This St. Patrick’s Day, Long Beach animal rescues and shelters are hard at work seeking four-leaf clovers for dogs and cats needing homes. Two pet fundraisers, one for the family and the other for adults and laughs, are bookending the holiday.

graphic announcing a St. Patrick's Day event for pets
Make a pet’s lucky day at the St. Pawdy Day parade! Courtesy photo

This Saturday, March 11, the Los Cerritos Neighborhood Association presents its 4th annual Furry Friends Faire, featuring Sparky and the Gang Dog (and sometimes, Cat) Rescue’s St. Pawdy Day Parade and Free Vaccine Clinic. The parade is sponsored by Friends of Long Beach Animals and Fix ‘n Fidos’ Kacey Montoya of KTLA Channel 5.  The event will take place at Los Cerritos Park, 3750 Del Mar Ave., and will continue rain, shine or rainbow, the organizers said. Definitely bring the kids and the dogs.

Like an Irish stew, the event will bubble with great stuff to see, do, and participate in. Dogs, costumed or not, will step in the parade; free microchips and vaccines at $20 each are available—call Fix Long Beach at 562-337-8268 for an appointment; and free pet food has been provided by District 5 Councilmember Megan Kerr. Enter your doggie in a costume contest, and hear Mike Kelly of Sligo Rags enhance the day with Celtic airs. An animal communicator will read some paws, and the Aquarium on Wheels will bring a chantey of sea critters, and no, you may not adopt a swell shark. But Long Beach Animal Care Services and a bunch of rescues will bring in cats and dogs whom you can adopt. It’s a free event, so have a fierce auld time, and Erin go bark!

graphic announcing event for St. Cat-tricks Day
Watch the cats upstage the performers! Courtesy photo

March 17 marks St. Patrick’s Day, and it also honors the Feast of St. Gertrude of Nivelles, lately characterized as the unofficial patron saint of cats. Gertrude was born in Belgium in A.D. 626 to a noble family. She reportedly refused to marry a duke’s son, who’d been chosen for her as was the custom for the medieval highborn. She in fact declared that she wouldn’t marry at all but instead be a bride to Christ.

At the death of Gertrude’s father, she and her mother founded a monastery, where she was known for her hospitality and veneration during her short life. She died in A.D. 659 and was immediately canonized as St. Gertrude of Nivelles.

St. Gertrude’s feast day is the same day as St. Patrick’s possibly because he was said to have watched over her deathbed, but her association with cats is fairly recent. Statues and images of St. Gertrude with mice crawling on or near her body had been believed to show her guarding souls in purgatory, which were represented by mice. Germany was overwhelmed by a rat infestation in the early 1800s, and enough centuries had passed for the original symbolism of the mice to be forgotten. St. Gertrude was thus considered more of a holy Roto-Rooter than a protector of little rodent souls, so the inhabitants petitioned her help in ridding their town of rats.

It was only natural for St. Gertrude to morph into the patron saint of cats despite the Catholic church never officially recognizing her as such. Cats, left to their own, are notorious ratters and, like St. Gertrude herself, are equally notorious at being self-assertive. Search images of St. Gertrude of Nivelles on the internet, and you’ll find cards, jewelry and clothing depicting her cuddling one or more cats. And heaven knows, cats can use a patron saint.

On March 18, the day after St. Patrick’s Day—or in this case, St. Gertrude of Nivelles’ feast day—Feline Good Social Club will host an evening of belly-rub laughs for the sake of the kitties. The St. Cat-trick’s Day Fundraiser takes place Saturday, March 18, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the “best place to get giddy with a kitty,” as the club’s founders say. Leave your own cat home on the hearth, and go hooley with the resident moggies as you sip a complimentary Things for Your Head Seltzer, available with the purchase of each ticket—$35, available here. You can also enter a drawing for FGSC merch if you wear St. Cat-trick’s Day green. If you have a St. Gertrude’s Day T-shirt and it’s green, all the better! Best yet, watch the FGSC cats steal the show from the improv troupe Held2Gether. Even better yet, most of the kitties are adoptable! FGSC is located 301 Atlantic Ave. in Long Beach. Definitely better entertainment than a cat on a melodeon.

