Located in the Northern Italian countryside, Parodi is a quaint town full of charm. And cats.
Parodi, Italy is home to Sheila Rawden, who devotes her love, life, time and home to taking in and caring for the unwanted and unloved cats at her cat refuge, Parodi's Cats.
Sheila has opened up her entire property, house and barn for the cats to roam freely, do cat things, and live out their lives naturally.
I met her when I went to stay at and care for the cats at the refuge. She is nothing short of a saint for these animals. They rely on her for everything and her daily workload is never-ending. Maintenance alone takes several hours of hard work every single day.
She takes in cats of all kinds, all temperaments, from all circumstances, and all ages, and often has cats ranging from 2 months old up to 20 years old. She sometimes has to take in entire young litters at one time, that all require round-the-clock bottle feeding.
She even takes in some unwanted chickens, too! Luckily, they all get along swell.
Cats are often neglected and treated as pests in Italy and as a result, many have been abused and mistreated, with no safe place to live. It's not uncommon for people to leave out purposefully poisoned food for the cats to eat.
Sadly, some of the cats at the refuge were even rescued from abusive situations and have been permanently disfigured or handicapped by their previous owners.
One poor girl was thrown of out a top story window in an attempted murder, but she actually survived the fall, incurring countless injuries, including the loss of her sight in one eye and loss of control over her back legs. And she is still unbelievably sweet and kind.
There is a very serious and unfortunate lack of shelter and support organizations in Northern Italy to care for all the unwanted animals. Sheila has help from very few locals, along with her daughter, to assist her in trapping the cats to get them to the rescue.
All of the animals at the refuge literally have nowhere else to go and have had their lives saved by Parodi's Cats Cat Refuge.
With well over 100+ cats, they are in constant need of veterinary care, everything from blood tests to vaccinations to spaying and neutering to dentals to basic treatments. Common colds and infections can be passed around quite quickly.
The sheer volume of the animals means that someone is always on their way to or from the vet. Some of the cats have special needs, or are on medications and require additional care. There are, of course, never-ending veterinary bills to be paid.
Parodi's Cats relies completely on donations to stay afloat. There is always work to be done and an ever-constant need for supplies, from food to litter to beds. The refuge goes through an astonishing amount of supplies, like food and litter, on a daily basis.
Help care for the cats! Here's how:
Are you in or going to Italy? Maybe you can volunteer or help out. Go here to see what's new.
Are you able to take a cat into your home? Adopt! The cats are in need of loving forever homes.
Parodi's Cats also offers ongoing fundraisers you can participate in here.
Please help spread the word about the refuge. Share this article!