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Its a cats life at Puffy Paws

It’s a cat’s life at Puffy Paws
Tami Patzer

I see: Peaches, Misty, Peanuts, Motormouth, Mr. Kitty, Baby,
Goldie, Fang, Mookie, Dinky, Twig, Snowy, Stinkles, Buzzard, Cheto, Frito, Sophie and Charlie. . . .

Back in the 1960s, there was a children’s television show called “Romper Room.” Everyday, the teacher would hold a big magnifying glass and look out into the audience and say: “I see” followed by the name of child. Of course, she could never call out every child’s name. Not so, at Puffy Paws Kitty Haven, Chrissy Kingston knows the name of every single cat and kitten in her care. And, the cats love her unconditionally for that devotion.

Since saving a stray cat off the street in Nokomis, she’s devoted her energies to carrying for more about 150 cats and kittens with her husband, Rick Kingston. While most pet help and rescue organizations have legions of volunteers, Chrissy has a few, but most of the hard labor she does herself. In a 24 hour day, it takes about 18 to 20 hours for Chrissy to do her caretaking job. She’s up cleaning, feeding, brushing and caring for the cats – and they appreciate it.

Puffy Paws Kitty Haven is immaculate and if all the cats hid under the bed, anyone entering the home would have no clue cats even lived there.

Rick, Chrissy’s husband, is quick to point out that while he goes out to look for funds through junk car finds and does the Web site and PR, Chrissy is the heart and soul of the no-kill shelter. “She’s the brawn; she’s the muscle of the operation,” he said. “My wife does it all. It’s her nature: It’s go, go, go!”

When Chrissy takes a break to sit down on the couch, the felines all gather around her to vie for attention. A scratch here, a rub there, a little “cat” conversation.  “I’m just their servant. They are very spoiled,” Chrissy said, while sitting amongst the pride.

All are healthy and loved for each animal’s unique personality and they all have a “forever” home at Puffy Paws Kitty Haven, if need be. Some have issues that make them undesirable for most homes. These cats will stay at Puffy Paws and lead lives fit of any beloved pet.

Puffy Paws keeps FIV (feline immune virus) positive in separate rooms, where they receive care. Chrissy is quick to point out that FIV-positive cats are adoptable, but require no other cats in the house because FIV is only transferable between cats through direct contact such as scratches or breeding. “They make great pets,” she said. “They just need a little medical attention and care since their immune systems are not as strong as a non-infected cat.”

Rick said that a new FIV room is being built due to the efforts of Alan and Barbara Walkowitz of Boca Grande. Part of the new FIV room will include an outdoor areas fenced by Purr-fect Fence, a cat friendly and protective fence. With the new fence, “the cats can get outdoors and get some fresh air,” Rick said.

Others donors including Boca Grande’s Barbara Yvonne are helping build a new kitten room, which will be named the Mae Lynch Rescue  Center. “It cost about $100 a day,” Chrissy said of the amount it takes to run the Haven. Many local donors have helped through cash and material type donations.

Part of Puffy Paws fund-raising effort is the collection of junk cars. “We are constantly looking for junk cars – running or not,” Rick said. “We can give a $500 receipt,” adding that if the car sells for more than $500, a receipt will be provided within 30 days for tax purposes. “We pick up within 48 hours and it’s a free tow.”

Others cats and kittens just need loving homes. Many kittens now available came in underage and undernourished, but luckily for Chrissy,she received help from a volunteer feline, a mother cat named “Fairgrounds” that took the attitude of what’s one or two more mouths to feed. Fairgrounds adopted some young strays, and she is nursing them until they are weaned.

“When a person gives up their cat,”Kington said. “It’s the most unselfish act; they want it to have the best care possible and that’s what we offer.”

The suggested donation at Puffy Paws Kitty Haven is $100, according to Kingston. That’s covers the spay/neutering and shots. “We never woke up and said ‘cats, that’s where the money is ”.

“There are so many unwanted cats,” Chrissy said. “People can be so cruel. They move and just leave them. Cats can’t speak for themselves, so they need someone to help them.”

Chrissy said that when it gets too intense, she stops to take breath and remembers: “I am helping these animals. I am making adifference in their lives.”

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