Meow! Who doesn’t love the sound of a cat calling? Those big eyes, that twitching tail, the contented purr. Okay, okay. Not everyone is a cat lover, but surely no one wants to see a cat hurting, right? That’s exactly what Cindy and Ed Minghelli thought when they created the Agee Memorial Wildlife Fund, Inc. (AMWF) — a non-profit organization dedicated to ending needless animal suffering through spaying, neutering, socializing and adoption — in memory of Cindy’s parents in October 1999.
“My parents were both big animal lovers and raised me to be compassionate,” said Cindy. “When they died, I decided to put the money they left me into the fund. At the time we lived in Las Vegas, and initially we focused on offering free spaying and neutering of cats. Later, we began trying to find homes for adoptable animals through local PetSmarts.”
In July 2003, Cindy and Ed relocated to Northern California, and it was here that they rescued 73 abandoned cats in Pollardville, near Stockton, when it closed in 2006. This incident broke Cindy’s heart and inspired AMWF’s biggest project yet: Fat Kitty City.
Fat Kitty City is a sanctuary where unwanted cats are rehabilitated, socialized, spayed and neutered and adopted out to new homes whenever possible. Located on 20 acres in a rural area outside Sacramento, Fat Kitty City is truly a haven where cats can live and play peacefully both inside and outside of doors in a natural environment.
“Unlike many groups, we are a ‘no kill’ organization,” said Cindy. “Most of the cats we get are domestic and just need a loving home. In these cases, we socialize the cats, send them to a foster home — a family who has volunteered to take the cat in for a short period of time to evaluate how they do in a home environment — and then send them to Petco or PetSmart to try to find them a home. If for some reason they don’t get adopted, they are allowed to spend the rest of their lives here.”
In addition to adoptions, Fat Kitty City operates programs like Kitties for Companionship, a program in which cats are placed in retirement centers and nursing homes to be companions for elders. The organization also takes endowments from people who can no longer care for their pets themselves and want to ensure that their pets are well taken care of after they’re gone. AMWF depends on donations to survive, as well as volunteers to help care for their cats, and encourages anyone interested in adopting a cat or helping out to give them a call.
“There’s such a huge need for this, but we can’t do it on our own,” said Cindy. “We desperately need foster homes — we pay for everything — and volunteers, and of course homes for these beautiful cats. We always return phone calls. Anything people can do is a big help!”
For more information about Fat Kitty City or how you can help, please visit fatkittycity.org or call 916-939-3418.