Local feline rescue plans a forever haven for ‘unadoptable’ cats

Virtually pets

What’s a Zazzy Cat? If you go with Sheldon’s brief description in the “Big Bang Theory” episode, you’ll know one when you see one. If your felinial appreciation matches up with that of the founders and other volunteers at the nonprofit feline rescue Zazzy Cats, “zazzy” is any cat who’s ever lived, meowed, hissed or shed orange fur on the blue sofa.

Zazzy Cats volunteers know a heck of a lot more about good cat care than did Sheldon, who just collected cats and, at the tag line of the episode, wound up paying people $20 each to take away them away (how I cringed). Zazzy Cats, on the other hand, charges adoption fees to help pay for the medical care and the spay/neuter and food and everything and only relinquishes them after examining each adopter the way a cat would examine the linen closet before jumping on the top shelf. You can meet a few of the adoptables at the end of the article.

They say that there’s no such thing as an unadoptable pet, but there are definitely some that are, shall we say, challenging: The cat who hisses at people and refuses to use the litter box. The dog who’s too high energy to be unmanageable in a home. The cat who, despite being relieved of her teeth because of stomatitis, still manages to bite hard enough to draw blood after purring her head off for 10 minutes (that’s my foster—need a cat like that?). Zazzy’s in the process of giving them a forever home, too, and when it’s completed, it’ll be the envy of every cat and probably quite a few humans.

“It’s been one of Jimmy’s lifelong dreams to open a cat sanctuary, and now that we have gotten to the point that there is land to do it and we have the cats that need it, they decided to pull the trigger,” said Zazzy board member Laura Altmann. Jimmy is Jimmy Naccarato, Zazzy Cats’ founder. He and his husband, Dennis, have the plans set out for Purr Manor, located in Colorado in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

drawings of Purr Manor: the planned outside, the inside sketches

Purr Manor will be, as its mission states, “a forever home for cats rescued by our adoptions division that have been determined ‘unadoptable due to either behavioral issues or chronic and terminal medical conditions that require continuous monitoring and care.” Photo courtesy of Zazzy Cats

“We know we now need a place for these animals that need lifetime care from us, and that’s how Purr Manor was born,” Altmann said. “We’ve acquired several cats that we call semi-feral, that due to various situations—hoarding cases, abandonment and so on—came to live indoors and tamed up enough that they can no longer live safely and defend themselves outside. They cannot be touched or interacted with like other housecats. Therefore, they would never be candidates for adoption. We also have had cats with cancer, kidney disease, heart conditions as well as other serious medical conditions that are costly and time consuming. Those cats will remain in the care of the sanctuary until they cross the Rainbow Bridge.”

It’s like a Neverland for kitties. The 2,400 square feet of the Manor will have rooms for intake and isolation, grooming, medical care, an open play area, and large cottages for “kitty campers” to bunk in. A secure outdoor catio campground will provide fun for adventurous felines.

A small apartment will house volunteer Manor counselors when they care for the cats over an extended period of time.

The Naccaratos will live onsite as lords of the Manor and will supervise construction and cat care. Altmann and Jimmy’s sister, Roni, will seek out volunteers for the project, transport cats from Long Beach, and support the project from Long Beach as they manage their rescue here.

If you’ve ever dreamed of scooping up the unwanted, the unloved—the “unadoptable” and bringing them to a safe haven, and the creatures happen to be cats, you can help the dream become real. Donate here, and sign up for Purr Manor’s updates. In the meantime, the following Zazzy Cats are by all means adoptable—spayed or neutered, current on their vaccinations, tested for disease, and dewormed, treated for fleas, and microchipped. To meet any of them, email [email protected] or fill out an application here.

Watch Miss Priss’ transformation from a stray mom to an elegant housecat who’s quite comfortable in her situation. Her foster said that she was a great mom and is now a caring, loving cat. She speaks up when she needs something but is otherwise calm, chill and friendly to other pets, including the foster’s small dog. She doesn’t enjoy being held, but she’ll want you to pet her for hours.She is a wonderful, caring and loving cat.

Here’s Munchkin again, in uncontrollable love mode. Most of what you’ll see and hear in the video will be an affection attack, complete with loud purrrrrrr.

Dark gray cat with a white mask looks intently at camera. She sits on a beige carpet with curtains behind.

Gypsy would like you to let her entertain you, like her namesake used to! She was an awesome mother to five kittens, but at 2 years old, she’s retired from that job. Like many cats, she has a dual personality—she’s both a lap girl and independent! She loves to roll around and ask for attention—she’s pretty vocal!—during playtime, and she loves belly rubs. When she feels like retiring to the dressing room, she’ll let you know by finding a corner and staying there. What she doesn’t like are loud noises, like fireworks, so you have time to find her a quiet space. She would be great as an “only cat.”

If you can see the bottom of the kibble bag:

West Coast Toyota of Long Beach bought $3,000 worth of pet food last month to deliver to people in need in our community. If anyone you know is in this position, take a photo of the food you give to your pet, and include your name, contact information and a brief description of your work situation to [email protected]. Fix’n Fidos will deliver the food to you or arrange for you to pick it up.

