Movin' On with Nellie: Love and feed all of God’s creatures

Like so many people in Colorado, I love all of God’s creatures. When I see an animal in need, I try to help. Sometimes it might be calling the sheriff’s office about a herd of sheep or goats out on the road. I’ve been known to stop and pull a small cat from jumping off a causeway ledge in Texas, comforting a rabbit in shock from being used as b-b practice, as well as, guiding runaway horses off a busy highway into their pastures near the Teddy Roosevelt National Park. One time, I caught a mastiff at Sonic and then Conour Animal Shelter found her owners. And now, I’m feeding 15 to 20 plus cats as well as my own two cockers every day with the help of ALPHA and SLV CATS ALIVE.

SLV CATS ALIVE often works with Donna Ditmore’s ALPHA rescue to do Trap, Neuter, and Release (TNR). Marge Hauer, SLV Cats Alive, also coordinates TNR, builds “catomendiums” and delivers food with the help of friends at Conour Animal Shelter. What readers might not realize is that these non-profit organizations continue feeding and caring for the abandoned and feral cats even after this work. They deliver dry and canned cat foods to many volunteers like me who look out for the cats, feed them daily and help to trap them when they have injuries or health needs to get them treated at Monte Vista Animal Clinic with Dr. Warren Deal. Carla Taylor coordinates the appointments and treatment, too.

It’s a joy to me to be able to oversee the growth and development of these stressed feral cats and kitties. I’ve watched seven specific cats move from tiny creatures to teenage rock stars. Tigger is a favorite of mine. He is an orange tabby who is affectionate, and purring personality. Sometimes he sneaks into my bedroom and sleeps at my feet or he cuddles up on my left arm, or he even massages my shoulders. I made friends with him by using a shoestring to move around outside the door. Then he followed me into the house. His brothers and sisters from the same liter shyly followed him inside as well. Every night, the kitties play with their toys before meal time, chase and clean-up each other. They zip up imaginary zip lines to and from their cat tree then hide and jump each other in playful chases from one end of the house to the other. Outside, I’ve watched a grey Tabby chase a squirrel up into the 70 ft Aspen branches, then try to navigate his way back down again. Inside, he promptly settled at the top of the cat tree for a long winter nap. Today, Tigger climbed into the easy chair with me and waited for feeding time.  Luckily, I can now pick up and interact with five of the seven who reside in my third bedroom and wherever they decide to curl up. 

These agencies need continued help. We still have the same original mama cat who needs to be neutered, and other smaller kittens who need to be fed and TNR candidates. It’s estimated by neutering one cat some 1,000 are saved from a life of neglect. Throughout the Valley, thousands of cats need continued care, feeding, and trapping for catch and release. Please donate what you can. Contact SLV Cats Alive (719) 298-7028?, P.O. Box 84, Alamosa, Colorado 81101, or [email protected] or ALPHA (Donna Ditmore (719) 589-5952?) to donate money for food, housing, and medical treatment for these precious creatures. 

Thank you for all the love and care you give to help these sweet ones.

—Nelda Curtiss is a retired college professor who enjoys writing and fine arts. Contact her at [email protected]