It was a busy day on April 21st, as C.A.T.S. volunteers and the medical staff of Franklin Lakes Animal Hospital worked to spay and neuter a number of cats in our area who otherwise might not have been. All told, 49 cats were altered, including some feral cats. This will go a long way to helping reduce overpopulation and its sad consequences. Below are some photos of this great day. C.A.T.S. wants to thank everyone who helped this event, and the wonderful staff of FLAH who made it possible. 1) FLAH staff and C.A.T.S. volunteers helping revive the kitties. The device with the hose blows warm air onto a pad to help warm the animals up and bring them around after the surgery. They got mani-pedi’s while they were still under! 2) Some pet parents taking their fur babies home after a long day. All patients got ice cream that night (not really). 3) Dr. Alan Pomerantz of Franklin Lakes Animal Hospital attending to one of his furry patients. All told, 49 animals were treated.
Published in Community Life • 10/11/2012 • Kathryn A. Burger
Lynn Cancro has been the driving force behind Caring About The Strays – C.A.T.S. – since she formed the nonprofit organization 17 years ago. The resale shop on Kinderkamack Road is really her “second home” and the temporary home of the some of the many abandoned, rescued and unwanted companion animals – mostly cats – that the organization takes in. The goal is finding all of them, “forever homes,” where they will be cared for, loved and appreciated.
She grew up Jersey City and now lives in Passaic County. She spoke lovingly of her parents, who immigrated to the U.S. as children during the Depression, her father from Prussia and her mother from Germany.
“My father was a baker and had a shop in Jersey City and we lived above the store,” she said. The “we” included her two older sisters. “I had a wonderful childhood. I had lots of aunts and uncles and cousins. But I couldn’t have any pets because the Board of Health didn’t allow it.”
When she was 13, her father died and her mother sold the bakery and the family moved to Bergenfield where her aunt and uncle lived.
Lynn said, “I’ve more than made up for not being able to have pets when I was child,” referring to the strays she and the volunteers at C.A.T.S. foster and place in loving homes.
Her own current pets include her dog, Donald, a rescued mixed breed who she’s had for three years, and two cats, Wolfgang, who is 21 years old and Leibling, who is 17.
Q: Why did you start C.A.T.S.?
A: I was living in an apartment complex that had a somewhat transient population – many people moving in and out. Some of them just left their cats behind. I’d see them at the door of their former homes waiting to be let in. I just couldn’t fathom how people could treat animals that way. They just threw them away like trash. I took a few of them in, and that’s when the “light bulb” went off and I decided I’d try to do something on a bigger scale.
I started doing some research. I’d worked with the volunteers at the old Pascack Valley Hospital and knew that they’d started a thrift shop as a way to raise money to support it. That was a great way to get the community involved. So I decided that’s what I’d do to raise money to establish C.A.T.S.
There was a colony of cats behind the hospital and one of the hospital trustees and her daughter would TNR them – that’s Trap, Neuter, Release. So I was learning about the magnitude of the problem [in the Pascack Valley]. I’d met Jeanne Thalmann, who was the manager of the hospital’s thrift shop and she became my mentor. I learned so much from her and just went with it. Jeanne was a volunteer at our resale shop and she was just wonderful.
Q: What do like most about your work?
A: Saving a life.
Q: What do you like least?
A: Not being able to help. Having to say we don’t have any more room. We do our best but there has been an explosion of abandoned pets because of the economy. We have to refer some of our callers to other groups because we can’t help – it’s the saddest thing. Right now we only have three people who foster pets for us and we need more. We supply everything so there is no cost at all.
Q: Where is your favorite place to relax?
A: My backyard. I enjoy being outdoors.
Q: Do you have a hobby?
A: I like to play tennis and I like to watch tennis.
Q: What is your favorite book?
A: All of Charles Dickens’ stories. He always shows the worst and the best in people.
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Q: Do you have a pet peeve?
A: People who call up and have an animal they want to get rid of and don’t have any real connection with the animal. They sound angry and say things like, “If you don’t take her today, I’m putting her to sleep.” Some people can be very aggressive like that.
Q: What are you most proud of?
A: Forming C.A.T.S. and that it encompasses so much – the community that donates items that might otherwise wind up in a landfill, so I’m proud to be helping the environment. I’m proud of all the lives that been saved over the past 17 years.
