Our cat folx programs are designed to support the people who help take care of community cats and other animals. We are not recreating wheel by setting up a rescue or foster group. We are identifying and filling gaps to support the existing groups and organizations.
Our #PghCatFolx Programs
- Dr. John P Ruffing VMD Pet Food Projects
- Community Cat Caretakers Online Food Drive
- Fort Faulsey Community Cat Colony
- Kerry’s Kittens
- Manchester Community Cat Garden
- Free Pet Stuff Store 15233
- The Cat Folx Tools Lending Library
Dr. John P. Ruffing VMD (1966-2007) was a much beloved and respected veterinarian who died far too young from a health condition. In his honor, we collect pet food for distribution to caretakers and programs. One of the projects in this program are online cat food wishlists for caretakers. Our hope is for donors to commit to sending a bag or some cans of food each month to help them with their work.
Fort Faulsey Community Cat Colony traces it roots back to the late 1960’s and likely much earlier. Located in Manchester on Pittsburgh’s Northside, many of the cats had been living in an abandoned house since 2000. The previous owner, Miss Mary Jane, had a special relationship with cats. After her death, they stayed. They had kttens and more kittens and generations came and went living alongside groundhogs, possum, raccoons, and people who used the house for nefarious purposes.
In December 2020, our Board President and her wife were asked to feed some of the cats by a neighbor who mistakenly though there were “just three kittens.” The Dunhoff-Kerr family thus becamse the caretakers of this magical spot. They fed the cats under an abandoned truck, TNVR’d them one by one, and put out winterized shelters. They identified the property owners and got consent to maintain the colony. They found at least six missing/lost cats and reunited or found new homes for them. They had been feeding a few cats in their nearby backyard which they dubbed the ‘branch campus’ and by 2022, no more kittens – a sign of a stable colony. PLC took responsibility for the colony, but Sue and Laura continue to feed and care the cats on a daily basis. They’ve only missed one day since December 2020.
Kerry’s Kittens was established to honor Sue’s mother. This program focuses specifically on support for kittens, mostly food and supplies.
The Manchester Community Cat Garden is a work in progress that will revitalize an abdoned URA lot to provide storage for these programs and incorporate design elements to make it an attractive community spot including a butterfly garden, wild bird native plants, solar panels to provide a modest amount of electricity, a compost pile, and more.
The title Free Pet Stuff Store 15233 is a working title to describe a Free Store focusing on gently used and excess pet items. Volunteers will maintain a list of individuals in need of these items, including rescues, and arrange for delivery as they arrive. It will also give pet owners who lose a beloved pet a special place to donate their items to help other animals.
The Cat Folx Tool Lending Library will make cat rescue items available as needed. It will have capacity to store bulky items like drop traps and to respond to urgent situations such as a housecat accidentally slipping outside by providing regular traps and information.
You can donate via
- Venmo @PittsburghLGBTQ
- Directly to a director of PLC
- Check payable to Pittsburgh LGBTQ Charities mailed to 1439 W. North Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15233
We created yard sign as a fundraiser for these programs.
The signs are 18″ X 24″ with a step stake. They are a gold yellow color with black ink. They are easy to assemble and place in your yard. The design came from our supporter and neighbor, Cas Armour (she/her) – thank you, Cas! The signs were printed by Commonwealth Press – a union shop, locally owned, and a longtime good friend to the LGBTQ and cat communities.
Our #PghCatFolx projects strive to fill gaps in existing services and supports. We are not a rescue, TNVR, or foster group. We focus on connecting cat food donations to caretakers, organizing clinics, promoting the many existing cat rescues, and more. We believe it is never all about the cats, it is also about the caretakers and other folx in our community.
The meaning of the signs
We chose the language to be as representative as possible of the many people who support community cats (and any cats.) Cat folx replaces the traditional term ‘cat lady’ to include diverse genders, gender identities, and ethnic identities as well. We know many of our neighbors doing this work and generally loving cats include men, BIPOC, LGBTQIA and queer people, and more.
Community cats are unowned cats that live outdoors everywhere – in every neighborhood and community. Terms like ‘stray’ or ‘feral’ or ‘homeless’ are used as well. We prefer community cat because they are fixed part of our landscape, our communities. Finding ways to co-exist in harmony with them and help them live healthy lives is the goal. This includes reducing intrusive behaviors and providing food, clean water, and shelter. When community cats are discovered to be friendly or have kittens, we try to find good homes for them throug a series of regional rescue and foster organizations. Trap/Neuter/Spay/Vaccinate/Release (TNVR) is an essential tool to reduce reproduction and keep everyone healthy. Typically a cat that has been TNVRd has a tip in its left ear.
Read more about community cats here.