The Scratching Post is a weekly newsletter from pets columnist Kate Karp, bringing you all the latest news on pet adoptions, animal welfare and ways to get involved.

Helen Sanders CatPAWS volunteer Beverly Leifer immediately fell for Benny, a badly injured cat, when she met him at Long Beach Animal Care Services. Benny narrowly escaped violent abuse when he was 5 months old. Someone in the home, worried for the kitten’s life, brought him to the shelter.

“I first fell in love with Benny’s crooked smile, the result of his jaw being broken from horrific abuse by his owner’s boyfriend,” Bev said. “But I fell in love with his resilience almost immediately. This innocent kitten should hate people and be scared, but nooo! He loves being the center of attention!”

Benny is about to turn 6, and CatPAWS, which shared Benny’s surgery expense with the shelter, will celebrate with a party that not even the most indulged feline has enjoyed. The event will raise funds for the cats in the rescue’s care and will also raise awareness about animal abuse and its connection to domestic violence.

“Adding to the difficulty of leaving a violent domestic situation—the emotional toll, financial issues, where to go—is the fear that pets left behind will be harmed or killed,” said Deborah Felin-Magaldi, CatPAWS’ cofounder. “It is not unfounded, as grim statistics bear out—according to data reported by Red Rover, whose mission is to promote safe shelter for both human and animal domestic violence victims, over 70% of women report their abuser threatened, injured or killed their pet.”

Bev often wonders about the well-being of the family members. But Benny now has a safe, loving home with a kitty brother and a human who coddles him. He has his own Facebook page and goes for walks in his stroller (yep, Bev is one of those people). Bev is happy to tell admirers his story. She said that Benny’s become an ambassador for awareness of the link between domestic violence and animal abuse and also an inspiration for resiliency.

 “Benny has given me purpose,” Beverly said. “I want to spread his joy and hope to people around the world, literally. People have told me that seeing Benny be happy after his awful start has helped them get through their depression and survive. If Benny has not only survived but enjoys life, they have hope.”

Red Rover’s Purple Leash Project raises awareness of the connection between animal abuse and domestic violence as well as the need for shelters that accept pets.  

Pets to adopt or foster

Helen Sanders CatPAWS, the nonprofit sharing birthday party host duties with Benny, has a lot of kitties in foster homes or showing themselves off at the Seal Beach PetSmart adoption center. Each has its own story, some with more chapters and details, but they all need to go home. Visit this link to see them all and fill out an adoption application.

Zach is enjoying his nap.
Zane cozies up in his bed.

And if you love cat videos, we do have a treat for you. First, the brothers Zach and Zane, about 3 years old. They’re twins in both pattern and personality—so alike, in fact, that their foster swears that they’re sometimes one cat! As you can see, they’re both calm, but they do have their playful moments. Watch the two at play here. They love looking out the window in their foster home and shredding their scratching post. They’re lap cats, too! The brothers were adopted from CatPAWS when they were kittens, but their owners relinquished them when they moved. Now, they need a promise of forever.

Beautiful Prada. Photo by Julie Sarsedon.

Prada is completely blind. She was born without eyes and needed surgery. But she has no idea that she’s different from sighted cats (she got up on that cat tree herself!), and her fosters and the volunteers agree with her completely. Watch Prada play with a wand toy in the adoption center, figure out the location of a small ball and bat it around, make it down the stairs by herself, and demonstrate that the dog is feline’s best friend. She’s not your “normal cat,” and it isn’t because she’s blind. She’d love to cuddle with you and curl up on your bed.

Videos courtesy of volunteers Deborah, Linda, Kimberly and Karen.

Pet events and announcements

Clear the Shelters Campaign Month: through Aug. 31, area shelters and rescues participating, more information here

For the past nine years, NBCUniversal and Telemundo local stations have created and hosted a nationwide campaign to get cats and dogs out of shelters and rescues and into homes. This year, our shelter at Long Beach Animal Care Services and cat and kitten rescue Helen Sanders CatPAWS are participating, and both are offering adoption specials. LBACS’ adoption fee for cats and dogs will be $25 this month. If you’re ready to take home a four- (and sometimes three-) legged family member, check out the candidates on their website, or better yet, visit the shelter at 7700 E. Spring St., at the entrance to El Dorado Park, Wednesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

CatPAWS is offering a two-for-one kitten deal (it’s better all around to get buddies!) and a $25 adoption fee for cats over a year old. All kitties’ headshots are on the website. Residents can also get involved by donating funds and supplies, fostering, volunteering and sharing photos of the adoptables on social media. See the websites of both organizations for further info.

CAMP Low-Cost Mobile Vaccine Clinic: Friday, Aug. 25, noon–3 p.m., Long Beach Animal Care Services, 7700 E. Spring St. (at the entrance to El Dorado Park; no parking fee for shelter visitors), Long Beach, see prices and information here

Getting your cats and dogs vaccinated keeps them healthy. CAMP makes it affordable, so bring them along! 

Benny’s 6th Birthday Party: Saturday, Aug. 26, 11 a.m.–3 p.m., Marina Community Center, 151 Marina Way, Seal Beach, $20, kids 10 and under free, tickets available here

Benny’s about to turn 6—no one thought he’d make it to a year! Celebrate with Benny in a big way at his party. Enjoy an included lunch, games, vendors, arts and crafts, adoptions (and maybe some kitten races!) and an appearance from the great man himself! Help fund CatPAWS so it can continue to help more cats like Benny.