The Best Friend of Abandoned Cats in Marina Bay Trail
on October 13, 2009
As Anna Sandoval walked through the Marina Bay Trail in the morning with a cart carrying canned and dry pet food, cats that may be usually invisible hiding in bushes would pour out and follow her. They know that their friend is coming, as well as their meals.
Sandoval, a 53-year-old cosmetic saleswoman, has been feeding the dozens of cats along the bay trail for about nine years. She feeds them every morning before she goes to work, spending 45 minutes on weekdays to get each cat fed. It takes longer on the weekends as she would talk to them while feeding. After she feeds the cats one by one, she would also pour more pet food on the trays at small food stations scattered along the trail–one cup of pet food per cat per day–and clean drink water in the plastic boxes at the shelters hidden deep inside the bushes.
Sandoval has given every cat a name. Some are called Buddy One, Buddy Two, Buddy Girl; some have more specific names like George, Angel, or Moose.
“I named them whatever came to mind,” said Sandoval. She calls the male cat with torn ears Mr. Wrap. And the black cats living in the middle of the trail area, she calls them Beekie Camp, like Beekie One, Beekie Two, Mama Beekie.
“I know every single one of them. They might look the same to you.” she said, “Some people ask, ‘How do you know?’ You just know who your animals are.”
However, what Sandoval does has angered some people who are concerned that the cats might harm the bird species in Marina Bay, the home to more than 100 kinds of birds. Some even called her “bird killer” while passing through the trail. But she claimed cats won’t harm the birds species for they stay in seperate areas.
It was in 2000 when Sandoval moved back from Seattle to Richmond that she accidentally encountered the abandoned cats along the Marina Bay Trail. Another woman was tendering the cats at that time but was moving away soon. Sandoval told the woman that she could help, so she took over the job and started her mission. It took her months to count all the cats there–75 cats at the time. But afterwards she had many of them adopted and the colony has stabilized to 28 cats.
It costs Sandoval about $200 a month to feed those cats. Sometimes she received random donations, but volunteer work is the most needed on helping feed the cats while she is on business trips.
Sandoval has also been trying to neuter or spay all the cats she feeds. She believes that to educate the community on neutering or spaying cats is necessary.
“My biggest dream is to have an animal sanctary, to protect and help all these cats,” Sandoval said. “This is my passion, this is what I do. And these cats are my responsibility I feel and I want to make sure that they’re protected and fed.”
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HI sister! I work alone, with my little Bee Holistic Cat Rescue and Care, and also with Fix our Ferals and Feral Cat Foundation…glad you’re in the news..you can always reach me at 510-237-1190.
The feral cats and the bird population have worked together beautifully – the cats literally nap within feet of the cranes, geese, ducks and herons, which are completely unafraid of the kitties. The species have learned to adapt to each other; it is a wonderful microenvironment. Ms. Sandoval’s efforts have resulted in a much healthier, less disease-prone community of feral cats (there would be feral cats even if she did not feed them but her care means they are a much healthier component of the slough area). I very much appreciate what Ms. Sandoval does.
Thank you, Anna! It is wonderful to know that there are humane, caring people like you advocating for our friends, the cats.