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This Article is reprinted from The Medina Gazette, written by Sandy Barnosky.
ULTIMATE CAT LADY CREATES KITTEN KRAZY CENTER
This cat lady is anything but "Krazy." Wendy Mirrotto has always had a soft spot in her heart for cats and kittens. Her passion to find homes for them led her to open the Kitten Krazy Adoption Center in 2004.
It was an 8-foot by 20-foot room built onto the back of her garage with a screened wall for her kitties to watch wildlife in the wooded back yard. A single bean bag chair gave visitors a spot to sit and play with the cats. Before two years had passed, the small operation was moved to the main garage and, at times, housed 80 cats.
Often tiny kittens needing to be bottle fed or cats with medical needs were moved into her home. "We had no privacy because people would drop by at all hours of the day and evening wanting to see kittens," Mirrotto said. "We were finding homes for about 350 kitties a year, but we were turning away 200 a week and were not making a dent in the cat population. She knew that the organization had to "grow or go."
BIRTH OF QUICK FIX
By 2009 Mirrotto came to the realization that more had to be done to stop the overbreeding of cats.
After a meeting with the core group of her medical team and volunteers, she and they decided they would take care of the adoption center, so Mirrotto could move forward with establishing a low-cost spay/neuter clinic with the guidance of the Humane Alliance, a nationally recognized leader in high quality, high-volume, low-cost spay-neuter.
A business plan was drawn up and she learned that $250,000 was needed to put the plan in action.
It took 2-1/2 years to raise the money through grants, donations and fundraising, Mirrotto said. Finally, in 2011, a building was rented and renovated to fit the clinics' needs. By June, a fully trained staff was in place, and Quick Fix Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic was opened to the public.
ADOPTIONS AND CLINIC OPERATIONS
A focal point of the Quick Fix lobby was a floor to ceiling viewing window to watch adoptable kittens romp and play in a free roaming rotunda.
With the thriving clinic and the adoption center in one location, Mirrotto's clinic again outgrew the space, but she and her associates were lucky to find a building to rent right around the corner on Lake Road, where the adoption center was relocated. Here, they had plenty of room for spacious visiting rooms, offices and medical rooms.
The two businesses might have remained in separate buildings, but an additional 8,000 square feet adjacent to the Quick Fix clinic became available. Having everything in the same building would make it so much easier when doctors need to see the cats, especially when moving kittens for their spay/neuter surgeries, so again the adoption center was moved back to the Quick Fix building and they now have all the room they need for future growth.
Quick Fix celebrated its 50,000th surgery in February. Cats can start breeding as early as six months old, and the mother can be reproducing again just six weeks after giving birth.
With the average litter being about six kittens, the number of felines that will never be born due to spay surgery is incalculable. "The community needed this place so badly," Mirrotto said. "We've seen a significant decrease in the number of pregnant cats in the spring and other rescue groups have noticed the difference as well."
"Even though our vet can do 40-45 surgeries in a day, we're booked through June, and another full time vet may be hired to accomodate the need." "The surgeries include not only house cats, but also dogs and many feral cats," Mirrotto said.
More people are utilizing the trap/neuter/release programs for feral cats in their neighborhoods. The cost to fix a feral cat is only $35, and a rabies vaccination is included. When feral cats are trapped and brought in, they don't need an appointment and are fixed that same day. Traps are rented for $5 per week, and instructions are available to make the trappings go well.
Quick Fix also offers an affordable low cost wellness clinic for both cats and dogs to get vaccines, heartworm prevention and tests. "People are coming to us from Cuyahoga, Lorain, Wayne and Lake counties as well as Medina," Mirrotto said. "We get more than 100 calls a day and we do call everyone back. "We have someone who comes in twice a week and does nothing but return phone calls."
COME IN FOR SOME PURRS
"Volunteers are welcome to come in, play with the kitties and do whatever they like to help us out," Mirrotto said. "In addition to cleaning litter pans, cages and dishes there are many other tasks that need to be done, like putting together the hundreds of e-collars used after surgeries."
In the five free-roaming rooms, visitors can visit with the cats and play with the young kittens to socialize them. The main room looks like anyone's living room and is where volunteer groups often meet to help with tasks and be with the cats. Its where the most outgoing cats hang out and watch and wait for visitors from their climbing posts and beds throughout the room.
"We would like to have a few more foster homes for kittens and mamas with kittens," Mirrotto said. "We supply all the food and litter and you supply the love and care." Inmates from the animal programs at the Grafton Correctional Institution Men's Prison and Northeast Reintegration Center for Women help care for mother cats and kittens. "They hand-raise and socialize kittens during their first eight weeks and they come back to us super friendly," Mirrotto said. "This enables us to be able to bring them in, get them fixed and adopted out without locking up our space raising babies. They love these cats and nurture the kittens. It's a win-win situation."
"We've seen the impact on the community that Quick Fix has made," Mirrotto said. "It's a lot of hard work and people always say to me that this must be my life's dream."
"It's not, but it is my life's calling."