New Suffolk group saves friendly felines

Published 10:09 pm Thursday, June 15, 2017

A new Suffolk animal rescue is determined to save the lives of felines and is organizing a fundraiser for their efforts.

CatInspired Inc. founders Carla Browning and Suzanne Teumer will hold a yard sale in the parking lot of the Johnson, Gardy and Teumer law offices at 3508 Robs Drive off Pruden Boulevard on June 24.

This will be the first fundraiser for the upstart animal rescue. House amenities and big-ticket items will be sold in the lot from 8 to 11:30 a.m., and there will also be several of the furry rescues for adoption or foster families.

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All money raised will go directly to ongoing medical care for orphaned, abandoned or feral cats in Suffolk.

Kittens in the care of CatInspired Inc. play recently. The group will hold a yard sale on June 24 as its first fundraiser.

“Every penny will go toward spaying and neutering and lifesaving care for felines in our city,” Browning said.

Browning returned to Suffolk in October 2016 after spending years in Los Angeles, Calif., where she started The Cat’s Meow Animal Rescue in 2013. The nonprofit organization saves 500 cats a year through the support of approximately 100 volunteers, according to Browning.

She had no intentions of doing the same in Suffolk until she met Teumer in January.

“She’s been saving cats on her own and paying for it herself,” she said about Teumer. “She’s got even more experience than I do.”

Suffolk Animal Control collected 1,518 cats in 2016, according to public reports by Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and 876 of them were euthanized.

CatInspired approaches this dilemma by facilitating Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return efforts, encouraging foster care for cats and educating struggling cat owners before they surrender their pets.

“Our motto is no cat is a throwaway,” Teumer said.

Volunteers approach owners, find out more about their struggles with their cats and help them find alternative solutions.

“You try to find out what that is and try to brainstorm a solution,” Browning said.

As summer begins and the weather heats up, cats breed in full-force. The organization helps educate the community on areas where these cats breed.

“There are groups of felines that are considered throwaways, and they’re victims of unnecessary euthanasia,” Teumer said. “We want to change that as a community.”

Citizens that act as “colony caretakers” for these groups of outdoor cats are given immense support by the organization, including supplies and legal counseling for any issues.

“I’ve met these women that haven’t missed a breakfast or dinner for these cats in 10 years,” Teumer said.

These citizen-driven efforts help regulate the population of cats in the city by spaying and neutering the cats, thus reducing the need for euthanasia, the ladies said.

“If we can get the population down to a reasonable amount of animals to care for, we won’t have unnecessary euthanasia rates in the city,” Browning said.

The organization’s efforts are funded by the founders’ own funds and donations.

Volunteers bring their own ideas to these problems, and some foster cats until a permanent family is found for each of them.

For Browning, this is the most rewarding part about the responsibility.

“They get a chance at a safe and happy life and know what it’s like to be loved,” she said. “That’s the most rewarding thing.”

Call 284-5551 for more information, or visit the CatInspiredHamptonRoads Facebook page.