3-time World Series Champion manager Tony La Russa has 17 cats! He talks about “people rescuing animals, and animals rescuing people.”

3-time World Series Champion manager Tony La Russa has 17 cats! He talks about “people rescuing animals, and animals rescuing people.” - CatFaeries.com

Former Chicago White Sox, Oakland A’s and St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa founded Animal Rescue Foundation (or ARF) in May of 1990 after a cat wandered onto the playing field in Oakland and was terrified by the roar of the crowd. When the cat was caught Tony and his wife discovered the area around Oakland did not have a single “no kill shelter.” They found the cat a home on their own, and then founded their own rescue organization.


This will take you to the ARF website. Be sure to read the history of ARF, the members of their Board of Directors, and their programs for both animals and people which we found to be inspiring and fascinating:


Two California cities create resourceful programs to place unadoptable cats in businesses! Co-founder of “Cats on the Job,” Susan Wheeler tells us how YOU can do this in your community!

Cats on the Job

Cat Faeries talks to Susan Wheeler, co-founder of San Francisco’s “Cats on the Job” – a new organization which is placing cats in businesses “to work” who were previously thought to be unadoptable due to their personality traits.

CF: Hi Susan, how did you get interested in creating Cats on the Job?

SW: A number of years ago I read about a program called Working Cats in Los Angeles. It was being used to place feral and difficult-to-place cats in situations where people needed rodent control. Among the places they placed cats is the LA Flower Market, police station parking lots, a church, and a number of other venues. Because of my work on behalf of cats in Italy I knew that their culture respected cats for all the help they give us in keeping down rodents populations. I thought it was a great program and should spread to the US.

CF: How would an organization like this benefit a community?

SW: We think of this as a green program. Lots of people hate rodents and resort to really terrible poisons. With our program the cats do the work. They are also great to have around.

CF: Are there other similar programs?

SW: Los Angeles of course, and I’ve heard of a few other which are mostly informal groups. A friend just gave me an article that came out recently about a cat in Richland, Washington who has become a crossing guard at the local school. There are surely working cats that we don’t know about.

CF: How long did it take to get this program off the ground in San Francisco?

SW: The Los Angeles people sent us their template. We tweaked it to meet our concerns and local conditions. We worked on it for a couple of years.

CF: How many cats have you placed, and where?

SW: A couple of cats are in a horse barn. There are cats in a taxi cab yard. There is a cat in a warehouse. There are 3 cats at SOMAarts. We have placed cats at a plant nursery. We did need to turn down a couple of requests as we thought the places were not safe for the cats.

CF: You are partnered with the San Francisco SPCA – why was this important? Can a group be independent?

SW: We are partnering with the SF-SPCA because they have a lot of visibility and they will be putting up a website for us as part of their online presence. They are also giving us some money so we can get any cat we place a health check, microchip etc. My other organization, Friends of Roman Cats, a 501 c3 nonprofit, has taken Cats on the Job as a local program. As a nonprofit we are in much better shape to deal with the SPCA than if we were just individuals. Any donations for Cats on the Job will go through Friends of Roman Cats. We have some fund raisers planned.

CF: Where can a group learn how to set this up?

SW: Anyone interested may contact us for our protocols which are written up. It’s lengthy but they will know what it takes to start up a similar program. It is one more way of placing cats that might otherwise not be adopted.

CF: If a business wants a cat or two how do they go about getting one through Cats on the Job?

SW: After they contact us we send 2 people to their location to make an assessment to see if we think the place is safe for cats. We find out what it is they want the cats to do.

We make a list of things the people need to change or fix at the location so the cats will be safe and have easy access to food and water, and litter boxes. If the people don’t respond to our requests, we politely say we don’t think they are good candidates.

CF: How are these programs funded? Tax payer money or donations?

SW: No taxpayer money! It’s all donations.

CF: What types of cats are ideal candidates for Cats on the Job?

SW: Sometimes feral cat colonies need to be relocated because they are threatened. Relocating cat colonies is extremely hard to do, so we are able to draw from the feral colonies. We can place shy and under socialized cats who have been taken to Animal Care and Control which is our city run animal shelter. Many rescuers have foster cats in their homes who might be considered if the location is safe.

CF: How many cats can be in one location?

SW: We think a pair of cats is the optimum number. Each situation is unique.

CF: What can an office expect from having an office cat?

SW: People who want an office cat might want one that may become quite friendly over time. However people must understand these are not going to start out as lap cats.