Virtually pets

Hopefully, pots will overflow with gold for the sake of the animals in the care of Sparky and the Gang, our literally overflowing shelter and in rescues like Feline Good Social Club. Here are a few wee mites to look over and maybe take home forever.

Last week’s Scratching Post spotlighted special-needs cats. This week, dogs will have their day. Sparky and the Gang has taken in dogs (and sometimes, cats) in all sorts of sorry conditions. The rescues interpret “perfect” as any dog, every dog, at any moment, and with the care that each one gets from Sparky, each one turns into the best-possible version of themselves. To be the lucky charm for either of these dogs or any dog who lives with a Sparky foster, follow this link.

small beige Chihuahua mix with cloudy left eye sits, paw forward, on a mat
His name is Carlisle, and he is excellent with cats and other dogs. He’s quiet and loving. This pup came to Sparky and the Gang with a large bump on his head, and he was blind in one eye. To add literal insult to literal injury, he was found in a plastic utility tub along with another small dog. Do not turn a blind eye to this beautiful pup.


little black and tan fluffy doggie cocks her head at the camera
Sparky volunteers found this girl roaming the streets, probably wondering where her owner and home had gone. They named her Bubbles for her darling, sweet, bubbly personality. Bubbles has a permanent head tilt, and she will be undergoing some growth removals at Fix Long Beach. “We love our dogs, and even if she has a few quirks, we are determined to find her a forever home,” volunteer Louise said. “Life has been a poop sandwich for her, but she remains a happy, bubbly girl.”

The best part of spending time at Feline Good Social Club, aside from actually spending face time with cats, is that if you’re in the mood to adopt—and you will be if you’re not already when you visit them—their environment will spur them to show you who they are. To check out the crew and look at the adoption requirements, check this link. St. Gertrude will smile.

tortoiseshell cat stands proudly on an elaborate multilevel cat tree
There’s always one in a litter who needs to march to the beat of their own drum even more so than your “average” cat. Zeusette is that kitty. Sometimes, she’s timid and loves to hide, and then at other times, she’s right out there waiting for petties. She also loves to play and joins in as soon as she’s comfortable. FGSC believes that eventually, she will give in and become relaxed and confident.
Cat with white chest and a black mask and body, with pink nose, tipped left ear, and wearing a green-pattern scarf, lies on cat bed.
Cookies was born in an outdoor colony, as you can see from his tipped ear, and boy. Life was hard. But he was a tough cookie and survived until he was rescued. That’s where he learned to love people—and boy! Does he love people! He loves to be pet and will do a characteristic flop-over from excitement over the rubs and scritches. Cookies will sit in laps as he gets used to his people. He will be intensely loyal to his furr-ever family and come whenever he’s called over. Cookies will do best as an only cat in a home where he can get regular attention and playtime. Photo by Natasha Jara.
A silver tabby and a brown tabby curl up with each other.
RoRo, left, was brought to the vet as an unwanted kitten, but the kindhearted staff saved her. She’s very sweet and attentive, and she plays well with the other kittens. She’s still timid about leaving the safety of the Purrsonal Suite, which is where she met our shy brown tabby, Sid. Sid had been living with a colony of tabby cats and relied on the others to front for him. But every day, he gets braver and loves the attention from the other kitties. Photo by Natasha Jara.
Great furballs of fun!

 CatPAWS 10th annual Bowling Fundraiser: Saturday, March 18, 2 p.m.–5:30 p.m., Westminster Lanes, 6471 Westminster Blvd., Westminster, $45 per bowler, $20 to sit on the sidelines and cheer.

Join up with Team Kitty and rack up a few winners for the cats and kittens at Helen Sanders CatPAWS. Bowl for two hours, or pay the lesser amount and just watch the pins fall like a veritable feline. Chow down on hearty appetizers or a personal pizza, with soft drink included. All tickets include an opportunity drawing, and prizes will be awarded for highest and lowest scores. Buy tickets here. All proceeds benefit CatPAWS.

A helping paw
black dog lies with hangdog look on face
Courtesy photo

Dog Obedience Classes: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays until further notice, noon–1 p.m., Lincoln Park Dog Park, Downtown Long Beach at 101 Pacific Ave., Long Beach, sessions are free.

