Animal Control promised Animal Allies of Texas (AAT) that Sven was a Swedish sweetheart, but in his cage at the Highland Village, Texas, adoption center, the charcoal-and-white tuxedo shrieked like a Halloween cat and swatted at those who got too close to his cage. One volunteer applied pressure to her scratched hand. Other volunteers and employees stood back and watched cautiously. Sven obviously wasn’t housecat material after all. While AAT is a no-kill rescue group, an aggressive cat simply couldn’t be adopted out. Euthanasia seemed the only answer. But Sven had one last hope: Peggy Atkerson, founder of Barn Cats, Incorporated (BCI), a nonprofit, all-volunteer feral cat rescue. Atkerson has a passion for society’s most rejected felines: nuisance ferals and unadoptable cats.
Atkerson put Sven in a cage in her home, where he continued his unearthly wails. He even began to charge the cage. Atkerson, too, considered putting him to sleep. Instead she covered the cage with a sheet, hoping he would quiet down a bit. After a week in seclusion, he calmed down, even to the point of allowing Atkerson to pet him and clean his cage. She placed him in an upscale horse barn near Dallas (with no children). His new family continues to rave about what a great cat he is. He’s happy and affectionate and rules the roost.
Helping Feral Cats
Atkerson and her handful of volunteers are the only option for unadoptable friendly and displaced feral cats in North Texas. Municipal animal control agencies frequently turn to Atkerson after raids on hoarders where uncontrolled breeding creates generations of indoor feral cats.
Atkerson began her crusade to save feral cats 13 years ago. Ladies at the Lewisville Senior Center had been feeding a feral mother who had given birth under the building. Atkerson, who worked with a different organization at the time, caught the feline family. The kittens found forever homes, but what do you do with a wild adult?
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