CF: What types of businesses benefit from having a cat or two around?

SW: All sorts of businesses! Bookstores, retail stores, pet stores plant nurseries are the obvious choices. We are more than happy to evaluate any business that wants working cats, in particular for rodent control. Cats aren’t allowed in places where food is sold or served. Although we wish that would change!

CF: What businesses are not ideal for having cats around?

SW: Businesses that deal with toxic substances, substances the cats can get into and places where the cats can’t be kept reasonably secure.

We make certain that everyone in the business is on board with having cats around. To help everyone with this new idea we suggest a contest for employees to come up with the best name for the new cat. A recent cat that we placed at an art exhibit space was named Georgia O’Kitty, a great play on words about the great artist Georgia O’Keefe.

CF: How is food paid for?

SW: This is like a regular adoption, so we expect the people or company to feed and care for them just like with any cat adoption.

CF: How is veterinary care paid for?

SW: The SF-SPCA gives the cat an initial health check. If the cat needs anything special Cats on the Job would consider paying or partially paying as long as we have the funds. Ultimately the cat is the new owner’s responsibility.

CF: Let’s say a cat is placed in a warehouse – is there one employee in charge of the cat? Someone to feed the cat, tend to the litter boxes, and notice if the cat is ill? Or would someone from the organization do this?

SW: We make certain there is a trained primary person at the business where we place the cats. This person will take responsibility for them and set up a team to feed them, particularly on weekends and during vacation times. We are on call to give advice and we will come by and make an assessment if the business feels they are having a problem.

CF: We love the name “Cats on the Job.” Can anyone use it? Would you want them to also use their city name, for example:
Cats on the Job: Cleveland, Ohio.

SW: Yes, that’s how we’d like them to use it, with their city name attached. Or better yet – get creative and come up with your own name! Originally we were using Working Cats assuming that the Los Angeles group would be flattered and see it as for the greater good, but they told us to stop using it.

Interested in starting a similar program in your community? Contact Susan Wheeler at rappwheel@aol.com

A Sweet Lady and Her Refuge Where Cats Run Free

300 cats? YES! Crazy Cat Lady? NO! Meet 72 year old Siglinda Scarpa of North Carolina who runs Goathouse Refuge, a sanctuary for cats and other animals.

Here’s a wonderful article about her in the New York Times – http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/10/garden/300-cats-and-counting.html?_r=1&

The article contains a slide show of 16 pictures.

Create a rain proof shelter for outside feral cats

Do you care for ferals or know of abandoned outside cats who would benefit from a safe and dry place to sleep? Using a storage bin, straw and Styrofoam building insulation, follow the photos and create a rain proof shelter for outside cats. Photos are by the Humane Society of Hobart, Indiana. Thank you Jenni for finding this!

Your local fire department needs specially sized oxygen masks for animals to save the lives of animals. How you can help!

Posted to our Facebook page by Judy is one of our favorite customers and a frequent Facebook contributor:

The sister of a friend of mine, Mara DiGrazia, is a veterinarian on Long Island. To date, she has donated hundreds of animal-sized oxygen masks to numerous fire departments throughout Long Island so they can dispense oxygen properly to animals who are rescued from fires. Without those masks, sadly many beloved animals die even though firefighters heroically rescue them from the flames of the fire because they couldn’t receive life-saving oxygen properly. This is something that makes perfect sense yet I never thought about until I heard Mara was doing it.

Cat Faeries says: I never thought about this until Judy made the posting to our Facebook page. So I called around and learned the sad truth that fire departments or paramedics do not have oxygen masks for animals. Even here in San Francisco only one fire station has the equipment! After doing some digging I found the perfect organization so that you can help your local fire department.

For $70 you can purchase one oxygen mask from Wag’N Enterprises which comes with all the components, as well as a laminated instructional how-to, a DVD on CPR, and a Power Point presentation. No special training or certification is required! Order from http://www.wagnpetsafety.com/pet_oxygen_masks.html then take your donation directly to your local fire house.

Most fire stations will think this is cool beans because there are no funds for such purchases. BUT you might get some resistance from some fire fighters. Show up with coffee and cupcakes, pour on the charm. They’ll be all ears and ready to accept your gift, and learn to how to help animals!

Your local fire department may apply for a fellowship and when enough funds have been collected the donation can be made. Ask for details!

If you want to donate, but be anonymous ask Wag’N how!


