Suellen Duga’s 72-year-old home is a home for felines in need, with 12 rescue cats, all of which have problems. Julie, who has cerebral hyperplasia, Roo, a male calico cat who can’t move on his front legs, Buddy, who is blind, and Cory, who has a dislocated hip, are among the animals. Two of the cats have IBD, and several of them require medicine and visits to the veterinarian on a routine basis. Each cat has a unique special need, but they all have one thing in common: Suellen has helped them find a loving home.
Suellen has dedicated her entire life to creating a safe place for cats. Suellen saw baby kittens in the bushes outside her apartment building in the 1970s. She was keen to help despite the lack of a mom cat in sight. She was committed to the kittens’ survival, feeding them from a clean nasal spray bottle. She took them into her city office building every day to feed them, putting her job at risk in the process. She told to iHeartcats,
“I wasn’t lying anyone; everyone knew they were there, yet no one promoted me to management.”
Not only did the kittens survive, but they also found permanent homes in Suellen’s heart and home.
“Of course, I couldn’t let them go when it came time to adopt them out.”
Suellen has always liked cats, and she and her husband operated a small natural food shop for 20 years. She decided to make a change in 2007 and began helping with the Westfield Homeless Cat Project.
“From the concrete floor above, cages were heaped on top of one other. It was certainly not the greatest manner for a 62-year-old lady to be on her hands and knees on a cold concrete floor, but I felt passionately about helping the cats.”
“I knew my shop had been supported by the neighborhood for almost 20 years, and I felt compelled to repay them. That may seem cheesy, but that is how I live my life.”
Suellen’s dedication and hard work led to her being appointed as the shelter’s Adoption Coordinator. She has helped numerous animals find homes, but cats with special needs hold a special place in her heart. She told iHeartcats that adopters are often ignoring the shelter’s handicap cats. Many are returned to the shelter after being adopted out.
I couldn’t handle seeing it happen over and over again.”
Suellen began caring cats with severe lnisiproblems and says,
“I was well on my way to becoming a Foster Failure!”
Suellen’s home already has 12 cats, many of them are “foster rejects.” She goes above and above for her kitties, transforming her home to meet their requirements. The “cat wall” provides a safe haven for her companions to “get away from it all.” Julie has a special litter box built from a boot tray for when she can’t walk without falling over, and Roo’s litter box includes a ramp. She also transports a kitten cage on rollers from room to room.
Suellen keeps her house clean and her cats healthy by using a professional steamer, a special floor cleaning equipment, a Dyson stick vacuum, and a “old fashioned bucket and mop.” Suellen works a second job at night to help pay for her feline family’s vet costs when she’s not caring for them at home. She also has a $5,000 life insurance policy in place to make sure they are taken care of if she passes away before them. “She said,” she explained.
“I almost hope I do since their losses are the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I love each and every one of them.”
Suellen has devoted her life to the care and welfare of disabled cats, and her tale is an inspiration to all cat lovers.
Suellen Duga contributed the featured image.