Cheryl Dare, Tennessee, United States

About 11 years ago I started working with a new therapist whose office was on a busy street. I saw the cats early on and started hanging out at the back of the office where the cats congregated thinking I might tame any one of them—I didn’t know about Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) at the time. I became aware that one of the other therapists, Cindy, was feeding them and found that she was also trapping them and having them all spayed and neutered. When I was there, I would occasionally help a bit. Some of the cats were tolerant of humans and I was able to catch a couple while they were feeding and took one  to a vet for neutering.

Cindy had names for them all. I heard later that she was also doing TNR out at a hospital’s grounds, and one day she brought over a little black kitten about 11 weeks old and I volunteered to socialize her. Trouble was, I fell in love with her. Nine years later, Gracie is still with me. I didn’t exactly do a good job of socializing her, though; she only trusts me and disappears when anyone else comes over. Since Cindy moved to another state other people in that office continue to feed the little colony.