Or call them: 888-924-6482 / 571-572-9246

This is a compilation of photos of fire fighters rescuing and giving oxygen to cats, victims of house fires. In the background is a wonderful music by Adam Lambert. The tenderness of the fire fighters will tear your heart out. This video might not be suitable for really sensitive people or children as some of the cats are in very bad shape. You’ll need more than one hankie for this one.

We’ve attached a USA Today article which talks about the need for animal sized oxygen masks. One quote which caused us to arch our backs and hiss was:

Support for the masks is not universal. De Pablo says critics have called them a waste of money, and have said firefighters should not be saving animals. Although most fire stations were thankful to receive the donated masks, a few refused to accept them because they didn’t want the extra equipment or responsibility, Kowalski says.

But this quote gave us made us feel much better:

“A life is a life,” says Ludwig, a deputy fire chief in Memphis, Tenn. “We prioritize a human life, but if we can help a distressed animal, we’re going to do that.”

Read the article:

In the next few weeks with the help of a special friend of Cat Faeries, Jacqueline, we will be taking oxygen mask sets to 4 of our local fire stations. Cat Faeries donates 1% of sales to help cats and we are so pleased to use some of that money to buy equipment to help fire victim animals in our community. Please keep shopping with us so we can help more!

The “Cats and Culture Tour” of Italy’s street cats and sanctuaries, October 2010

Of course we all love cats! And we all probably love Italy and all things Italian too. Who knew that the Italians have had a love affair with cats spanning centuries? Well, they love them. Street cats are not viewed as pests like they are in the US. They are fed and cared for, often by adorable ladies who sit down on park benches, feed the cats and relax in the sunshine

Friends of Roman Cats is a US based organization which raises money for the street cats of Rome and other parts of Italy and for the cat sanctuaries. They help pay for spay/neuter, medical expenses and food. They also raise money to spay/neuter cats in San Francisco. Here’s some information about this very unique and special tour. We hope you can go! Ciao Bella!

From the Friends of Roman Cats…
Friends of Roman Cats is excited to announce another Cats and Culture Italian tour this coming October! The tour offers cat lovers and lovers of Italy a chance to see how another country treats its homeless / feral cat population. Italy is a No-Kill country where cats have been appreciated for centuries for their companionship and for keeping down rodent populations. You will meet dedicated individuals who care for some of Italy’s stray cats and learn what is working and not working with Animal Welfare in another country. The tour will be a way for people to understand Italy and Italians through the way they interact with animals The tour will start in Venice where we will meet some of the cats whose ancestors came from the Middle East to combat plague-carrying black rats. We will visit a cat colony that lives in Venice’s main public hospital and see more cats and their dedicated caretaker on Venice’s Lido Island. We will have plenty of time to visit some of Venice’s greatest artistic treasures and take in its beauty.

The tour will proceed to Florence where we will see the cats that live in a magnificent Renaissance garden, and in a picturesque cemetery that looks down on the City. Participants will have ample time to explore this beautiful city. Then we will visit a cat sanctuary in the Tuscan hills on a property donated by a beneficent Countess. We will next visit the medieval town of Arezzo and meet with an Anglo-Italian veterinarian who has created a 21st century cat shelter outside the town. We will spend the next day and night in the beautiful hill town of Siena where we will have a guided tour of the town and visit with a group that works with the Sienese municipality to spay and neuter Siena’s stray cats. We will spend our last 3 days in Rome, visiting the Forum, Coliseum, The Vatican, the Trevi Fountain and other monuments in historic Rome, and as well as some of the cat colonies that live in the midst of Roman ruins. All the cats in the shelters and sanctuaries we visit have been spayed or neutered. A good number of them are former house cats that have either been abandoned or whose owners could no longer care for them.

The tour will begin on October 7th 2010 and end on Oct.19. The price for 15 people will be $3,025 double occupancy. A single rate of $549 is available and there is a $500 deposit that will be refunded if we do not get enough people by May 1. It will include 3-star hotels or better with breakfasts, some dinners, a comfortable private bus, a one-time transfer from the Venice airport to the hotel, vaporetto tickets for 2 days in Venice, entrance fees to some museums and historical sites, local city guides and all the cats you can desire! $250 of the price is a tax-deductible donation and goes to help the shelters we will visit. Susan Wheeler, President of Friends of Roman Cats will accompany the group. For most of the tour a tour manager will also accompany the group.

 The dollar is stronger right now than it has been in several years. This price is based on current prices so the sooner people sign up, the better. People who sign up before April 1 will get a $50 discount.