December 19, 2007
BY Kathryn A. Burger of Community Life
Caring About the Strays, a non-profit organization that finds homes for stray, surrendered and abandoned kittens and cats, operates the C.A.T.S. Resale Shop at 80 Kinderkamack Road, Westwood, to support that mission and to raise funds to establish a no-kill cage-less animal shelter in the area.
“For every birth of a human baby, seven puppies and 15 kittens are born,” Lynn Morchel, of C.A.T.S. said. “There are just not enough homes for the animals born each day. By spaying and neutering pets, owners will be doing their part to help end this tragic cycle. There are many loving, loyal, affectionate animals in shelters, foster homes, and on the streets fending for themselves. Ultimately, many of the latter die miserably. Area no-kill rescue groups are doing their best to handle the ever-increasing number of stray and abandoned pets. Some shelters are forced to euthanize healthy, sweet, animals – young and old – due to space constraints.”
If, after careful consideration, the decision is made to bring a new pet into the home, C.A.T.S. offers some advice.
Once the decision to adopt a pet has been made, C.A.T.S. recommends pre-adoption.
If there is a lot of commotion in the house – children, holiday gatherings and parties, and/or other pets, C.A.T.S. suggests pre-adopting a pet from your local rescue group or shelter and bringing the animal home after the holiday festivities. If parents are planning to surprise their child with a pet, there are several ways to accomplish that without having the pet there on Christmas morning. A photo of the pet, a dog or cat bed, or appropriate pet toys, can be wrapped and tagged for the child to open. Adopting a pet can be a family experience: caring for an animal in need that will be considered a member of the family.
For those who choose to bring the pet home at holiday time, it is important to keep a watchful eye on them.
Pets new to the home may find an open door – when guests arrive, or when deliveries are made, for example – a chance for an adventure. They may run out, not realizing the consequences. If guests are expected, it might be best to keep pets secured in another part of the home. It is also advisable to keep chocolate, small toy parts, tree trimmings, poinsettia plants, and other items pets may find enticing, out of their reach.
A home that is quiet and low-key would be a good place for an adopted pet to be welcomed into one’s family.
One special cat would be very happy to have a home for the holidays, and the rest of his life, is Beckett. After being abandoned, and then hit by a car, he was rescued by Kim Carbone, a volunteer at C.A.T.S. [Carbone was profiled in a feature article in the Sept. 26 edition of Pascack Valley Community Life.] His broken jaw has been wired and mended and he is ready for his “forever home.” He doesn’t get along with other animals, but would be a wonderful companion for someone who only wanted one cat to hug. He’s the “curling up in your lap” kind.
Adopting a cat with FIV or FeLV
Kittens and cats with special needs are often overlooked. C.A.T.S. advises that neither the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus nor the Feline Leukemia Virus are transmittable to other species. Under the right circumstances, these cats can live normal, long, healthy lives. Morchel said, “By keeping their stress levels low and feeding them a nutritious diet of foods that do not contain by-products or fillers, they can live a very long time.
Cats with FIV can share a home with cats that don’t have the disease. This disease is spread from blood to blood contact. They can share the same food bowl, drink from the same water bowl, and groom each other without spreading it. Out in the wild when cats are not neutered and are fighting for their territory or mating is when the disease is transmitted via a deep penetrating bite wound. Tame cats that are neutered and share a home are not in these types of situations” (For more information see www.bestfriends.org/theanimals/petcare/cats_fiv.cfm).
Cats that are FeLV positive do need to be kept separate from cats who are negative because it can spread through litterboxes and other means. Those who are considering adopting one cat and have no other cats are asked to consider one with leukemia. Many of these cats are overlooked by those seeking to adopt, but C.A.T.S. advises they are still able to give lots of love and will be forever grateful for their chance at life.
September 26, 2007
BY Kathryn A. Burger of Community Life
There is never a shortage of rescued animals in need of permanent homes. Rescuers who eschew traditional shelters where hundreds of animals are euthanized every year in favor of an organization that has a no-kill policy, know they can count on C.A.T.S. to take in the animals they’ve rescued.
