Free Fix LA and NKLA Pet Adoption Center help abandoned cat

Suki the black cat from Free Fix LASuki, a sweet cat with a loving personality, knew that people could be kind. She was once the feline member of a household who kept her inside. Her days were most likely spent hunting for the sunny spot to nap in. Street life was something she watched from the window, not something she was prepared to deal with.  

When her family moved, they decided to leave the unfixed girl behind. They put her outside and never looked back. She was found by a woman who lived in the neighborhood when her mews from the back porch attracted attention. The woman quickly brought Suki indoors with the intention of getting her spayed and keeping her. When she started talking to the neighbors about Suki, she learned of her abandonment and that neighborhood children had been harassing her. The woman, unfortunately, was highly allergic to Suki and could not keep her. She kept an eye on her while she arranged to have her spayed through the Free Fix LA program.

Free Fix LA and TNR

Free Fix LA is the community cat program from Best Friends in Los Angeles, California. The program's focus is trap/neuter/return (TNR) of community (aka free-roaming feral and stray) cats in five cities of the San Fernando Valley. "While our program tries to focus all its energies on high-volume TNR, we sometimes come across stories like Suki's," says Victoria Johnson, L.A. cat initiatives supervisor. "Many of the community cats live fine outdoors, and it's the only life they have ever known, but for some, like Suki, it's much harder for them to survive alone on the streets."

Saving an abandoned cat

Suki the cat held by Stacy Sanders at Free Fix LA"When I first learned of the abuse Suki went through, I was completely disgusted," says Stacy Sanders, community cat coordinator.  "Before working for Best Friends' Free Fix LA, I was a California state animal cruelty investigative sergeant, so hearing of this was nothing new to me, but even after investigating many cases of neglect and abandonment, it is still very difficult to hear. I knew that we had to do everything we could to not have Suki go back to the area."

Stacy believed it was Suki's loving personality that made her the target of the teenagers' abuse. When Stacy learned Suki had been accepted into the new NKLA Pet Adoption Center, she also knew that her personality would be her winning ticket home.

Samantha Chappell had been looking to add a cat to her family. She had heard about the NKLA Pet Adoption Center from another animal welfare organization where she hadn't found the right fit for her brood. The center came highly recommended, so she decided to check it out. She wasn't disappointed. "It's clean, while being very homey and spacious," shares Samantha. "I felt comfortable, and it seemed the animals did as well. The staff is also very friendly, caring, passionate, and answered all of my questions."

Adopting a "demanding" cat

Suki was at the NKLA Pet Adoption Center for just a few hours before Samantha met her, and the rest, as they say, is history: "Suki, now (renamed) Ishtar, was exactly what I was looking for and more. She's incredibly friendly while still being very independent," says Samantha. "As soon as I met her, she demanded that I pet her, and she hasn't stopped demanding it ever since. Her strong personality and determination is what set her above the other cats for me."

Victoria is also thrilled with this lifesaving arrangement: "To know that we also have the NKLA Pet Adoption Center as an occasional resource is a relief to us. In every TNR program, there will always be situations where we need to take cats or litters of in-danger kittens off the streets and place them into homes."

Get involved helping cats

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Photos by Samantha Chappell and courtesy of Free Fix LA