by Lucy Noland
The call came in. Little did Claudia Malec realize the most difficult trapping mission she had ever faced was about to confront her. A woman in her 80’s with a big heart, not enough means and a hoarding disorder had just been kicked out of her home.
Stuck inside the now boarded up, condemned house: a cat who managed to survive amidst piles and piles of garbage and feces. “I had to wear a Tyvek suit and climb through the window to leave food each day,” recounts Claudia. It took her two months, but she finally trapped the cat who was hiding under three feet of trash in a hole beneath the floor. “He was in terrible condition. His mouth was badly infected which ended up traveling into his sinus cavities. He was loaded with parasites.”
These days the cat who is now known as Goldie is loaded with love. All good things take time and in the first days after his dramatic rescue, he was so terrified of people, he’d bury his head in his bed.
Now he just lounges. Goldie’s the picture of health and happiness. He just doesn’t have any teeth. (Hey! Who needs teeth anyway??) And this lover of a kitty boy is awaiting his forever home. Interested?
Sweet Goldie is just one of the many, many lives Wandering Whiskers Rescue has saved. Founded by Claudia and Amy Alexyko, TNR (trap, neuter, return) is their mission and as they say, “Rescue is our heart.” Along with Melanie Peck, Jackie Gittens and their dedicated volunteers and fosters, they help South Jersey neighborhoods with TNR for their colony cats and also strays. “We also foster the kittens found outdoors: getting them vetted, socialized and adopted into loving homes. Along with the outreach, we pride ourselves on educating individuals wanting to hear how they can help in their communities.” And that includes building shelters for colonies.
Of course, all of this takes money and so aside from fundraisers, Claudia (an amazing artist and craftsperson in her own right) designs and builds the most beautiful custom cat and dog beds I’ve ever seen. (Zoe, the white cat pictured here, is my kitty lounging on the bed called “Midnight at the Oasis.”) You know you want one! Here’s the magic ticket:wandering Whiskers