One such rescuer is Kim Carbone, of the township. This young woman has been officially “rescuing” for about three years, although she actually began as a little girl. “I’ve always cared for animals and rescued them with my mother since I was a little girl. She’d keep dog biscuits in the glove compartment of the car in case she found a stray.”
And while these rescues were to influence her volunteer work as an adult, it was her successful battle against cancer as a youngster that she feels guided her efforts. “I nearly died during a bone marrow transplant in 1992,” she said. After her recovery, she said she began wondering why, “she was spared when other kids weren’t so fortunate.” She believes she found the reason. “Now I know why, and the job I need to do is to take care of God’s creatures.” That belief is confirmed each time she rescues an animal — and she does it frequently.
THE DEFINING MOMENT
She said she started rescuing cats in earnest because of a job. “I started a job in Fort Lee and cats were all over, roaming the streets, homeless, abandoned and also in feral colonies. [Feral is used to describe domestic cats that have returned to the “wild” and live without human attention.]” Concerned about this and wanting to prevent litters from developing, she did her research on how to go about it and then, she said, she, “went off on my own to save the ones that crossed my path.” And that is how it all began. She helped relocate 50 cats that had been living on the former Helmsley property near the George Washington Bridge . “Then, my name and phone number got around and spread like wildfire. When I helped one person, that person gave my number to another in need of help with feral cats.”
Feral cats cannot be adopted. The best rescuers can do is “TNR” them — Trap, Neuter, Release. But kittens found with adult feral cats can be. Her connection to C.A.T.S. was solidified when she was called to an apartment complex, again in Fort Lee , to TNR about 30 cats. “I rescued about 20 kittens from there and they were all adopted out by C.A.T.S.” She joined C.A.T.S. because, “they are a caring group and they really try to help others.”
In all, Cabone has taken care of close to 200 cats. “Some I’ve found homes for, some [ferals] have been neutered and secured outdoors with shelter and a steady supply of food.”
THE STORY OF CHARLIE
Carbone shared this story of a recent rescue. An older couple from Hillsdale called the C.A.T.S. Resale Shop and asked for help trapping four kittens, and some feral cats for TNR. “When I got there, there were four four-week-old kittens stuck in between two rotted fences. The mother had hidden them there while she went looking for food. I took them right away but the mother cat saw me so I trapped her, too. I got her spayed and released her back there. The four kittens were adopted out through C.A.T.S.
“But the couple told me told me about another cat. They said he was friendly and always hanging around so they fed him. They said a woman who had lived across the street had been feeding him for about 10 years but she had moved away a few months before. The couple said the cat would wait by their door, waiting to come in, but they didn’t want pets in the house. I told them I’d be back for him when I could.”
Then, a short time later, she got a call from the couple — something had happened to the cat. His back was raw. They said crows had been swooping down on him, pecking his back and he couldn’t fight back. They begged her to come, and, of course, she did.
“I carefully picked him up and brought him to the Bergen Animal Hospital in Teaneck where Dr. [Harriet G.] Lederman took such wonderful care of him.” All through the extensive examination — including taking blood and checking his teeth — he was purring. “Dr. Lederman said, ‘What a wonderful cat he is! A sweetheart — he was definitely owned by someone.’ ” She found he’d been neutered, but told Carbone, “He cannot be returned to the outdoors; he is too old and in delicate condition. He won’t survive another winter outdoors. If you don’t take him, I will.”
Dr. Lederman found that he has the feline AIDS virus and hyperthyroidism. Most of his teeth were rotten and had to be pulled. “Charlie” as he is now known, stayed with Dr. Lederman for a month. When Carbone picked him up, she was charged considerably less than the actual cost of Charlie’s care. “Dr. Lederman knows I do this out of my own pocket, and heart,” Carbone said.
A picture of Charlie and his story were posted on the C.A.T.S. Web site and almost immediately, Carbone got a call from a woman anxious to adopt him even though he was old and had health issues. Carbone said, “Not many people would take a cat in his state,” since he was probably about 13 years old and needed medication.”
The woman had cats and dogs of her own. She lived on Long Beach Island — a long trip — but Carbone said she’d bring him down. As it turned out, Charlie didn’t stay long. She got a call from the tearful woman a few days later. She said she’d already fallen in love with him, but Charlie hated her dogs. So she went back and picked him up. He’s now at the C.A.T.S. Resale Shop, waiting for his “forever home,” as the volunteers say.
