As a non-profit humanitarian organization funded solely by private donations, Animal Umbrella can use any donations that you provide. In addition there is always a pressing need for additional volunteer staff, foster homes, and people willing to adopt cats. Click one of the items listed below to find out more on how you can help us save homeless and feral cats!
Donate money to
support Animal Umbrella.
How your contributions are put to good use to solve the pet overpopulation crisis.
By Annamarie Taylor Back to Top
Abandoned Cats Rescue Program.
Please remember that your contributions to Animal Umbrella are put to good use immediately and that our non-paid volunteers seek, rescue, spay/neuter many homeless cats - the number of which is only determined by the size and frequency of your donations. In December and in January several cats were spayed/neutered and were either adopted, are in foster homes or shelters, or if unadoptable, were returned to the original site and are being cared for.
Our efforts are only limited by our financial resources; with only a $18 per month contribution, in a year you can sponsor 5 cats, which would have produced 368 kittens. Our goal this year is to spay/neuter 1,000 cats. Every dollar you send us counts towards reducing pet overpopulation. As we lower the population, we will reduce the suffering of homeless cats.
Due to the increasing cat overpopulation crisis, we will place all our energies to spay/neuter more homeless cats and encourage pet owners to do this as well. We will educate people to be more sensitive towards animals and to keep them rather than abandon them. We will create more visibility in the media, schools and colleges to the plight of homeless cats and fund our shelter/sanctuary where we give a chance to many intelligent and sensitive animals which have only experienced neglect and suffering in their lives.
We make these goals our challenge, but we cannot do this alone. We need help from each and every one of you! This means to get involved by educating friends, relatives, neighbors and the occasional strangers who cross our lives. We also need you to alert us to cruelty and abuse cases so that we can intervene.
The success of any organization resides in its members' willingness to work as a team towards common goals to affect change. If each one of us works alone, it will not make as much impact as if we worked together. In the long run, the animals will receive less help and will be the losers. We can only do so much - will you help us do the rest?
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Please help us save some of the many homeless cats and kittens languishing hungry, cold, sick and scared in the streets of Massachusetts during the long, bitter winter months. With your $75.00 donation, Animal Umbrella will rescue, spay/neuter, test, vaccinate and care for one of them until it is adopted - no matter it's handicap. Remember that Animal Umbrella is a no kill organization! The cats and kittens we rescue stay with us until we find them a home! Click here for information on where to send your donation.
Adopt one or more cats from Animal
The need to adopt cats
By Annamarie Taylor Back to Top
We realize the full extent of the suffering of abused, homeless cats. We can find them anywhere, trying to find food and shelter near peoples homes, apartment buildings, restaurants, trash bins and anywhere else they can find a means to survive. When we rescue them they are usually thin from starvation, cold, sick and frightened.
Our hard working volunteers have been busy rescuing homeless cats and kittens but it seems it is never enough.
Some of the stories of cruelty are heartbreaking -some people behave as animals were non-living creatures, discarding them from cars or throwing kittens in trash bins or doing even worse. Those who survive even for a limited time, reproduce many litters to continue this legacy of suffering. Kittens born in the streets are considered feral and are not accepted by many shelters - none wants them but Animal Umbrella gives them a chance. Will you, by giving a deserving cat the home and attention that is so desperately needed?
Remembering a man and his cats
By Joanne Bruno
Arthur Carlson was a distinguished Navy veteran of World War II. He was a veteran of another kind of service, a service to animals. In this he was a life time enlistee in the unofficial and unheralded army of people who feed and care for the rejected, abandoned, neglected cats in his neighborhood. For years his front porch in Watertown was an open "soup kitchen" for these local strays.
Then a few years ago - in a story that is all too familiar-the cat population began to reach excessive numbers. With the help of one neighbor, Laurie Papalia, they would find homes for some of the kittens from some of the litters. But other neighbors started to make the typical complaints. Even the postman was disgruntled, insisting that Arthur move his mailbox from the porch to the fence near the sidewalk. With the developing rabies scare, he did not want go on Arthur's porch where a dining cat might suddenly turn vicious. (No need for concern ever materialized.).
Like so many others in his situation, Arthur made a search to find a humane organization to help him. But he did not want the cats to be destroyed. Could homes or new locations be found for at least some of the cats? He would ask, only to be assured that it would be nearly impossible. After all, the cats were feral and it would take a long time, if ever, to socialize them. Most humane organizations, he would discover, did not seem to have resources to deal with large numbers of feral cats. They would loan him available equipment. But he would have to do the trapping... and they would send a van by to take away the cats as they were trapped.
