A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Miss Cuddlywumps Converses with Barn Cat Buddies

Black and White cat in a barn (www.BarnCatBuddies.org)
Barn cat, a.k.a. Rodent Control Technician.
Photo courtesy of Barn Cat Buddies.
You know, it’s great being a housecat with a loving home, but not every cat has that opportunity. Not every cat even wants to live in a house with people. Who takes care of those cats? Well, it’s really special people, like our guest today, who step up and volunteer to look after feral cats. Toni Levine is a co-president and member of the board of directors of an organization called Barn Cat Buddies. Let’s get right into our conversation.

Hi, Toni. We’re so glad you could join us today to talk about Barn Cat Buddies. Can you start by telling us exactly what this organization is and what it does?
Hi!!! Thank you for the opportunity to talk about ourselves!!! Our mission is to stop the population of feral cats and to create a safe environment for them while they are waiting on their forever homes. We offer a trap/neuter/return program when funding is available. We sterilize as many cats as we can under this program and pay for the vetting. It includes sterilization, rabies shot, distemper shot, and pain meds. We also tip the ears so that anyone that sees them understands they are vetted and being fed. We have created four sanctuaries that house approximately 300 cats. We provide food and vetting services to these cats until they are placed in a forever home. In addition, we provide food to low income people that are feeding feral colonies.

We already mentioned your roles as co-president and board member. What else do you do for Barn Cat Buddies?
I also am one of the sanctuaries, application processor, and one of the food providers as a food bank.

That sounds like a lot of work! If someone has a barn and needs a cat to patrol it and keep mice away, what is the process for getting a cat from you? Is there a fee involved?
Two Cats greet each other in a barn (www.BarnCatBuddies.org)
Barn Cat Buddies adopts their cats out in pairs. They
work hard to put just the right cats in the right place.
Photo Courtesy of Barn Cat Buddies.
Just go to our website at www.barncatbuddies.org and fill out an application for adoption. There are two applications…one is for indoor friendly cats, which is quite lengthy, and the other is for outdoor hunters/barn cats. We contact the applicant to find out exactly what they want and go to work locating the right cats. We do adopt in pairs, as they are social animals and will tend to stick around better with a “buddy.” We deliver, set up, and instruct as we go. There is no adoption fee for barn cats, but donations are always greatly appreciated. That is how we keep doing what we do.

Wow—it sounds like you really do a lot to make sure these cats end up in a good place. I understand you’re in Virginia. What areas of that state does Barn Cat Buddies primarily serve?
We work closely in Roanoke County, City, Salem, Vinton, Bedford County, Franklin County, Craig County, and Botetourt County, but are not limited to those areas. Our sanctuaries are in Bedford County, Botetourt County and Craig County.

Two cats on rodent patrol (www.BarnCatBuddies.org)
Two cat buddies on patrol for rodents.
Photo courtesy Barn Cat Buddies.
How long has Barn Cat Buddies been around, and roughly how many cats have you helped in that time?
We have been around for a decade but have been a 501C for about five years. I would have to get numbers from our bookkeeper/founder, but I can tell you that we sterilized and vetted well over a 1,000 cats in 2016.

Thank you for helping so many cats! I heard you did not get renewed funding this year for one of your major programs—the Free Feline Fix. What does this mean for Barn Cat Buddies?
Black and white cat on patrol in a barn (www.BarnCatBuddies.org)
A Rodent Control Technician's work is never done.
There's always some part of the barn--or stable or
greenhouse--to be checked out.
Photo courtesy Barn Cat Buddies.
This means that our main mission has been altered. We are not doing any intake in the year 2017 and will gear ourselves to adopting from our sanctuaries so that we can begin to pull from kill shelters and non-thriving or hoarding colonies in the next year. For now, we are concentrating on feeding and vetting (keeping healthy) our sanctuary cats and those colonies that we have committed to prior. We will reapply for our grant this coming year and hopefully will receive it for 2018.

What can people do to help Barn Cat Buddies?
Donate food, money, or items that we can sell at our large yard sales, which help provide a large amount of money for our food and vetting. Our mailing address is Barn Cat Buddies, P.O. Box 111, Salem, Virginia 24153. If someone would like to talk to one of our board members, please feel free to give them my email address, which is barngrama2@hotmail.com and I will be glad to call them.

Black and white cat relaxing (www.BarnCatBuddies.org)
Well, a Rodent Control Technician just needs a break
sometimes, but just their presence can warn pests away.
Photo Courtesy Barn Cat Buddies.
Thank you so much for any attention you can give us. We are ALL volunteers (there are no paid employees) and every dime contributed goes directly to run our program, provide food and vetting, and funds our Free Feline Fix program. 

This has been a really enlightening conversation, Toni. Thank you for joining us today. We have really enjoyed it. Readers, we really hope some of you will chip in however you can to help out the Barn Cat Buddies!


  1. Excellent interview. I am glad they will be pulling from kill shelters and helping so many more.

  2. I have heard of them and the wonderful work they do, but thank you for sharing! I think I knew an artist once whose name I can't recall, who donates some of the proceeds from the greeting cards she makes to them. catchatwithcarenandcody

  3. I've had several friends frustrated with trying to keep barn cats because of the dangers (mainly coyotes) ... they so desperately want them too! This is a fantastic program ... I will share this with them, thank you.