Carbone says Charlie loves cats and people. “He’ll sleep in your arms like a baby or on your lap for hours. He just wants love all the time.” This writer went to see Charlie and Carbone is absolutely right. As I crouched down to pet another cat, in a matter of seconds, Charlie made himself at home in my lap. Lynn Cancro, the founder of C.A.T.S., said, “He’s got radar. He knows when there’s a lap around. He’s such a wonderful cat. All he wants is love.” Charlie snuggled and purred. I have no doubt he would have stayed right where he was if I hadn’t had to leave.
THREE LITTLE KITTENS
In addition to several adult cats up for adoption at the shop, there are three recently rescued kittens that Carbone would like to find homes for. They were turned over to her recently, along with several other cats and kittens, by a local woman who is now too ill to take care of them. She took the time to tell me about these three [see photos] even though she is currently working on relocating a colony of about 30 feral cats in Fort Lee and a colony of about 20 from New Milford. Interested readers can contact the shop for more information.
Although she’s been called a, “cat lady,” a term she hates, she is undaunted. “I consistently endure people who aren’t really animal lovers. They roll their eyes at me, or laugh or think what I’m doing is a waste of time.” Some even tell her they think saving cats is pointless, that she should be rescuing dogs since they are “better” animals.
“But I tell them, ‘Show me a dog that needs rescuing and I’ll rescue it – a horse, a bird, a rabbit — they are all the same to me.”
She, like the other C.A.T.S. volunteers, long for the day when a local cage-less, no-kill shelter is a reality. “If I ever struck it rich, I’d buy whatever land we have left and reserve it as a forest and garden,” for the strays. She recounted some truly alarming and gruesome incidents of “feral cat control” perpetrated by people who had no concern for the animals. Until legislators improve funding and strengthen the laws protecting animals, she’d like to see New Jersey, especially Bergen County , invest in more spay and neuter vans to help control the feral cat population. “It’s next to impossible for people like me to get affordable prices for neutering when it comes to stray or feral animals.” Carbone works as a medical technician — “human medicine,” she said. “I know it doesn’t seem like I’d have the time, but I do work full-time.”
Carbone said that after she survived Hodgkin’s disease, she’d felt “lost” and wondered why she’d been spared. She doesn’t wonder anymore. On more than one occasion, she said she felt she had been “sent to the right place at the right time,” to rescue animals. “I will continue to do what I do for these poor creatures. Their situation is one that we humans have put them in.” She is rewarded when she releases cats she has TNR’d back to their territory, knowing they will not have any more litters. “A few less kittens will suffer the horrible life of street living.”
It’s also rewarding when people she helps say, “Thank God for you.”
“That helps me to feel a little less lost at the end of the day.”
December 20, 2006 • WESTWOOD
BY Kathryn A. Burger of Community Life
The C.A.T.S – Caring About The Strays – Resale Shop is celebrating it’s grand re-opening. The newly renovated shop, at 80 Kinderkamack Road, offers a variety of items, including jewelry, furniture, artwork, decorative, gift and vintage items as well as clothing, handbags and collectibles.
Founded by Lynn Cancro in 1995, C.A.T.S is a non-profit organization dedicated for providing of the well-being of the communities homeless animals and placing them in loving permanent homes. The organization hopes to establish a cage-less no kill adoption center to house rescued cats. A foster program for dogs is also a goal.
Cancro spoke with passion about another goal for the organization: an educational program for students in area schools. “We want children to understand the responsibilities of pet ownership and the commitment it represents and help them understand that all animals should be treated with respect.”
Financial support for these endeavors comes from monetary donations and fund-raising events in addition to the resale shop. All donations including goods donated to the shop are tax deductible.
