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Sanctuary provides homes for feral or abused felines

By: Penne Usher Telegraph Correspondent
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Unwanted and homeless felines find a safe haven at “Fat Kitty City” in El Dorado Hills. Cindy and Ed Minghelli founded the non-profit Agee Memorial Wildlife Fund in 1998, dedicated to ending animal suffering, through spaying, neutering, socializing and adopting. They have operated “Fat Kitty City” on 20 tree-studded acres for the past four years. “We started by rescuing 73 cats that we were unable to place in animal shelters,” said Ed Minghelli. “We rescued them and built a little city for them on our property.” There are currently five little shed-sized “houses” in the city as well as a barn for the less socialized feral feline. “This isn’t a shelter,” Minghelli said. “We aren’t in buildings and crates. The cats are in the great outdoors and can run and play.” There are several outreach programs offered, aside from adoption. “Kitties for Companionship” is a program that loans cats to retirement homes, senior living facilities and nursing homes. “We loan out cats to provide comfort to seniors and to help provide love, socialization and care for our cats,” Minghelli said. There is also a “Barn Cat Program” that is available for those who wish to have a cat on their property to help with rodent control without the use of deadly, toxic poisons. “Cats adopted out under this program are only those that are feral, with virtually no chance of adoption and are already accustomed to living outdoors,” he said. “All cats adopted out under this program will live out a natural existence in a natural environment.” The group also gives out pet food to the homeless in the greater Sacramento area. “We are finding so many that are concerned about their pets because of the economic situation,” Minghelli said. “We help as many people as we can.” And they operated completely by donations and volunteers. Right now, the financial need is great. “We need money to keep it running,” Minghelli said. “We don’t need more cats right now, we need volunteers and money.” Pam Smit is one of the sanctuary volunteers. “I have such a passion for this place,” she said. “It is really great.” Smit said she and her daughter both take time out of their days to tend to the feline residents in the “city.” Most recently they spent the weekend cleaning out the houses the cats live in. “It’s the only sanctuary around,” she said. “I just love this place.” * * * Fat Kitty City Agee Memorial Wildlife Fund, Inc. Where: 4354 Town Center Blvd., Suite 114-245, El Dorado Hills Website: fatkittycity.org Email: cmkitty@sbcglobal.net Phone: (916) 939-3418