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Norwich Bulletin - 9/7/2008

Cats and People - All Are Being Hit With the Economy

Itís really hard in these difficult economic times to be able to raise money for all the charitable organizations who need to help the people that are in worse financial straits than we are. Helping Paws has faced the fact that our donations have literally been cut in half, and realistically, we understand why.

But understanding the plight of todayís economy, and meeting the needs of all our four legged charges, are two different things and we have had to come up with a way to help not only our organization, but several others local to Norwich, without asking for large donations from the general public.

Thatís why our major cat show fundraiser this year is being held at Kelly Middle School, 25 Mahan Drive, in Norwich. The school will benefit in that they will provide the food for all the exhibitors and spectators, as well as receive a donation from our admission fee.

We will also hold a food drive for the St. Vincent De Paul Soup Kitchen and Food Bank. But we arenít stopping there Ė for every spectator that walks through our door, we will donate $1 to the Food Bank. I and some co-workers have run a food drive for them before when there food items were at a dangerous low. At that time we learned that St Vincent De Paul provides food for about 200 people and families a week. These families depend on the Food bank and the Food bank depends on us.

But we are not stopping there either! We have invited the Humane Society Adoption Van to come to the show. You can bring your donations of canned cat and dog food and treats to donate to them; and if you happen to be looking for a new friend, there will be lots of nice cats and kittens available for adoption. The economy has really hurt adoptions too, and we are all finding it very hard to find new humans for our homeless kitties.

Now you probably want to know what we have to offer you. Well, on September 20 and 21, 2008, between 10:00 a.m. and 04:00 p.m., we will host a TICA International cat show, featuring over 200 purebred and domestic cats. There will be Persians, Abyssinians, Maine Coons, Sphynx, Ragdolls, Bengals and a very special guest that you will learn more about in my next column. You will see judges from all over the United States, and on Saturday, you will see me judging, as I am fortunate enough to be a Specialty Cat Judge with the International Cat Association.

We will have an instant raffle on Saturday where you can win a lot of great prizes with a four to one ratio. We will also have a cup raffle on Sunday that will include a giant cat tree and a hand made cat quilt. So whether you want instant gratification on Saturday (like the instant lottery tickets) or wait for a call on Sunday night telling you that you are our big winner, you will have chances to win some very unusual and expensive items.

There will be vendors that can offer you products you will not see in a store. Whether you are looking for something for your cat, or for a cat lover, you will find it at our show. We will have Marcy Currier, our Pet Communicator and Tarot Card Reader Ė just bring pictures of your animals if you need to know what they are thinking, or enjoy a personal reading for yourself.

We have been very lucky in that several businesses have helped to sponsor this show, which allows us to make more of a profit for Helping Paws after expenses. Our main Sponsor, Royal Canin, will be on hand at the show to offer you samples of their excellent food and nutrition facts for your pets. Local businesses that specialize in animals and others who love animals will be featured in our spectators guide. We are blessed to have such good supporters year after year.

Admission is $6 for adults and $4.00 for seniors over 62 and kids 12 and under. No matter which admission price is paid, $1 will go to the Food bank. Also, if you bring food donations, canned meats, spaghetti sauce with meat, tuna, peanut butter, and jelly are most needed at the Food Bank. And Helping Paws would like nothing better than to be able to write St. Vincent De Paul a $2,000 check at the end of the weekend. But that will be up to all of you.

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