Is Sadie acting shady? Does Belle like to yell? If your dog needs to know good behavior, it’s time to bring them to school. Instructor Charlie DiBono of Body and Mind K9 makes no bones about good dog behavior being more than sitting up and looking cute. The classes are free to attend and are available on a first-come, first served basis. No classes on rainy days. Space is limited, so roll over and get out the door.

Foster for a while—or furever!
beautiful tortoiseshell cat sits like a meatloaf with closed eyes on a black seat.
Prada was born without eyes, so this is her normal. She underwent surgery to suture the openings and prevent infection to keep her healthy and comfortable. The staff at every vet appointment—and she’s been to quite a few in her young life—have said how outgoing and friendly she is. Her purr is so loud that it can be difficult for the vet to listen to her heart and lungs—when was the last time your cat purred at the vet? Prada thinks she’s just fine, and so do her fosters. Hope someone out there does, too.

PetSmart Charities National Adoption Week: March 6–12, PetSmart locations everywhere, adoption fees apply.

Each year, more than 5 million pets enter animal shelters in need of loving homes. Today, pets are staying in shelters longer, and many local shelters are struggling with stretched budgets and limited staffing, our own Long Beach Animal Care Services included. In partnership with PetSmart Charities, Helen Sanders CatPAWS will bring adoptable pets to the Seal Beach PetSmart location, 12341 Seal Beach Blvd., in in support of National Adoption Week. During the in-store event, Helen Sanders CatPAWS invites pet lovers to make room in their homes for pets in need. PetSmart Charities also encourages people to consider adopting pets with special needs, like sweet Prada, seen in the photo, who was born without eyes. She was rescued as a tiny, sick kitten from a public shelter. To view all available pets for adoption, please visit the CatPAWS adoption page.

Shelter adoption at Ubuntu Cafe: Saturday, March 18, 11 a.m.–2 p.m., Ubuntu Café, 335 Nieto Ave., Long Beach, adoption fees apply.

Please come by, have a great breakfast or brunch, and check out the animals. There’s more at the shelter at 7700 E. Spring St. (at the entrance to El Dorado Park—no parking fee for shelter guests) in Long Beach—and when you visit, bring doggie treats. They’ve run out! You know, I’m tired of writing cutesy posts to get people to come to our shelter. The place is in crisis—Long Beach Animal Care Services is literally overflowing with pets, dogs in particular, and they need to go home. Now. To maintain the LBACS Compassion Saves model of helping those in greatest need—the sick, injured and abused—your help is needed to keep the healthy and lost pets out of the shelter. If you are interested in adopting, please email [email protected] or apply to foster here.

Rescue list

If you’ve always wanted a pet but aren’t sure if you’re ready for a lifetime (the animal’s) commitment, or if you’re past the pet-roommate days for any reason, fostering might be a great way to go, especially with one or more of the kittens popping up during kitten season. Every one of the organizations listed below is in desperate need of fosters who’ll social them and help save their little lives. Who knows—maybe one of those lives will change your mind about the not-ready-for-roommate thing!

These nonprofits also regularly feature cat, dog and rabbit adoptions. 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. Keep in mind that the rescues are self-supporting and need donations and volunteer help. Most of them cannot accept found or unwanted pets. Contact Long Beach Animal Care Services for options.

Ally’s Animal Network

Bunny Bunch

Cat Cove

Friends of Long Beach Animals

Fix Long Beach

Feline Good Social Club

German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County

Helen Sanders CatPAWS

Ho’ola Dog Rescue

House of Broken Cookies

Jellicle Cats Foundation

K-9 Kismet

Little Lion Foundation

Live Love Animal Rescue

Long Beach Animal Care Services

Long Beach Spay and Neuter Foundation

Newborn Feline Rescue

Pet Food Express Cat Adoption Center

Pug Rescue of Korea

SAFE Rescue Team

Seal Beach Animal Care Center

Sparky and the Gang Animal Rescue


Stray Cat Alliance

Wrigley Kittens

Zazzy Cats

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to provide more information on the Furry Friends Faire.