Blackstone Valley nonprofit brings joy to cats and the people who love themJan 21, 2021 01:04PM ● By Christine Galeone
Frumunder, a sweet FIV-positive cat with a heart murmur, is one of the felines that BV Cats hopes to adopt out to a good home. (Submitted
Charles Dickens once quipped, “What greater gift than the love of a cat?” The legendary author and known cat lover was among the multitudes throughout history who understood what a blessing cats could be to the people who share their lives.
Thankfully, Eileen Russo also understands the joy that cats can bring
to people’s lives. And she’s aware of how good, caring people can
beautifully enrich the lives of their feline friends. By founding and
running BV Cats, a Northbridge-based non-profit cat rescue, she and her
group of dedicated volunteers have made a wonderful difference in the
lives of both species throughout the Blackstone Valley.
Frumunder, who emerged “from under” a couple’s porch one day, enjoys having his head rubbed by his foster pet parents, and he seems to like dogs. People that believe they can provide a good, caring home for him should call BV Cats at 508-735-5825. (Submitted)
With a team of around 20 volunteers, including Russo, the group’s mission is to “strive for cleaner, safer homes and neighborhoods in which families, felines and others can co-exist in harmony, by providing compassionate care and control of cat over-population.” To accomplish that mission, the group started by trapping, spaying or neutering, vaccinating and releasing feral cats. But when Russo and the other volunteers began finding abandoned pets who had joined feral colonies to survive, they branched out into fostering and adopting out homeless cats. Now, BV Cats also finds new homes for cats that need to be surrendered by their human companions because of financial, health or lifestyle changes that negatively impact their ability to care for the felines. Additionally, the group helps rescued cats to get the veterinary care they need.
Rescuing cats from a variety of circumstances has given Russo some unique insights. “Some people love their cats but do not know how to take care of them; some people put their cats upon a pedestal and can’t do enough for them,” Russo noted. She added, “They have feelings, wants and needs and a psychology that if you work with it, they can become the best they can be. If you do not acknowledge it, they cannot flourish, and they become less than manageable, less than desirable. Misfits that eventually become surrendered or abandoned.”
While some of the stories of the cats that the nonprofit serves are heartbreaking, including one involving a beloved, well-cared-for cat of a woman who had to move into a homeless shelter and ones of precious, aging cats with hyperthyroidism abandoned because of their condition, others are heartwarming. “One mom cat forced her way through the outer wall and through the inner wall of a house that was being renovated – to be sold eventually; she had her kittens on the wall-to-wall carpet,” Russo recalled. “I trapped the mom and the four kittens. I moved them to a special foster home where they lived with love, good food and safety until all of them were adopted.”
To help BV Cats during the pandemic, Russo said that there are two things that people could do. “You can donate to BV Cats or buy the things we sell – cat blankets, cat toys, handmade jewelry and scarves,” Russo said. “A fiber artist in Pennsylvania makes an 1898 knitted alpaca winter hat to order. She also makes beanies of alpaca yarn which I supply...”
More information about the nonprofit is available on the BV Cats website, www.bvcatsincma.org, on its Facebook page or by calling 508-735-5825. You can also send a non-tax-deductible check to BV Cats, P.O. Box 819, Northbridge, MA 01534.
If you would like to suggest a Blackstone Valley nonprofit or initiative for this series, please contact Christine at [email protected].