Anthony Around Town – Jennifer Kimball & Amy Graves
Elko Feline Fix Project
AAT may be known by many as Elko’s “People Site,” as we love highlighting all the fascinating men and women within our area. However, today we’re going to be talking about some other, furrier, members of our community. Cats! Yes, our feline friends are receiving the spotlight today and I (Anthony Crosby) hope this feature turns out absolutely purr-fect! Yes, I promise that will be the only cat-pun in this article…
Today, we’re joined by the mother/daughter team of Jennifer Kimball and Amy Graves. Jennifer and Amy are the founders and operators of the local cat rescue group, Elko Feline Fix Project. The group works to trap homeless cats in the area and see them spayed, neutered, healed, and found homes! To best explain the heart and purpose of the group’s mission, Jennifer has written an organizational statement first to be shared here on AAT.
The number of cats far exceeds the number of homes. Unwanted cats are often treated as a nuisance, leading to tragic and unnecessary fates. Humans domesticated cats, and it is now the humans’ responsibility to manage the overpopulation issue humanly. Whether it is your cat or a stray or feral cat that you are feeding, spay and neuter! This is the only answer to the suffering these innocent animals face. We ask that people take responsibility and do their part or pitch in an do a little extra. Please help rescue organizations end the suffering.
Thank you for joining us, Jennifer and Amy! Some people in our community are enthusiastic about caring for classic cars, children, guns, historical landmarks, etc. However, your passion is cats! From where did this missional heart come? “We started in 2009/2010 in California, as we joined a rescue over there called, New Beginnings for Animals and started taking care of foster cats; we fostered a lot of cats and brought eleven of those cats with us over here to Elko. When Coffee Mug was located where Denny’s is currently at, we saw feral cats hanging around and decided to help them out a little bit by feeding them. We realized it wasn’t good to be feeding them because they were not fixed. So, we ended up getting our first traps to help us catch one whom we were going to take home because he would always come around the car tires and peek at us; we named him Piggy. We originally based our name off of him (Operation Piggy), but we weren’t sure we were going to be a permanent group in the community. We created a Facebook page called Helping Ferals in Need in Elko Nevada (FFNE), but too many people were having issues remembering the name, and we also had threats come in towards the cats as people were coming around and destroying our traps and taking things from the cats. For the cats’ welfare, we had to shut down the page, start a new one, and only let trusted people in this time. After things had calmed down, we decided to start a new page that was more generalized and called it Help for Homeless Cats; we could use this page to cross post for anyone around the world if need be. After that, things started moving better, and people started to donate more. We now have three people on our board; we have received approval for our state corporation, and we’re preparing for our 501(c)(3) (federal tax exemption of nonprofit organizations), so we can finally become an official rescue under the official name, Elko Feline Fix Project.”
Tell us, ladies, a little bit about more about your work here in Elko. How has it been going, and what are your opinions on the generalized attitude toward stray cats in our community? “We’ve spayed and neutered over five hundred cats here in Elko. We work with Aspen Veterinary Clinic; they’re amazing and have helped us through a lot of happy and traumatizing times. There’s not much care for cats in our community right now; they’re seen mostly as “tools” by some people for just catching mice, or they can be seen more like rodents compared to the social companions they are. We want to make it the goal for people to start to care or at least encourage people to leave the unwanted cats be. However, if you are going to feed the cats, please get involved with having them spayed and neutered. Otherwise, you’ll end up with thirty kittens in one location and fifty adult cats. If that happens, we must reach out to outside communities for assistance because Elko County doesn’t always have the resource to care for them. We’ve taken thirty plus cats to Reno and Carson City and probably need to get ready to take down some more.”
Amy, Jennifer, you both care about our pawed pals. Please elaborate on your overall view on these animals and share with us what your hopes are moving forward with your organization. “We see feral cats in ways other people may not see them. They can be thought of as nasty/vicious creatures, but they’re actually not. We’ve had many cats come in that would have died if they weren’t trapped and brought in. It is hard when we encounter a lack of care within parts of the community and witness the deaths of some of the cats. We’re hoping for more, like-minded people in our community to join us in helping manage the cat overpopulation problem in our area. We are looking for people to tend our traps as they always need someone there to monitor them for the safety of the cats; people can also help us by getting involved with fundraising, shelter building, dropping off cat supplies, and contributing donations through our Amazon Wishlist or through our account at Aspen Veterinary Clinic. Give cats a chance, and please stay open-minded to them. You can adopt cats through us or spend some time with foster cats and even take on a foster cat for a few weeks or so! We’re not going to run out of cats; that’s never going to happen, but it’s something that needs to be done. If enough people helped us and out us out of business, that would be amazing; please help put us out of business!”
You can follow/support Elko Feline Fix Project by giving a “Like” to their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ElkoFelineFixProject/