Murray woman leads effort to care for city's feral cat communityJan 25, 2021 10:53AM ● By Shaun Delliskave
By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]
The cats of Murray city have a friend in Katrina Morales, who spends up to two hours every day caring for the felines who call Murray's streets home.
“I became aware of community cats over two years ago when I moved from Holladay to Murray by seeing cats living on the streets and in fields,” Morales said. “I learned the best way to support them from Best Friends Animal Society and experienced people, as I was not a ‘cat person.’ I am allergic to them; however, I couldn’t ignore that so many cats were living outside, exposed to the elements and extreme weather temperatures.”
Currently, Morales spends two hours every day providing food and clean water for over 140 cats. She makes over 20 stops, refilling every bowl with food or water. She will go through 30 pounds of dry food and around 20 to 40 cans of wet food a day, depending on what she can afford.
She created an organization, Murray Community Kats, to get cat food donations from people in the community, who call her to pick up food their pet cat doesn’t like or won’t eat. She also gets food assistance from resources like Nuzzles and Best Friends Animal Society (both pet adoption and rescue agencies).
According to Morales, “The cats I care for are neutered, vaccinated, dewormed, and have shelters, providing them a better quality of life. Often, I spend late nights trapping cats, then early mornings transporting cats to clinics, returning later in the afternoon or the following day to pick them up and release them. I volunteer my time and pay for my gas.”
After moving to Murray, she borrowed a humane trap from Best Friends Animal Society to help trap a cat at a friend’s apartment complex that some tenants left behind after moving out of their unit. At that point, she started learning about Best Friends’ resources, like vouchers for spay and neuter that can be used in specific clinics throughout the valley, like Salt Lake Spay and Neuter and Orchard Animal Clinic.
Shortly after that, she met Julie Davis, who is very well known in the community cat world, especially for her trap, neuter, and release (TNR) skills. She taught Morales how to humanely trap cats to have them neutered and get them into the clinic and return them the following day to their colony. She further introduced her to a network of others to facilitate scheduling vet appointments.
“Although I cannot touch most of these cats, they show me so much love and appreciation. They’re waiting every night, and it is amazing to see them running to the car when I arrive. I have met great people who are home and business owners in the neighborhood; it is priceless to acknowledge and support me. Neighbors who know and trust me have given me keys to their homes, where I store cat supplies, traps and shelters,” Morales said.
Morales says that she is careful to make sure that she is only taking care of the cats, not other wildlife like skunks or rats. She said she makes sure that the feeding areas are clean and that just enough food is left for cats.
“I would like for Murray Community Kats to be a financially self-sustaining nonprofit organization with volunteers who share the same passion and a support network in our community. One year ago, I registered Murray Community Kats as a nonprofit, with the dream to create awareness and a local advocate network; however, I still don’t have the 501(c)(3) status because of the high cost of application and paperwork needed,” Morales said.
More information about Morales’ organization can be found online at https://www.facebook.com/Murraycomkats.