On a recent visit to the shop, a wide variety of holiday items were on display and several adult cats all friendly, well groomed and healthy, sauntered about or sunned themselves on carpet covered perches. All the cats available at the shop are up for adoption. A sleek ebony black cat was stretched out on the counter. Cancro introduced him as “Jordan.” When she spoke to the cat, there was an immediate reaction from Jordan. He rose slowly, stretched, arching his back and them composing himself, moved closer to Cancro. They were literally nose to nose and clearly communicating. “He’s my boy” Cancro said
Even after all these years of fostering and then adopting out cats, Cancro still finds it difficult to part with some of her charges and she can’t adopt them all herself. “He’s so special. He deserves a good, loving home and I’m going to be sure he gets one. But I’m going to miss him so…” she said, her voice trailing off. Meanwhile, Jordan began making small sounds – not full “meows” – but little throatly noises that, of course got Cancro’s attention. She immediately turned her attention back to him, which, of course, was exactly what he wanted. One need not to be a cat lover to appreciate the obvious bond they have formed.
Volunteers are always needed and there are a number of ways to support the organization. At the shop, task include waiting on customers and ringing up sales, creating merchandise displays and dressing the windows, tagging and pricing merchandise, and socializing and playing with the foster cats. Participating in the planning and the production of fund-raising events, performing light maintenance and becoming a foster guardian, caring for homeless animals in one’s home until they are adopted are other volunteer opportunities.
The shop is open Monday through Saturday from 10am – 5pm. Donations of items for sale are accepted during shop hours. Rescued cats and kittens are available for adoption at the shop and/or nearby-by foster homes. The shop is located just south of the Kinderkamack Road/Old Hook Road intersection; turn right at the corner of Kinderkamack and Kingsberry Avenue. For further information, call Cancro, at the shop, at 201-666-5444.
Originally printed on NorthJersey.com – Thursday, March 24, 2005
BY ABIGAIL LEICHMAN, staff writer
(Stores are rated on a scale of one to four cars, with one car meaning a store is worth a short trip, and the top rating, four cars, meaning a store is worth going the distance.)
Lynn Cancro founded this resale shop-adoption center in the hope of raising enough money to establish a cage-free, no-kill adoption center in the Pascack Valley.
Nine years later, C.A.T.S. is a non-profit organization governed by a board of directors helping it inch closer to that goal in a variety of ways (Jack Daniels Porsche is donating a car to be raffled off in the spring, for example).
But you’ll still find Cancro and a dedicated core of volunteers at the shop, its flagship venture.
C.A.T.S. accepts high-quality items such as antiques, CDs and audiotapes, clothing, jewelry, books, collectibles, housewares and gift items – many of them still in the original packaging.
I picked up a spotless Gap cardigan and sweater and an Abercrombie top, and my daughter snagged a T-shirt, an Express denim skirt and a thumb ring, each for $4 or less. We also chose a picture frame to hold a particularly adorable snapshot of our cat, Pufferbelly.
For many visitors, though, the main attractions here are the fluffy felines lounging in comfortable cages along the store’s perimeter, awaiting loving homes. Each one has been nursed back to health after being abandoned, neglected or abused.
Off-site cats up for adoption – view them at Care4strays.org – are being fostered by C.A.T.S. customers and volunteers.
“The beautiful people who bring us donations and the wonderful customers … allow us to pay our bills and put away some toward the shelter,” Cancro says, “and we always need more people to help us plan fund-raising events, work in the store and donate food.”
Oberg & Lindquist, a local appliance retailer, recently sent over a refrigerator in which to keep medication for cats on the mend.
C.A.T.S. is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Watch for between-seasons sales, when the merchandise is practically given away free.
Caring About the Strays (C.A.T.S.)
80 Kinderkamack Road, Westwood
Worth-the-trip rating: 3 cars.
Resale Shop Raises Money to House Homeless Cats
Originally printed in the Bergen Record
BY LUIZA GRUNEBAUM
WESTWOOD – It’s one of many stores dotting Kinderkamack Rd. in the Borough although its lively brick and lavender facade makes it a bit more eye catching than most. But what really sets the CATS resale shop apart is the mission of its owner and founder, Lynn Cancro: to raise enough funds through the store to purchase a building to be used as a cage-less, no kill shelter for homeless cats.
Every year in the U.S., 10.5 million cats and dogs are euthanized for reasons that are as varied as they are avoidable. The biggest problem is that owners do not spay their pets, resulting in generations of unwanted animals. Then there’s the owner who arrives at the animal shelter with Snowball saying he’s a perfect cat but the shedding is getting on his nerves. Cancro is battling enormous odds in her fight to improve the lives of animals, but as the tall, striking blond shop owner says, “this is what I’ve dedicated my life to.”