Undertaking such a project would have been very difficult for Arthur, physically and emotionally. His health was failing. And the idea of trapping them, knowing that he would be issuing a death sentence to each cat that walked into a trap was more than he could bear. It was too painful to imagine the terror and confusion they would experience being trapped, defenseless, carried off by strangers. And this would be the last thing they would experience in life... He just couldn't do this to the cats. He knew them, they had names, he watched many grow from kittens to adults, he fed them every day, he set up shelter for them under his porch, he cared about them, worried about their welfare.
Arthur realized he had been naive to assume the humane organizations he had supported with donations throughout his life would now reciprocate. The sheer numbers of unwanted cats was more overwhelming than he'd realized. Obviously if they had to destroy thousands of easily adoptable cats for lack of homes, there was little hope for ferals. Still, it was sad and deeply disappointing to know the only "help" humane societies could offer was something, which required an ultimate betrayal of the cats that had learned to trust and depend upon him. He did what many have done when faced with this dilemma. Nothing. In the meantime, the cats continued to breed, adding to the problem.
It was spring 1994. More kittens were born... Arthur and his neighbor, Laurie managed to socialize a litter. Once again, Laurie had a sign up "Free Kittens to Good Homes".
By chance a young woman, Jodi Farago noticed the sign. Jodi had been actively involved with cat rescue and trapping. She had worked with Animal Umbrella. Like most people involved in humane work, signs advertising free kittens immediately raises a red flag. Someone has a cat that needs to be spayed! Jodi lived in the area, not far from this house. She made a mental note of the address and intended to stop by the next day to make inquiries about the situation. And when she did, she got the story behind the kittens and Arthur Carlson's cat problem from Laurie. She was later introduced to Arthur, examined the cat situation and suggested an alternative solution - one that he had been hoping for, seemingly in vain, for a number of years.
Jodi contacted Animal Umbrella and discussed the situation. She was willing to do trapping but could use help. As fate would have it, a young man who also lived in the area, Dan Stems, had just recently worked through Animal Umbrella's program to spay/neuter several cats he had been caring for. Pleased and grateful with the services to the cats, he offered to help the organization in any way he could, including trapping. Good to his word, he was quite willing to help, and, as he was between jobs, he had extra time available. Working as an energetic, determined team, Jodi and Dan began the task in mid-June. By mid-September of that year they completed the project. There were thirty-one cats and kittens in all. All the adult and young adults, were spayed or neutered, inoculated and treated for any other veterinary need. Only one had to be euthanized due to severe injuries. Many of the younger cats and more "people friendly" cats were taken in by a number of people interested in helping the situation. Linda Robbins of Wayland who has been specializing in the care and adoption of kittens for a number of years took in all the kittens.
Arthur lived to see a positive resolution to a seemingly hopeless problem. But his health continued to decline and on February 5, 1996 this grand old man with a slow but winning smile died. Of course, not identified in his obituary was his most laudable quality: his unconditional love and dedicated care of the animal outcasts whose plight is too easily ignored by the larger society. In this, Arthur and the small "army" of people who perform a similar service of love will remain unsung heroes.
Through his illness and since his death, Laurie Papalia and a member of Animal Umbrella have been daily caring for Arthur's cats. There are a dozen remaining and these will be relocated shortly before his house is sold. If anyone reading this has an interest in taking one of these cats, please contact us and we'll discuss it. For certain, nothing would better please and honor Arthur Carlson. Back to Top
Provide a foster home for abandoned and
Make a little room in your heart.
By Linda Lachman Back to Top
If you want a truly rewarding experience, all you need is a little room in your heart and a little room in your home for there are really no other talents or capabilities required to temporarily foster kittens or cats, other than some spare love, time and a room! These poor animals, rescued from the streets by the incredibly persistent and talented trappers of Animal Umbrella, need just a little attention to become adoptable. Fostering is not an art or skill; all you need is the desire to help these animals get through tough times. Some times it can mean the difference between life and death for them, because the Animal Umbrella shelter may be temporarily full and unable to take the animal for a little while, so a foster home can be a momentary resting-place, instead of the end of the road.
