Fat Kitty City
Feb 01, 2012 02:50AM
Photos by Dante Fontana
Scottish author Stuart McMillan sums up the cat in one simple thought: “A meow massages the heart.”
There is no better place to get that feeling than Fat Kitty City. Seeing the happy and well-cared-for cats living their lives to the fullest is heartwarming. The 70 or so felines housed within the fenced and secured acre of the compound are now safe. However, their lives did not start that way; the majority of the cats now living “the good life” were tortured, abused or simply thrown away.
In 2007, Cindy and Ed Minghelli founded Fat Kitty City – a sanctuary in El Dorado Hills for neglected, damaged and abandoned cats – with a mission to end the needless suffering of all animals using various means, including: spaying, neutering, socializing and adopting out cats. If a cat is not healthy enough or able to live in a home, Fat Kitty City provides lifetime care. “We are the best-kept secret in El Dorado County,” Ed explains. “We need to change that.” As a nonprofit with no federal and state funding, they rely on the generosity of their patrons for much-needed donations.
They were successful in rescuing 73 feral cats that were going to be crushed when bulldozers razed the shuttered Pollardville Chicken Kitchen near Stockton. After rehabilitation at Fat Kitty City, 60 of the original 73 were adopted by loving families – the rest live safely on sanctuary grounds.
Ed explains that the sanctuary is a place where the cats can live indoors and outside without fear. “Just like their normal habitat, they have trees to climb, grass to lie on, sunlight and fresh air.” Along with the outside experience, Ed and Cindy have constructed four substantial structures that allow the kitties to escape the heat or the cold. Each building has many comfortable sofas, kitty beds with places to climb and perch, and lots of litter boxes. “We go through about a ton of litter each month,” Ed explains.
Right now, Fat Kitty City is at “cat capacity.” Although the county has approved a huge expansion of the sanctuary, the nonprofit does not yet have the funds to grow. There are about 40 cats being fostered and nearly 300 on a waiting list to get in. “What keeps me awake at night is the hundreds of cats that will be put down this week,” Ed shares. “The sanctuary has plenty of land, but we don’t have the money to build the modules or enlarge the fence.” The price tag of keeping a “forever” cat, with veterinary bills and food costs, is about $2,500.
Fat Kitty City takes cats from all over northern California, and Meg Svoboda of West Sacramento is very grateful. When Svoboda found a feral cat she named Dimertri, he was in bad shape, but since living at the cat sanctuary, he is thriving. “I found this wonderful place…,” Svoboda shares as she recounts her search for a place to help an animal in need.
For more information, including how to be a donor, visit fatkittycity.org.