Honorable Crazy Cat Man
This week’s Activist Appreciation Month feature story celebrates the efforts of community cat aficionado Eric Phelps, who tells us how it all began. Eric is a former long-time In Defense of Animals staffer. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina with his eight rescue cats and any number of fosters.
In 2003, I was sitting in a bank drive-thru, looked over and happened to see a tiny six-week old kitten at the auto repair shop next door. It looked like he had fallen or jumped out of an open window and was trying to figure out how to get back in.
After I finished at the bank, I drove over and spoke with the shop’s owner. There were three kittens running around in the shop. I asked if I could try and trap them and he agreed.
I knew absolutely nothing about community cats back then and this was my first foray into cat rescue. I ended up trapping all three kittens. One I kept, and the other two went to a more experienced foster home to be eventually adopted out.
A couple of years later, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast. I was fortunate to be able to go down to Mississippi and Louisiana as a representative of In Defense of Animals to help. I worked for months in Mississippi and Louisiana assisting with trapping, transport, and sheltering of dogs and cats. That experience and work ignited a passion in me for working to protect companion animals, and more specifically, community cats.
Since then, I’ve humanely trapped thousands of cats for spay/neuter and been their voice when cat colonies ran afoul of neighbors or people who simply don’t like cats. This work is both rewarding and heartbreaking, but I cannot imagine not working to help cats in need.