We had four very lucky cats come through our clinic who had been living at a hotel. A kind lady from Nebraska stayed at this hotel, saw these cats and reached out for help. She called many places for help and Humane Ohio and local cat-vocate Terri Guidera responded. Terri was able to talk to management who was happy for help and trap them to bring to Humane Ohio for fixing, Humane Ohio was able to offer $5 per surgery plus a free rabies vaccine thanks to grant funding and provide info on our pet food bank to help the hotel continue to feed the kitties, and the kind lady from Nebraska is fundraising to cover the costs. We love partnerships like these!–Humane Ohio
I first became acquainted with Terri Guidera by a series of fortunate events. I posted a plea to the Trap-Neuter-Return Community and to the Community Cats United Midwest, which resulted in various suggestions including that I contact Alley Cat Feral Friends Network. A lady who had attended school with Terri received my email, knew that Terri lived near the area needing help, and reached out to her. Terri then emailed me and a plan was formulated! Terri graciously allowed me to interview her about volunteer activities.
ALLISON: Why did you start rescuing homeless cats?
TERRI: I have always liked cats, and have had them most of my adult life. There was a farmhouse behind where I lived in a small subdivision that had a few roaming cats in the mid-90’s; I always tried to make sure they were cared for. When I bought my own place a few years forward, it had a number of strays from an adjacent apartment complex, and my destiny was settled–though I didn’t quite know that at the time.
ALLISON: What skills have you developed in rescue?
TERRI: Trapping, for one. More patience also, for dealing with elusive strays and with people who do not understand that humans have caused the problem–not cats. I’m not really certain that I’ve developed any other specific skills through my rescue work; it’s more like I’ve been blessed to discover hidden talents I can develop and to make connections with others who care and want to make a difference.
ALLISON: What have been some challenges?
TERRI: Resources are always a challenge–for placing found kittens, for funding spay/neuter surgeries & vaccinations, for food & supplies…. Everyone thinks there’s a magic kingdom that will gladly accept the unwanted cats that they want gone from their properties. The lack of compassion I sometimes encounter is also a challenge.
ALLISON: Share one of your happiest moments in animal welfare.
TERRI: Many, many happy moments when a forever home is found! Sharing a mama’s pride in her newborn babies and watching her care for them in security of my utility room, not out on their own, has been a special privilege too that created some very sweet memories for me.
ALLISON: Share one of your saddest moments in animal welfare.
TERRI: Saying goodbye to Baby Gray, the CH kitten I knew would break my heart when I brought her and her siblings home from a shelter tote. Overall, knowing that we cannot save them all is very sad, but it also can spur determination to at least Do Something!
ALLISON: How have you made use of social media to get cats rescued?
TERRI: Not as effectively as I’d like to! I have a closed Facebook group that I try to keep updated and connect with people on, but not everyone is on Facebook. I’am trying to become more comfortable with phone use, but I much prefer using my computer setup.
ALLISON: What skills have you offered as a community cats volunteer?
TERRI: My experience since going ‘full time’ in 2014 has made me see that an organized educational effort supporting TNR/TNVR and prevention would be very beneficial. For example, I’d love to hold TNR classes at local spay & neuter clinic.
ALLISON: What tips would you give to those who want to help homeless animals?
TERRI: First, remember: ”If you Feed it, FIX it!!” Cats can reproduce at 4-6 months old, and gestation period averages 64 days–so those strays can quickly produce many offspring, who will in turn reproduce
Second, seek out local resources such as low-cost spay and neuter clinics, geographic TNR communities on FaceBook that you can use and help grow.
Thanks to Terri Guidera for allowing me to interview her and share samples of her work. You can follow Terri at her Facebook Page. Terri is founder of Camelot Cats, named for a rental property in NW Ohio. It’s a nonprofit group for promoting TNR initiatives, providing education and shelter solutions for abandoned & community cat populations.