The Cats of Dinsmore and the Young Woman Determined to Change Their Lives as well as the Lives of Her Community Members
“In September,” she told us, “I found two more. [The kittens in the photo above.] They died.”
Sutton said she cried for them and for the large number of stray cats in her eastern Humboldt County town. “I wanted to make sure [the stray cats] didn’t have no more babies,” she explained.
She described twenty to thirty strays living in the area that were unspayed, unneutered, and unhealthy. She didn’t have much money but wanted to help them. She reached out to us in November to ask if there was a way to get donations of food for the feral cats.
“You got me in contact with Jan Carr,” Sutton said. “And, she started donating me cat food…I get the cat food and my friends in the trailer park areas have been feeding them.”
Jan Carr, who has trapped, spayed, and neutered hundreds of felines in Humboldt County, runs Cats in my Heart, a Facebook page devoted to rescuing cats that don’t have a home. Carr has helped Sutton provide food for the animals and begin to get them spayed and neutered.
“Feral cats can over-populate quickly,” she said. “But, if you spay and neuter and monitor a colony, they actually die out if you stay on top of it.”
Carr said that Sutton impressed her. “I can’t say enough about this young woman,” Carr explained. “She has taken on so much…She’s young and has energy and she’s motivated…She knows all the cats. She knows them…She is going to make a huge difference for the people and the cats of Dinsmore…a huge difference to her community.”
One of the ways Sutton has begun helping is trapping and transporting some of the feral cats to Humboldt Spay/Neuter Network!
But Carr said Sutton faces quite a few obstacles. “She is basically on her own getting the cats to the vet in Eureka,” she told us. “It is a long drive…”
Sutton told us, “Me and my friend left our place around six in the morning and got to the spay and neuter place around seven something.” After dropping off the cats, she has to pick them up around 2 p.m. Then she has to make the drive down Hwy 101 and back out the narrow curves of Hwy 36 to Dinsmore.
But even more than the long drive is the expense. While Humboldt Spay/Neuter Network! is donating much of the expense of the actual vet and Carr donates food, Sutton has to pay for gas and for the other expenses associated with the spay and neutering.
Sutton says she also wants to help her low-income neighbors spay and neuter their pet cats. “There are people in my neighborhood who need help with that,” she told us. “Hopefully, the cats aren’t pregnant yet…The non-feral I have to pay for.”
She’s started a GoFundMe page for those who can help. Sutton said she isn’t very experienced at creating things like this. She struggled to put the page together. “The cats in the top picture aren’t the ones I’m raising money for,” she explained. “They’re just pictures off the internet.”
Sutton said her next appointment is on February 12. Then, she and a friend will lure in some strays. “We capture them by putting a little bit of food in a cage, like a Have-A-Heart trap,” she explained. “My dad has a trap. We get one cage from a neighbor.” She’d like to have more. “The spay and neuter place told me I could rent traps for $90,” she laughed. “I was like NOPE. I’m good.”
She paused and added, “Well, maybe if I raise some money.”
[Note: Humboldt Spay Neuter doesn’t actually rent the traps. They provide them for a $90 deposit.]