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“It just kind of it’s kind of once you’re in you can’t get out,” Alison Smith, co-founder, Kitty City, exclaimed. “Yeah, there’s no way out.”
Alison Smith has been all in for nearly 20 years.
“Initially I was the only one on board,” Alison laughed. “But with a lot of talk and my whole family’s on board.
I just need to do it. For me, it’s like a calling.”
It all started when Steve and Alison Smith’s daughter became involved in horse rescue.
That evolved into helping any type of ag animal that needed help, with most of the animals in their care having some type of disability.
“This is our disabled one,” Alison pointed out.
“These are animals that just don’t have anywhere to go, they’re not ready to be euthanized, but they can cost more money they can take they’re more labor intensive,” Alison explained. “And people are not standing in line to adopt them, so the sanctuary is all about having a place for those kinds of animals to go.”
In 2016, Alison realized the critical need for a cat sanctuary as well.
Already caring for all kinds of farm animals, they decided, why not? And a plan was hatched.
“So we took one of our horse paddocks and turned that into the beginning of Kitty City,” Alison said. “And it just kind of kept growing from there. The need for cats is just tremendous, for help for cats.”
Cats of all kinds, and all needs, like Stitch, who has no eyes and also suffers from cerebellar hypoplasia, a condition where part of the brain that coordinates movement is smaller or not completely developed.
Today, there are several designated areas for cats: one in their garage to quarantine new cats, another for cats with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, or FIV, an area for cats with severe disabilities, and another area for healthy cats.
But Alison says it’s not easy to get support for cats, horses, goats, pigs, cows, and donkeys when living in a rural area.
“Sometimes it’s hard to get people interested in, you know, a pig that needs help, versus this cute puppy over here that needs help,” Alison shared.
Pigs like Wanda and Maple.
“Look,” Alison exclaimed. “Yeah, she’s blind, but she’ll figure it out.”
Alison says it wouldn’t be possible without the volunteers who help day in and day out.
“People don’t understand the extent of work that has to go into, you know the snow, the mowing, the cleaning of the water fountains for the animals, making sure they’re not freezing,” Alison explained.
It’s been a lot of sacrifice not only for Alison, but also her husband and her children when they were young.
Caring for so many animals meant giving up family vacations and consumed their weekends and evenings, but despite it all, Alison keeps her head up.
“I really try to always maintain a positive attitude, or pout in private,” Alison chuckled. “Because you know, it’s important and animals can pick up on that as well. So I always try when I come out here I always try to be as uplifted as I can.”
Alison Smith, creator of Kitty City and lover of animals big and small, is Someone You Should Know.
Visit Kitty City to adopt, volunteer or donate.