LETTER: What I’ve learned about Feline Friends
Who knew Feline Friends of Destin did so much for Destin’s furry felines? Before my “need” for Feline Friends, I had no idea exactly what the group did, how they raised money, or in what ways donations were used.
In the spring of 2012, the most beautiful male Maine coon cat showed up on our small backyard deck. We gladly fed him, while searching for his owner. Within a couple weeks, newly named Tiger, brought his mate Suzie to dine on our deck. Then, along came five month old Sheila and Junior, their offspring. The situation was getting a little concerning, especially for our inside cat, Stormy!
I contacted Feline Friends about our growing colony. They explained their TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) program. Within a few days, Feline Friends trapped the cats and Airport Vet neutered, microchipped and vaccinated them.
After the procedures, the cats were returned to us. During this process, we discovered that Suzie and Tiger had another younger litter of five. Without hesitating, Feline Friends’ volunteer trappers (Linda, Jane and Carol) came back. It took them a few hours over two days to snag the active, skittish, furry five.
Volunteers worked for weeks with the newest litter, readying them for adoption. Feline Friends mans the PetSmart Adoption Center dozens of hours each week. (Be aware that after six weeks old, it’s difficult, sometimes impossible, to domesticate feral cats.)
Feline Friends of Destin and their volunteers took all my phone calls, helped me trap the initial four visitors, spent two days trapping the frisky five and spent several weeks readying the five for adoption; then, helped find them loving homes through PetSmart Adoption Center. They spent dozens of hours helping the nine felines. I was overwhelmed by the dedication and hard work of these generous cat lovers!
In 2013, Feline Friends of Destin through PetSmart Adoption Center helped find 309 cats and kittens new homes. The TNR program helped sterilize and give shots to 250 cats in Okaloosa and Walton counties. Almost 160 of these cats live in Destin.
Hundreds of unwanted cat pregnancies were avoided because Feline Friends of Destin intervened with their TNR program. An average un-spayed female can have a dozen or more kittens each year! Feline Friends’ volunteers also maintain feeding stations for feral cats and foster cats in need.
How can you help? Donations are always appreciated. Feline Friends is also in need of caring foster parents and dedicated volunteers. To raise money for cat food, supplies and veterinarian bills, volunteers organize bake sales and do fund raisers.
The current fundraiser is the St. Catty’s Day Raffle! When purchasing raffle tickets you help Feline Friends of Destin and have a chance to win resort stays, dining gift cards, spa treatments, attraction tickets, and many more prizes! Tickets are 1 for $10, 3 for $25, 8 for $50 and 20 for $100. The raffle drawing will be on March 17 at Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Sandestin. You need not be present to win. Tickets can be purchased online at felinefriendsofdestin.myevent.com. Call Feline Friends at 850-837-3869 or email FelineFriendsofDestin@hotmail.com.
All proceeds go toward the rescue of our feline friends. Thanks for your support!
Deronda Redden is a longtime Destin resident and owner of DestinDirect.com. She is a member of the Destin Area and Walton County chambers, a past president of Republican Women of Okaloosa Federated, and supporter of the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge and Feline Friends.