Thinking Outside the Litter Box

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After a bad day at work, Laura Seeley used to pore over the Sunday newspaper want ads, looking for the ideal job. She wondered aloud why there were no cat ambassador jobs. That’s when her husband suggested that she create the position. In 2013, Seeley founded The Cat Ambassador, a nonprofit that focuses on helping cats and their people live better lives.

Seeley, a freelance writer, grew up in a Bay City neighborhood where there were many stray cats. It seems a few families had moved and left their cats behind. “So, I kind of started just helping them on my own,” Seeley said. “You know, get the cats or trapping them if I needed to so I could have them spayed or neutered and vaccinated.”

Her compassion for strays turned into her life’s passion.

“I knew there was a need for something like this, but when I got out there and saw how big it was, it was overwhelming,” Seeley explained.

Her outreach includes helping families that adopted cats without considering expenses keep their pet, so it isn’t turned over to a shelter or just booted out of the house to survive on its own.

“When someone says they have a kitten and they can’t afford to have it spayed or neutered, we will make an appointment,” said Seeley, wearing a fun, cat-centric shirt and carrying a purse with a cat’s face on it. “We work with a few veterinarians in the area where we get the cats spayed and tested and all the vaccinations.

“Most people, if they can’t afford a vet, they probably can’t afford food and litter, so we help them with that, all through donations,” Seeley said. If money runs low and The Cat Ambassador can’t help, Seeley will direct the families to the Capital Area Humane Society. In some instances, the cats will be fostered until homes can be found.

“We have two people who foster for me,” Seeley said. “But if they are caring for a litter of kittens or a sick cat, we don’t have a facility to take them in until they find a home.”

She told about one stray that needed special care. Seeley said a kitten, part of a recent litter, was born with a prolapsed rectum and was in dire need of surgery. After live-trapping Max, Seeley took the kitten to the Michigan State University (MSU) clinic, where surgery was completed. The following day the stitches came loose, and the operation had to be repeated.

“By now the bills are getting to be a bit too much, so we put out a call and got enough donations to cover the operations,” Seeley said. More recovery in a Haslett animal hospital was necessary, but Seeley said she planned to pick Max up and take him to his new foster parent – an employee at the MSU veterinary clinic where the kitten was first treated.

Seeley said Max’s progress toward recovery can be followed on The Cat Ambassador Facebook page, www.facebook.com/The-Cat-Ambassador-Inc-652384008190859/?ref=br_rs.

Her goal is to help all cats – and their people – in need. She even envisions a cat food bank, where people in need can receive cat food and litter without cost. Seeley obviously is a person to many cats of her own. She tries to foster cats in need, but admits she is a “foster failure.” She was asked how many cats she has at home. “Too many,” Seeley said jokingly.

Seeley said The Cat Ambassador depends on donations to operate. People can donate by going to the website thecatambassador.org, where people may donate through PayPal. The 501(c)(3) organization also accepts checks addressed to The Cat Ambassador, P.O. Box 646, Haslett, MI 48840.


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