EFA: Etsy For Animals Etsy For Animals: MAY's COTM is… Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats – A Primer

Etsy for Animals (EFA) aka Artists Helping Animals,

is a team of independent artists, craftspeople,

vintage sellers and craft suppliers on Etsy.com

who are dedicated to providing charitable relief to animals

by donating a portion of the profits from their shops

to an animal charity of their choosing,

and/or to EFA's featured Charity of the Month.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

MAY's COTM is… Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats – A Primer

May's Charity of the Month is…

nominated & written by Corinna of TheFrogBag

Kitty Bungalow Charm School 
for Wayward Cats... A Primer

Street cats have it hard sometimes, especially in the big city. Endless cycles of kittens to feed and take care of, sometimes starting when a mama cat is still a kitten herself. Overcrowding, fights for access to mates and food, even heightened rates of disease transmission. In a place like Los Angeles, where almost four million humans compete for space, feral cats often seem like an afterthought. Space at city shelters is at a premium, and only the youngest, friendliest, tamest kitties have a chance of getting adopted. 

What’s a street cat to do? 
If they’re lucky, they’ll enroll in Charm School!

The Charm School

At Kitty Bungalow, we specialize in socializing feral kittens in a nurturing, cage-free environment. All of our cats come straight off the mean streets but by the time they’ve gone through our unique program they graduate as Ivy League lap cats. We accomplish this with the help of numerous volunteers, a lot of patience, and repeated exercises in building trust. Because the cats have the run of specially built “play rooms” they never have the opportunity to hide in the back of cages. Instead, each volunteer shift (in addition to cleaning, feeding, and medicating) spends time socializing the shyest kittens by playing with them, bribing them with treats, and sometimes just sitting with them, teaching them that humans are friends instead of foes. 

Of course, life on the streets is tough, so many of our students come in with colds, eye infections, and parasites. It’s hard to learn when you’re not feeling well, so we also have a health program for the kids. By the time graduation rolls around, each kitten has a clean bill of health, has been spayed or neutered, and has received their vaccinations. But what good are all those skills without a job? 

As any student knows, graduation is just the beginning. Like humans, cats have a range of personalities. Some enjoy a challenge. Some are rambunctious. And some just want to sleep in the sun with a friend. Kitty Bungalow works hard to match the right cat to the right home, and that makes it a joy to work with the kitties here. You know that every minute with the cats is time well spent, and that because of you they’re headed towards a brighter future, something that happened close to 200 times just last year!

The GED Program

Of course, not all cats have the temperament to become lap cats. Once a feline truly becomes feral it is very hard to convince them otherwise. But that doesn’t mean that cat is a lost cause! With the help of community partners, “colony managers”, and a lot of volunteer power these kitties can also have a shot at the good life. Through TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) Kitty Bungalow is able to spay and neuter whole groups of cats at once. The ones who can adjust to indoor life are enrolled in school, while the others are provided with check-ups, vaccinations, and a new lease on life in which they don’t have to go through the endless rounds of pregnancies and fights anymore. Last year alone we provided nearly 700 “fixes” to the community, resulting in hundreds fewer pregnancies and much healthier, happier cats. 

Corinna with Kitten

The Experience

I’ve personally been a Kitty Bungalow volunteer for about two years now. I’ve seen first-hand the scope of the cat overpopulation problem in Los Angeles, and how hard it can be to fix. But I’ve also seen the Bungalow grow, from it’s origin in a trailer parked behind founder/Headmistress Shawn Simmon’s house to the beautiful building full of “classrooms” that it occupies now. I’ve seen how tireless the volunteers are on behalf of the cats. I’ve worried about sickly “bottle babies” and cheered when recalcitrant students finally gave me a purr. And never once have I doubted that, little by little, we are making a difference to the kitties living in the City of Angels.


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  1. What a terrific charity, Corinna! I'm a big fan of TNR programs and helping find new leases on life. Although our "hoovenile" delinquents are considerably larger, they are often just as damaged and it is always a joy to see the progress made ;o)

    Nice post for a great cause!

  2. We wish all wayward kitties could go to this charm school. You do good stuff!

  3. Jen and Astrid, thanks for reading and commenting! Nothing beats finding great homes for deserving critters :)


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