C.A.T.S., which stands For “Caring About the Strays” had its seed in Cancro’s experience while living in an apartment complex in the area. “There were so many abandoned cats where we lived,” Cancro recalls. Tenants would move out, leaving their cats “scratching at the doors of apartments where they used to live.
Says Cancro, “Needless to say, I took in a lot of cats,” But it didn’t stop there. Haunted by the image of a pet waiting for an owner who would never return, Cancro was moved to action. A job as a volunteer coordinator at Pascack Valley Hospital put Cancro in touch with a lot of good-hearted people willing to donate their time to the cause. Bolstered by a visit to a cage-less, no kill shelter in Chicago, Cancro set about visualizing her own animal refuge.
“I visualize…moving the shop to the front of the building, so that it continues to support the facility,” says Cancro. “The cats will be in the upper stories, and there will be an infirmary for the ones that need to be isolated.”
Of course, this would all be a pipe dream if it weren’t for the shop, which opened August of 1995 to a lot of attention from locals looking for a good bargain. And the selection of items is impressive, ranging from casual clothing and suits to formal gowns, coats and negligees. And that’s only the half of it.
C.A.T.S. has been the recipient of a dizzying number of donations over tile years. A recent visit to the shop revealed a large inventory of clothing and jewelry, as well as more eclectic offerings, such as a 1930’s saddle, a live tree and a mint condition antique gas stove, all donations to the shop. When a bridal store recently closed in Closter, the owner sent her entire stock of brand new bridal gowns, formal dresses and mother-of-the bride garments to C.A.T.S. Perennials, a store on Westwood Ave., regularly contributes items, and local Girl Scout troops collect items from residents for the shop.
Cancro said that not long ago she heard from a man who was planning to move into a condo “and he wanted me to come over and take anything I wanted.” She ended up renting a van and hauling a large amount of furniture out of his house.
“It’s a fun place,” says Joan McBride, a Township of Washington resident who volunteers at C.A.T.S. three days a week. It’s always a surprise when we open a package.”
“We know most customers by name,” says Cancro, and we know their kids’ names. Sometimes, people come in just to say hi.”
But for all the neighborliness, this is serious business. Cancro says she wakes up every morning thinking, how much can I accomplish today toward my goal? The fact is, she is accomplishing a great deal. Cancro is looking seriously at building sites that are commercially zoned, freestanding, with on-site parking. If possible, she wants very much to remain in the borough, which has been so good to her. Still, the financing can be daunting. What would really help, “is if someone would leave us a home,” she says.
In the meantime, she and her helpers persevere. The phone rings all the time from people who no longer want their pets, telling Cancro, “You have to help me.” Then there are those forced into a terrible fix because their landlord tells them they must give up their pet. A bill that gives tenants the right to have a pet is currently before file Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee. Cancro hopes that those who support bill S130l will call 609-693-6700 to ask that it receive a hearing.
Creating a haven for homeless cats remain foremost on Cancro’s mind. Her vision might seem more like a pipe dream if it weren’t for the fact that Cancro is getting results. For now, there is a board of directors in place that includes Franklin Lakes veterinarian Cheryl Welch, who has offered to donate her time once a week to caring for the cats. Grants have been applied for and one has been approved.
All of this effort is rooted in the belief that no-kill shelters are the wave of the future. Animals in no-cage facilities are more adoptable, argues Cancro, because they don’t suffer from the trauma of being locked in a small space. ‘The idea is to create the kind of environment where eats are “hanging out in a living room… not in cages,” she says. While some may question that practicality of shelters that don’t euthanize, Cancro’s commitment is firm. “It’s the new trend… the humane way to go,” she says.
Looming large on Cancro’s mind is the need for volunteers; specifically someone with a truck who can help transport furniture that has been donated to the shop. Cancro is also looking for someone with an artistic flair who might be able to paint and repair contributed items.
Needless to say, Cancro’s project keeps her busy seven days a week. When asked whether all the work sometimes catches up with her, she shakes her head. “I wouldn’t do anything else,” says Cancro. How many people love what they do?”
C.A.T.S. Resale Shop is located on 80 Kinderkamack Rd, in Westwood and can be reached by calling 666-5444. All clothing is currently 50 percent off, and jewelry is 20 percent off.