Love is really the most important ingredient for any animal to become a trusting, loyal and wonderful pet, believe me, I have seen some "really wild" (read that actually: "really scared") animals turn around and be adoptable and adopted into good homes. And that is the greatest joy of being a foster home - giving these abandoned animals a second chance to have a caring home with a life of love and attention, rather than a horrible struggle on the streets until a terrible death. Most of the older animals about which Animal Umbrella gets calls, and manages to rescue in time, are former pets that were left behind by uncaring or ill-informed people, who mistakenly think that cats can live independently in the streets or woods, and survive. Most of these cats are friendly almost immediately, but some of them may have become frightened by their interaction with humans during their experiences while fighting to survive. However, with patience and kindness they are easily reminded of the good side of the human race! To me, saving and helping these older animals is really a duty we have to make up for their experiences with the bad side of the human race!
And a foster home can choose to take in the "really scared" ferals or the stray abandoned former pets, depending upon the time and kind of attention they want to give to the street cats of Massachusetts. I find that having a mix of ferals and strays is a good way to help the ferals get adapted, but any home with any space for even a few strays can be a major contribution to our feline friends.
It is unbelievably exciting when a cat that you have fostered is given to a new and permanent parent! All it needed was a little place to rest along the way to a better life, and it is fulfilling to know that you have made a small contribution to one little life. Of course, the good news has a double edge to it, as it is also very sad to lose each one of these sweet new friends. And, naturally, one always "wonders" how the cat is doing, and hoping that all is well for them in their new home.
Of course, there are many kittens that need fostering as well. For me, kittens are absolutely irresistible in any color, age and gender! Their innate instinct to play and to love means that even the most feral kittens can be made a sweet and ideal pet with enough time, patience and love.
Kittens are often a great deal more fun to foster than older cats, but they can also be a greater challenge. It is incredibly enriching to see a little kitten become adoptable, but many times kittens from the streets are sick and need to be treated with special care and feeding, so it is not the choice for someone who wants just a playful kitty to have for a little while. However, it is doubly rewarding to help a sick or very scared kitten become a healthy and loving adoptee.
And of course, the loving foster parent gets to name the cats and kittens most of the time as well, as it is important to address each of them by a name as part of preparing them for their life with humans. I'm not sure that Silver, Mercury, Midnight or Peanut will keep their names in their new homes, but I know I will always keep a special spot in my heart for each one of them. Each one is as different as their names and as precious to me as any of my own cats could ever be.
So, if you have a little extra spare room in your home, try to find a little spot in your heart and you'll always be glad that you did. I have been fostering cats for almost two years - some cats take more time than others to be domesticated do and so, of course, the greatest danger is that the foster cats become permanent residents and no longer foster cats! However, it is worth that "risk" to have the very unique and special pleasure of helping these wonderful animals - the cats no one else wants until they have just a little love and can then become someone else's special pet. Please call Animal Umbrella if you are interested and want to learn more about becoming a foster home. You'll never regret it! Contact us for more information on how to become an Animal Umbrella foster home. Back to Top
Become an Animal Umbrella volunteer.
A welcome to prospective volunteers.
By Annamarie Taylor Back to Top
As new friends and supporters join our organization we need to re-emphasize our mission as a humane organization. We differ in many ways from other humane organizations because our major focus is the rescuing of feral cats while other humane organizations either choose not to handle them or they destroy them once they are brought to their shelters. Please bear this in mind when deciding to whom to make a charitable contribution. Not only do we rescue feral cats but we provide medical care to them, we spay/neuter them, and we try to socialize and adopt out many of them through our extensive network. We encourage a humane solution as an alternative to destruction. It is important to remember that Animal Umbrella's work also saves non-feral homeless cats and kittens from the streets. Additionally, we strive to promote humane values through education not only about cats but animals in general. We encourage harmony between people, our environment and all living creatures. Please support our efforts to make our world a better living place. Contact us to learn more about becoming an Animal Umbrella volunteer.
By Annamarie Taylor
Priscilla Thompson Dedicated Animal Lover
Do you ever wonder how you could support Animal Umbrella's programs more but cannot financially stretch your budget? Now there is a way! You can volunteer by doing fund raising activities in your community or get involved in one of our major revenue raising efforts to pay for our huge veterinarian bills (even at discounted rates). You get to meet a lot of people, create more awareness on humane issues, acquire a greater feeling of self-fulfillment and raise badly needed funds to save more animals! If each one of our supporters raised $200 a year - we could do so much more! Please contact us and lets discuss the opportunities.
Save as many as possible from the harsh life in the streets. Since our resources are limited, we encourage you to continue calling us so that we can increasingly work together and accomplish so much more.