Helen Sanders CatPAWS offers, through specific private donors, e-gift cards for people struggling during the crisis to buy food for their pets. The CatPAWS Spay/Neuter Fund, also privately funded, has vouchers available for anyone not able to go to the shelter for them. They also accept donations.

Pets of the Homeless‘ home page gives a self-description as the only organization focusing only on providing food and care for pets belonging to homeless people. Businesses and other organizations across the country receive in-kind donations of food and other needs that the dogs and cats’ human families can pick up at outreach locations. The following Long Beach businesses will accept your donations:

Trendi Pawz, 3726 E. Seventh St., Long Beach

Belmont Heights Animal Hospital, 255 Redondo Ave., Long Beach

Paw Shoppe Pet Center, Inc., 6416 E. Spring St., Long Beach

Food and supplies are available at Beacon for Him Ministries, 1535 Gundry Ave. Long Beach, Mondays from 9 a.m. to noon and Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m.; and at Christian Outreach in Action, 515 E. Third St., Long Beach, Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m. Donations will be gratefully accepted at these locations as well.

dogs of many breeds sit in front of a stone lion against green grass and shrubs
Just fur fun

New-Dog Basics Classes: Saturdays, July 11–Aug. 15, 4–5 p.m., Trots Headquarters, Long Beach, $395 for the series, inquire at [email protected]. Address given out after registration.

Are you one of the wonderful humans who gave a new dog a new home during the pandemic shut-in? You love the doggie but not some of their habits? These dog psychology classes are just the right thing: walking, boundaries and other necessary things to know. Animal behaviorist Jo Stanford does such a good job of guiding you through a dog’s mind that pretty soon you’ll be staying off the couch, too!

Benny’s 3rd birthday celebration and fundraiser: Monday, Aug. 24, 7 p.m. Register online here.

Last year, The Scratching Post published a story about Benny, a little cat who, at a year old, had apparently been through some awful abuse and yet kept his sweet disposition Benny was brought to Long Beach Animal Care Services in 2018 with a shattered jaw and other trauma-related injuries. Long Beach resident Beverly Leifer’s heart went out to him when she saw him, and it wasn’t long after that her arms also reached out and brought him home, forever. Last year, Benny and Bev both vowed to give back to the community and had a birthday bash like no other to raise money for the shelter and to Helen Sanders CatPAWS, the feline rescue that paid for Benny’s surgeries. This year, undaunted, the two have planned a virtual celebration that’ll be virtually awesome. This year, funds will go to CatPAWS again and also to WISEPlace, an Orange County center that empowers homeless and abused women. Benny hopes to help abuse victims across species lines. More details are available here.

Help wanted, help given

It’s kitten season—the time of year when cats give birth. It starts in the spring—sometimes before, depending on the weather, peaks in midsummer, and ends in autumn. It occurs because so many cats are not spayed or neutered, and soon, kittens flood our shelter. It isn’t unusual to find nests of young, seemingly abandoned kittens during kitten season. It is a natural reaction to want to help, to save them. But before you jump in, consider these steps outlined in the graphic above. If you are interested in obtaining a Kitten Care Kit made possible by Helen Sanders CatPAWS, please email [email protected].

Long Beach Animal Care Services has spay/neuter vouchers available. They’ll take a healthy nip out of the cost of a procedure. Residents of any of the five cities served by the shelter—(see above)—can telephone the general number at 562-570-7387 to request a voucher.

The Spay/Neuter Project of Los Angeles (SNP/LA) is back in business for free and low-cost spay/neuter services, and they’re extending the hours of their vaccination clinics. Beginning June 18, the San Pedro clinic, located at 957 N. Gaffey St., will give shots every third Thursday between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Call 310-574-5555 to see if you qualify for services.

Adopt, adopt, adopt

Empty the Shelters: Friday, July 10–Saturday, July 12, shelter hours, spcaLA, 7700 E. Spring St., Long Beach, adoption fees $25

As part of the Bissell Pet Foundation’s Empty the  Shelter effort, spcaLA will offer most dogs and cats at its  Long Beach and Hawthorne shelters discounted $25 adoption fees. The shelters are closed to the public because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but you can see the available dogs and cats here. Fill out an adoption application, and an adoption counselor will contact you!

The following pet-related businesses regularly feature cat, dog and rabbit adoptions, but as of now, adoptions are mainly by appointment. Click on the links for each rescue in case of updates or changes. These organizations operate through donations and grants, and anything you can give would be welcome. Please suggest any Long Beach-area rescues to add to the list.

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Kate Karp is the Pets Columnist for the Long Beach Post covering the world of animal activism, pet adoptions and lots of cute cats. She’s called Long Beach home since 1994 and has written for the Post for about 10 years. Kate’s day job is as a copyeditor, which she discovered a love for during her 30-year tenure as a teacher. She describes the job as “like taking the rough edges off a beautiful sculpture.”