Purr-fectly Catty

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By The Staff

People often lament that they don’t know how they’ll cope with an extra mouth to feed. Imagine having 160 mouths to feed and every one of them dependent on you for every iota of food they eat.

That’s the daunting task the volunteers at Feisty Acres face seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.

Established in 1988 and incorporated in 1995, Feisty Acres is a cat rescue operation located between Williston and Bronson.

Its founder, Edna Nute, lives on the property and oversees about a dozen volunteers who come to help with the kitty care.

From cleaning litter boxes to filling food bowls and everything in between, the no-kill shelter consists of several buildings on a 10-acre parcel.

Upon arrival, the first building has several specialty rooms dedicated to specific needs, including an infirmary, a surgery and isolation.

Dr. David Sausville, a veterinarian who lives on the adjacent property, assists with the animal care and helps see to their medical needs. Feisty Acres also avails itself with other veterinarians, Nute said.

Inside the main building, cats and kittens are kept in open airy rooms with both air conditioning and oscillating fans.

Cats with feline leukemia are separated those that have FiB or FIV–both serious conditions. All cats are treated with respect, Nute said, and their days–whether they be weeks, months or years–are made happy and filled with love and attention.

Adoptable kittens and cats also have their own quarters and are just waiting for someone to love them.

Volunteers, some who give one day of service or just a few hours, come and go throughout the day. The needs are there, and they know what has to be done.

Chris Howard has been a volunteer for two years, initially coming with her daughter, Jennifer, who was working there as part of the community service criterion for a college scholarship.

The community service time has long passed, but Howard continues to volunteer and Jennifer also lives on the property now.

“It’s like a sanctuary,” Howard said. “This is a home for abandoned cats with special needs.”

“We’re blessed to have this facility here,” said Cheryl Watson, a five-year volunteer who also lives on the property.

“What’s good about Feisty Acres,” Howard said, “is we don’t turn away anyone or any cat due to inadequate finances.”

Animals found abused or neglected may be brought to the farm, or when people who die leave bequests in their wills that the cats should be cared for at Feisty Acres.

Either way, the cats are loved, cared for and nurtured. Some will never leave the farm, yet there are more than 36 residing there now who are waiting on adoptive families.

But if you feel you really can’t take on the responsibility of a pet, Feisty Acres still has a niche for you to fill.

Volunteers are needed in every capacity and if you are physically limited to what you can do, never fear.

There are rocking chairs where you can sit, pet and talk to cats.

Feisty Acres is a stress-free facility, Nute said, and people are needed to come love and soothe the cats.

“Stress affects animals just like it does people,” Nute said, “and can bring out disease and ailments you may have.”

Cats with FIV, which is an autoimmune disease, particularly don’t need the complications of stress, which is all the more reason they need extra attention and affection.

“We need all kinds of volunteers and donations,” Watson said.

“Plumbers and carpenters can help us fix up the office and special rooms,” she said. “We need white paint, old towels, rubber backed rugs….all those things can help us. And cash.”

A 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organizations, any monetary contribution is tax deductible, Nute said.

Many people across North Central Florida support the agency, including one man who even paid off the mortgage on Feisty Acres. Yet still, the needs–and expenses–are tremendous for the all-volunteer group.

To learn more about Feisty Acres, or to volunteer, call Nute at (352) 528-2302, e-mail feistyedna@embarqmail.com or write:

Feisty Acres, Inc

PO Box 693

Williston, FL 32696