Additionally, please call us if you know of irresponsible owners who let their animals breed indiscriminately - further compounding the overpopulation problem - so that we can work with them as well. Our challenge continues to be to educate people on the issue that animals are not a disposable commodity. They should never be thrown in the streets once they have been adopted and they should not be allowed to reproduce at will. I recently met a concerned animal lover whose neighbor has allowed her cat to reproduce 25 litters! We can assure you that the reproduction cycle for that cat is over now that we are involved! Please help us stop this continuing cycle of suffering by working with us on this important issue! Remember that spaying/neutering will save endless lives!
Editorial Note: When death takes away the life of someone suddenly, it is always very sad. When that life is the one of a person who was very loved and worked so hard in her community to rescue may suffering animals, that loss is even more tragic.
Priscilla Thompson, the cofounder of the Mattapoisett Chapter of Animal Umbrella (the Headquarters of the organization are in Lynn), was killed in a terrible car accident. Priscilla was struck by a car, which hurled her through the window of a local store as her sister was watching in their car. She died a terrible death.
Mrs. Thompson was a member of the Animal Umbrella Board of Directors. Animal Umbrella wishes to express its deepest sympathy to her family, colleagues and friends. We greatly appreciate her work and devotion during all these years and we will sorely miss her.
We know that if all the cats she rescued could speak, they would voice their endless gratitude and deep sorrow for her loss. Mattapoisett's Chapter of Animal Umbrella, Inc. has lost a true friend and co-founder. Priscilla's compassion and understanding of animals were part of her life. Dogs, cats, bunnies, ducks, pigeons and people all came to her for help and her special love. If you needed it, Priscilla got it for you.
Since 1991, Priscilla serviced Animal Umbrella of Mattapoisett. She kept a barn on her property where, initially, cats and kittens were brought prior to surgery and adoption. Priscilla spent countless hours gathering wood for the wood stove in the barn to keep her charges warm in the winter and many a night would find her sleeping in the rocking chair holding her "babies" and feeding them every two hours. "Grandma" Priscilla (just one of her nicknames) would feed, potty train and do everything a mother cat would do for a newborn kitten. Her husband often commented he never knew what creature would be at the breakfast table with them or what sort of "lessons" they would be learning there.
Another of Priscilla's nicknames was Kitty Santa. She gave freely; if there was a need for a trap, food, medical care, supplies, etc. Priscilla found a way to get it and give it to the person and/or animal in need. She had an inherent trust of people, never requiring deposits on equipment or payment up front and most of the time she was rewarded with the thanks and dedication that she so deserved.
Priscilla and Mary Lou Koback (co-founders of Animal Umbrella of Mattapoisett) are responsible for the spaying/neutering and finding homes for over 3,000 cats and kittens.
Priscilla would recount with delight the many adventures that she and Mary Lou shared. There was the time when kittens had to be rescued from a locked garage. The owner of the property gave them permission to enter the garage with no keys. Undaunted Priscilla hoisted Mary Lou up and through a window. But once inside Mary Lou fell in the slippery grease on the floor of the garage and could not get up and Priscilla was too short to get up to the window and inside. So, using her "Yankee" ingenuity she found a piece of rope and threw it inside and tried to haul Mary Lou up, just like a hooked trout. After regaining her footing Mary Lou managed to get the two kittens and lower them to Priscilla's waiting arms.
Priscilla's dedication knew no bounds. Witness the time that she and Mary Lou spent 27 consecutive days trying to trap a cat who had escaped from his owner at a Vet's office after having its broken leg set. On the 27th day success came upon their trapping the cat not more than 1,000 yards from the Vet's office.
Fund raising, grant writing, begging, beseeching, all became a major part of Priscilla's world, all for the cause of the cats. Daybreak would find her and Mary Lou creeping through the brush - climbing in to sheds - crawling under garages to rescue their feline friends.
Timing being of the essence and patience a virtue, that's how Priscilla lived. She would wait for hours on end for a cat to come to her and her patience knew no bounds. The animals sensed this and many formed a special bond with her. She opened her home, her barn, and her property to many of the cats and kittens that were not adoptable or who refused to be adopted because they wanted to stay with her.
Priscilla's life on earth came to an end in a tragic accident on December 9, 1997. But we at Animal Umbrella, Inc. know that her spirit is still with us. Our love for her will never end and as Mary Lou and Priscilla's family look after her feline family the memories abound and the vow to continue her good work goes on. We can hear her voice echoing "come get your suppa'... now my pretty pretty baby". Back to Top