The Feral Cat Program of Georgia, or FCPGA, held its second annual Fun at Fowler event on Oct. 24. The event brought a lot of cat-lovers together to raise money and awareness for the rescue organization. This year, the FCPGA will be using the proceeds and donations made at Fun at Fowler to fund a shelter.
Jennifer House, founder of FCPGA and veterinarian for the organization said that she was anticipating the development of the shelter with excitement. “I’ve been doing this for 15 years, and I’ve been doing it just from my house,” House explained. “I’m so ready for the extra space — space outside the house just for the cats.” The new shelter will be built on House’s property in Cumming so that she has easy access to the rescue cats living there. FCPGA hopes to open the shelter by March 1, 2021.
The shelter will have several new habitat areas with enough space to house many rescue cats. “It’ll be huge for us. It’ll really change the program,” Kelly White, volunteer at FCPGA said. “It’ll give us a much wider reach. Every day, people are texting us, messaging us on Facebook and Instagram. There are just so many cat-lovers, and everybody wants to help an animal in need.”
The FCPGA set a goal of raising $50,000 before beginning development of the new shelter. Before the Fun at Fowler event, they had raised half of that amount. Vendors generously donated items that could be bid on at the silent auction at the fundraiser, and those proceeds went directly to the shelter fund.
“We also have some really dedicated donors that donate throughout the year and have been really generous for the shelter,” White said. “We’re very thankful for them.” FCPGA was able to accumulate $15,000 more in donations, bringing their current total up to $40,000.
FCPGA has put on two Fun at Fowler events, but this was the first one that included vendors. FCPGA put out an open call for vendors on Facebook and its website and let vendors reach out to them. Many of the vendors were friends of friends who volunteered with the organization.
When speaking with Terri Benavides, independent consultant for Paparazzi, a jewelry company, she said that she immediately hopped on board to be a vendor for Fun at Fowler. Being an avid animal-lover herself, the chance to be a part of the fundraiser was a no-brainer, she said.
Slopes BBQ catered the event, offering a lunch for those who signed up for that option. FCPGA was able to get a small amount of those proceeds for the shelter, but the silent auction was the biggest push. “We actually made our own BBQ last year,” House said. “We did more of a homemade fundraiser last year just to see what the response would be. We ended up getting a ton of people coming out, so this year we decided to do everything a little bit bigger.”
There was also a photo booth that took donations. It was geared towards the younger audience, allowing children to have something to look forward to.
“We also tried to put the event next to the playground so the kids could play and then come over,” she said.
The fundraiser offered a little bit for everyone involved.
FCPGA’s main goal, in the grand scheme, is to help relieve animal control’s large intake of cats. Forsyth and Dawson County animal shelters have active adoption events, but some other facilities in outlying areas are not so lucky. Animal shelters are also not as equipped to care for sick or pregnant cats, and FCPGA makes sure to rescue them. The new FCPGA shelter will serve as a place of refuge for volunteers to do appropriate vaccines and socialize cats before they are then dispersed out into foster homes.
With the help of countless volunteers, FCPGA has been able to place feral cats and cats with special needs in loving homes.
“We do have some people that come in and only adopt cats with leukemia or special needs — tripods, blind kitties,” White said. “It’s a really big movement, and some generous people only want to take care of those cats. It’s a special calling for them, and we are very appreciative.”
House has made it her mission to save any cat in need. She stated that they never reject a case, no matter how bleak it looks. Recently, she drove some kittens to a specialized leukemia center for cats in Texas, calling it her “vacation, of sorts.”
Her passion can truly be seen through everything she has done with the FCPGA. “Most people are like, ‘You’re crazy. Why would you do all of this?’” House said. “But it’s just what I’m supposed to do. I think this is really my calling, helping cats in need.”
FCPGA does adoption events every Saturday at local PetSmart shopping centers in Alpharetta, Cumming and Dawsonville. Adoption events are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and FCPGA is providing socially distanced adoptions. To learn more about the adoption events and how to get involved or donate to this organization, please visit FCPGA’s website, www.fcpga.org.