutered 17 cats, as well as feeding more than she can count on a regular basis. Three of those many TNRs worked their way deep into her heart, and into the house, including a little white cat named Snowball.
When asked why she loves cats so much, Calloway replied, “Let me count the ways. They live life on their terms. They live in the present fully expecting to get whatever it is they want. For my cats, that is exactly the way it works. And, of course, there is nothing better than a head bonk. It is amazing to me how special I always feel when a cat acknowledges me.”
She finds it hard to pick one favorite cat story, but an incredible cat that she befriended in the rainforest definitely stands out. “This cat was a little tortoiseshell, perhaps 6 lbs at the most. Though small in size, the Christmas Cat had a HUGE heart. One day my husband was walking in the rainforest with the Christmas Cat by his side and all of a sudden the Christmas Cat ran in front of him and stopped, blocking his way. My husband stopped and moments later a 200+ lb pig emerged from the underbrush. Tiny Christmas Cat then charged the pig which ran away.”
“Since I started learning about TNR and all the reasons for it, I have become passionate about it. So many people don’t understand what a difference it makes if you neuter just one cat. What I want to do is educate people on the importance of TNR and why you should adopt rather than shop,” says Calloway.
“What I was looking for was a project that could raise money on an ongoing basis for TNR programs across the country as well as rescue shelters. Because I used to be a fundraising consultant I knew I wanted something simple that I could implement for TNR programs and shelters as well as teach them how to do it.”
And the result? The opportunity to make your cat a star, on your own custom set of playing cards, through a Kickstarter campaign.
“People love their cats (all pets) and many people play cards. It seemed a purrfect marriage,” Calloway jokes. As a result of what she has learned through the process, she has figured out a way to help programs and shelters to save lives and give feral, stray or abandoned cats opportunities for a better future.
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