The VOICE of Inspiration
By Don Lindsey.
One Saturday morning about a month ago, I was sitting at my laptop writing an article when I decided that I would consider highlighting organizations and people who work to make our community and the lives of the folks in it better. The first one is a no-kill cat rescue/education group called Candy’s Cats Inc.
I’ll be honest here and explain that I do have an emotional attachment to this group since three of our six cats have come out of the Candy’s Cats system. We even have one dog that was initially rescued by one of the organization’s volunteers. I have seen firsthand how dedicated its volunteers are. In fact, my wife Tammy was one for quite some time, and while I thought that I was going into this project with a lot of knowledge about this group, I realized once I started my research that there was much that I didn’t know about the work that these people do.
As a 501 (c) (3) Florida non-profit organization, Candy’s Cats uses their donations and resources towards caring for the cats that they take in. They also work tirelessly within the community to educate the citizens about such things as spaying and neutering, and “throw away cats” (people moving away and leaving the animal or deciding that the animal can no longer be in their care and leaving it outside). These people dedicate their entire lives to bettering the futures of every cat or kitten that they take in. The organization’s founder Candy Sullivan and I have repeatedly tried to talk about this column but couldn’t find the time due to her dedication to the work that Candy’s Cats does. The volunteers are just as dedicated. At any given time, up to 30 folks will foster cats and prepare them to be adopted. It might mean waking up at all hours of the night to bottle feed the kittens, wean them from their mother, give medicine to sick animals and making sure that the cats are making all vet appointments along with transporting them to the adoption centers during the weekends or events. The adoption centers consist of Pet Smart in Winter Garden, and three Pet Supermarkets locations on S. Hiawassee, S. Chickasaw Trail and Alafaya Trail in Oviedo. Volunteers that cannot foster will work at these centers, cleaning cages, taking pictures to post on the website to help people find cats to adopt, and handling the adoption process. There are also events that they do for fundraising, adoption, and education. For more about these events and the organization, you can go to the Candy’s Cats website here.
Earlier in this column, I said that I’d experienced firsthand the dedication that these people give to their work. I’ve also experienced the way that they educate. Being someone that considers himself a cat person, I’ve had a few of the furballs over the years and had no idea until I moved here and learned about this organization how painful it was for a cat to be declawed. I had always had my cat’s front claws removed to save my furniture. It was my understanding that while it was a surgery that the animal had to recover from, that it wasn’t necessarily a traumatic experience for the cat. The way it was described to me was like someone having an ingrown toenail removed. Thanks to Candy’s Cats, I now know that this way of thinking couldn’t be further from the truth. Declawing is a painful and traumatizing thing for the cat to go through and I have wished more than once that I had this knowledge before putting my animals through that. I’ve also learned the importance of vaccinating your cats along with all the different diseases and illnesses these animals are at risk for. It may sound strange that I as a cat lover was so uneducated about these wonderful creatures, but in truth, there are many like me… and organizations such as Candy’s Cats are a blessing because the information they provide has helped me be a much better cat owner.
I, along with so many others, have spent time discussing all the ugly that we have in our world currently, and I have tried in these columns to provide my view of how there is still good in this world for us to focus on and draw hope from. This organization and the work that they do is a shining example of what I mean by that. They find or are brought these helpless little souls and not only bring joy to the lives of those cats but also bring love, and happiness to the people that end up adopting the cats. In my opinion, they are not just doing a “good deed” for the animals and the community, they are doing God’s work by trying to end suffering where they see it.
Don Lindsey is a follower of Christ, son, husband, father, and a survivor. Originally from Dayton Ohio, and resident of Apopka for six years, Don sees his life as a dedication to his wife, parents, children, and community.