Saturday

Ivan The Feral Cat

Beautiful Black Cat
Ivan is a beautiful jet black feral (wild) cat who lives behind a shed at our town dump. Its my job to bring him food, fresh water, and a loving glance into his beautiful eyes every day. Ivan has lived at the dump for over seven years now, here is his story:

On Christmas day in 2008 I lost a friend to pancreatic cancer, she was only 55 years old. Leslie Smallridge was an incredible woman who was an avid animal lover with a kind and a gentle heart. For seven years my friend (daily) cared for our group of local dump kitties. I was able to fill in for her on many occasions, once for about two months after which I got to actually stroke the soft little head of one feral kitty. All the cats at our dump were black or black and white. Their numbers ranged from four some years to just one. All of them have been trapped, neutered or spayed, and have had their basic shots. We live in New England which has some severe winters with lots of snow and cold. Because of Leslie's love for these feral cats, they have lived relatively well in a snug little igloo house packed well with hay and always fresh (thawed) water and food.

Now I am the main caregiver for the ferals and there seems to be just one beautiful black cat left, I’ve named him Ivan. There are many days of bitter ice and cold, when I need chip through Ivan’s frozen water to make room for fresh but I never miss a day because I know I will be greeted by those soft pale green eyes that become more trusting every week. Leslie worked closely with a local charity known as Berkshire Animal Dreams, together they made a huge impact on the quality of life for many stray and abandoned kitties.

After Leslie's passing, I looked into my heart to find the best way I could offer my condolences....I decided that helping Animal Dreams would be my way of remembering Leslie. As an artist and Co-leader of the group Art for Critters, I now contribute a large portion of my art sales to Berkshire Animal Dreams. I also brought Berkshire Animal Dreams into our Art for Critters list of charities so that all thirty five of our members donate to this charity. Leslie, if you are looking down on us...thank you for all you have done and I promise to continue to care for Ivan the "Feral Cat" forever.

If you would like to help Ivan, you can use the "Donate" button below or consider making a small donation to Berkshire Animal Dreams




9 comments:

ToddWeissCFA said...

Great stuff Melody. Nice to see you taking on the responsibilty. I love the name Ivan. Thanks for sharing. :)

@SerendipityJane said...

My cat looks just like Ivan. Nice story and such a precious lady friend you had! I'm always glad when I see that people have a love for these ONEderful creatures!

More LOVE to you, Melody!

Debbie Lamey-MacDonald said...

Wonderful Melody! I know Ivan must be very thankful to have such a caring heart looking after him. I LOVE this painting--you captured his beauty so well! Bless you for your kindness! I am sure Leslie is smiling down on you! :D

charlestaggart said...

Great that you have been able to have such a great friend and show your respect and care for animals in doing what she did for so many years, caring for the feral cats there… It is so sad to know so many cats end up being left places… When my family farm was going well, we often would see people stop out in front of my barn, then drive off, only to find a batch of young kittens left near the barn door… At times we had up to 20+ wild barn cats, that would come in to the main dairy area to eat, but not willing to be petted or touched…

Even though I haven’t done any dairy or raising animals since getting the family farm, every so often someone still stops and drops off cats, think there are 4-6 out there now… It is so sad, as my property is on a main route and so many of them end up killed by the speeding by traffic… I still bring out a bowl of food out for the feral cats, even though I know they do have enough out there to hunt and get around the property of mice and rabbits…
Love the idea your doing artwork of the feral cats, would be an interesting children’s book and/or art series of prints that one might be able to sell and help with funding… Keep up the good work in your memory of such a sweet & caring woman and friend, Leslie and I am sure Ivan and friends thank you too!!!
@CharlesTaggart

charlestaggart said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
June Stoyer said...

What a wonderful story! As someone who is a firm believer in adoption AND has adopted a feral cat, I think your efforts as well as this painting are amazing! Thank you for caring enough about Ivan and all of the other precious animals that you care for!

Entrepreneurshop, Inc said...

Hi Melody,

Wow, how beautiful of a picture of Ivan, so exotic looking I love it. Thank you for the story, and thanks for sharing.

DEB said...

Ivan is adorable!! tugs at the heart strings!

Kreative's Krafts said...

What a beautiful story and a beautiful cat! It's great that you are able to keep the work of your friend alive!

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