Xan Rammacher’s Community Cat Medical Fund in its first year provided funding for medical treatment of more than 60 sick or injured felines roaming Palm Beach County. Photo provided
By Arden Moore
In the dedicated world of helping community cats in Palm Beach County, Xan Rammacher saw a gap and is doing her best to fill it.
She estimates that more than 250,000 community cats roam throughout the county. By definition, community cats live outside and do not have owners. Some are friendly toward people and would love to be adopted and live indoors. Others are feral and do their best to avoid human interaction.
But all these cats need to eat and they need to be spayed, neutered and receive necessary vaccinations. And some of these cats also get sick or injured and need medical treatment.
After spending about five years performing TNVR work, meaning trap, neuter, vaccinate and return, and paying out of her own pocket to cover medical expenses for kittens and cats with respiratory infections or injuries, Rammacher had a lightbulb moment.
“I realized there was truly a need to help the injured and sick homeless cats in our community that don’t have an advocate,” she says. “It is a very helpless feeling not being able to help a suffering animal.”
Rammacher launched the Community Cat Medical Fund about a year ago. And she did all the paperwork to ensure her group met the qualifications to be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
Rammacher is doing her best to complement volunteers who feed these cats, who perform TNVR and who agree to give foster care to felines ideal for adoption. She also salutes the work done by shelters, including the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League based in West Palm Beach.
On the CCMF website, Rammacher makes clear what her nonprofit can and can’t do.
“CCMF is not a traditional rescue. We are not a trapping, transporting, fostering service,” she says. “We financially provide assistance for veterinary care for community cats. We exist to be a resource for trappers whenever we can financially provide assistance for veterinary care for community cats.”
To celebrate CCMF’s first anniversary, Rammacher organized a fundraiser in late May at the Cactus Grille & Tequila Bar in Palm Beach Gardens and announced that CCMF provided funding for veterinary care of more than 60 community cats in its first year.
In recent posts on her group’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/CCMFINC), Xan shares the plight of a community cat named JR who “got in a tussle” with another community cat and suffered an eye injury that cost $700 to treat. She spotlights a pair of black-and-white cats. The one dubbed Wallie received antibiotics for a persistent cough and the other she calls Louie underwent a much-needed dental cleaning.
Rammacher’s effort to fill in the medical gap for these cats gets applause from people in the community-cat world.
“The sad truth is, most or all shelters are not able to provide medical care to suffering community cats,” says Paul Bates, who heads the community outreach TNVR program at Peggy Adams. “Most people who feed community cats simply cannot afford to pay for medical care for them. Community cats suffer and die horrible deaths in the streets.
“Xan is providing lifesaving medical care to community cats. No one else is doing this in our county.”
That makes Bates a fan of Xan.
“We have many people who TNVR cats in our county and bring them to our free TNVR service at Peggy Adams,” Bates says. “But what happens when a community cat trapper comes across a cat in a colony that is very sick or has a broken leg? What Xan is doing is truly lifesaving work.”
Word of Rammacher’s work also prompted Cuddly, a crowd-funding site focused on animals, to give CCMF a $5,000 grant. Learn more about Cuddly by visiting www.cuddly.com.
Rammacher is not shy about CCMF’s biggest needs: monetary donations and local foster volunteers.
“Generally, the cats only need a couple of weeks to recover” after medical care, she says. “CCMF can provide the food, litter and any equipment needed during foster. Your spare room or bathroom could literally be the cats’ only chance between a healthy return to life or suffering on the streets.”
Rammacher knows firsthand about fostering and adopting. She shares her home with husband, Ray, and their three former community cats. The oldest is Taz, now 14. Xan rescued Taz as a tiny kitten in a rainstorm at a mall parking lot.
Fittingly, the first two community cats on which she did TNVR care as a volunteer she ended up adopting: a mama cat, now 5, named Jane and her 4-year-old son, Tarzan.
“Rescue in itself can be very hard and forming the right support network is vital to survival,” says Rammacher. “CCMF cannot exist without local volunteers from community cat trappers, fosters, transporters, rescue partners and colony managers. We must all work together for the betterment of the cats.”
The Community Cat Medical Fund Inc. is a nonprofit that helps caretakers of community cats pay for needed veterinarian services. The fund also supports people who humanely trap and give foster care to these cats. Go to comcatmedfund.org or facebook.com/CCMFINC for more information.
Arden Moore is a bestselling author, professional speaker and master certified pet first-aid instructor. She hosts a nationally syndicated radio show, Arden Moore’s Four Legged Life, and the weekly Oh Behave! podcast on PetLifeRadio.com. Learn more by visiting www.ardenmoore.com.