Ocracats 2021 Year in Review!

January 10, 2022

2021 was a challenging year in many ways and Ocracats would like to thank everyone for your continued support.

As the year unfolded, we found ourselves with new friends who expressed their fondness for Ocracats in a variety of ways. The beginning months of 2021 found us preparing supplies for the Spring kittens, caring for older or injured Ocracats and planning for our 'season' of visitors.

Donations were received including food, blankets, toys, supplies, carriers and kitten pens and we are SO appreciative of all the efforts from all of you! Monetary donations made in our collection jars on island and those and other donations made through PayPal, our Facebook page or by a mailed check are what allows us to do what we are doing and we can't say "Thank You" loud enough or strongly enough to express our heartfelt awe at your generosity. We currently feed over 300 cats every day, 365 days a year, and it is costly. There are families here who through their own expense will feed Ocracats and we are so appreciative of you! There are likely another 150-200 cats that are being fed "privately." When you see a cat on Ocracoke, know that your donations are giving this animal food and medical care. The cats all meow "Thank you"!

Ocracats received two handmade quilts by Nora Blythe which were raffled at the Ocrafolk Festival in June and she has since given us two more quilts that will be raffled in 2022! We were also finally able to raffle off the original sketch by Bruce Tarkington of 'Scooter' (delayed from 2020). Ocracats was featured in several chapters of Gary VanRiper's book Adirondack Kids #20, The Amazing Migration Vacation. It is a delightful story and includes a realistic tale of an Ocracat! These books are available for sale. During the fall season, Morag Weatherhead featured a mug raffle that benefited Ocracats to about $1300! Another artist donated handmade cards to sell to benefit Ocracats, so, wow!

We have a special family who is remembering their beloved daughter, Carolyn, with a project of raising enough money for Ocracats to buy an outdoor small shed building to house kittens, ill cats, sell merchandise etc. The Munson family has spent countless hours planning the GoFundMe for this, which is separate from our general fundraising, and we so appreciate their time and love with this project. We hope 'Carolyn's Cottage' becomes a reality this year for Ocracats.

The Ocrafolk Festival in June and the Pirate Jamboree in October found our volunteers selling T-shirts, including our reissued 'Blackbeard's Cat' tee, note cards and Thurston stickers.

Summer also found Ocracats presenting a program at the Ocracoke Preservation Museum for a wonderful group of visitors, as well as a program for the island children at the Summer Library Program. The children were so interested in the kittens they made Kitten Kits for Ocracats to give to families who were adopting our kittens. They included hand knit blankets by an island resident, kitten toys, food and sweet notes! What an incredible act of kindness! Summertime also brought generosity from our island kids and visiting children, several of whom donated their earnings from sales of their artwork or other earnings. What special young people to think of donating to Ocracats!

October was the time for our TNR (trap-neuter-release) clinic with Dr.Johnson from Boone, N.C. Ocracats trapped cats for three days and we had 49 cats spayed or neutered, given rabies vaccs. and deworming/defleaing. This will help decrease the kitten population this Spring! We are so grateful to Dr. Johnson and his team for coming to help us each year! We are hopeful for a spring clinic this year as well as a clinic in October.

The kittens were out and about in the marsh, under buildings, in pipes, stuck in sheds, stuck in an old pizza oven, hiding from dogs and we did our best to bring them in to give them safe loving homes. We lost some kittens from a litter in the marsh from a loose dog attack. We are hoping Ocracoke will endorse a dog leash law this year, fingers crossed. We are delighted to have found the perfect families for the little ones! Our kitten count for 2021 is at 54- that's about 1/2 of what we brought in during 2020. We are delighted with this decrease in new kittens. We weren't able to get them all in, but most of those we didn't were spayed or neutered in October.

There are two plaques to our beloved lighthouse kitty, Thurston, on two rocking chairs at the Ocracoke Preservation Museum. We hope to have more in Thurston's remembrance in the future.

Wintertime is difficult for the cats and we will care for the injured and sick and help them cross the rainbow bridge with love and tenderness when their time comes. The cold, windy, often wet winter days and nights are rough on the cats. We are grateful that some island families have built their own shelters for the kitties on their own property. Volunteers are using straw to fill the cat shelters with warm bedding for these frigid nights.

Volunteers are always needed, so give us a holler when you're here! We hope to see you in 2022!