A Houston non profit is trying to put a dent in Houston's out of control feral cat population. Sharon Smith opened the Feral Feline Retreat a year ago to give street cats a second chance.
Tom O'Keefe lives on a double lot in northeast Houston surrounded by a tall aluminum fence.
"Tom just lives there. The house is for the cats," says Sharon Smith with a laugh.
The house is home to 30 cats. Most of them are feral and never given a chance at being tamed. Their shot at a better life comes courtesy of Smith. She pooled her savings to open the Feral Feline Retreat.
"I don't think there's any other place like it in Houston," she said.
The non profit has trees to scratch on, ladders to climb and tunnels to play in. The feeders are always full. Smith wants to put a dent in the feral cat population, but it's hard work. The retreat is in need of so much and more good people, like Randy Hartley.
"I came out here, contacted Sharon and wrote a check for $1,000," he said.
Now he's challenging the community to step up and help.
"Let's see through your story if we can raise $500 or more. If we can, I'll match $500 also."
Smith can't take any more cats but will loan traps and refer people to places that will fix them for free. The ferals may never become pets, but they can find forever homes on the farm.
"I had a lady come out yesterday who has a farm. She took two of them to be mousers. They're so much better for mousers than pesticides. If we could get more people who want cats for farms or barns all these cats would be gone," she said.
The Feral Feline Retreat adopts the cats' kittens out of the Pet Smart at Shepherd and Alabama every weekend from 11AM until 4PM. Last year they adopted out 600 animals. For more information visit www.feralfelineretreat.com