I want to give a shout-out to folks like Cathy Horne and Amie Burnam, teachers by day, who sacrifice considerable amounts of time and financial resources to feed and manage feral cat populations using their financial resources, driving many miles each week as part of their charitable efforts and considerable financial sacrifices. I admire them considerably.

If you ask either of them about their efforts, they humbly reply they are only one of many feral cat warriors working in the trenches. They credit all their fellow cat warriors who help them in various ways and the wonderful Lowndes County Humane Society and TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release) folks who support them. They understand it takes a village. Their dream is to help this village grow to prevent needless suffering in our area.


While working on projects recently with Amie and Cathy, I learned some facts I would love to share. While many others also serve the feral population, I would like to use these ladies as an example of what animal rescue warriors in our community are doing.

Although they prefer to do it quietly, I see the importance of shining a light on their service. Warriors like them need and deserve support. If people knew what was happening in our community, many more would offer help and resources. Awareness is key.

These ladies began rescue work approximately five years ago because they were learning about a hotel location where residents ran over cats purposefully and for sport. As if running over a cat wasn’t enough, some residents were even seen walking up to the injured cats (that were paralyzed), kicking and torturing them while they were down and defenseless. Many cats were also poisoned at this location, which is an incredibly torturous way to die. Additionally, witnesses also reported residents throwing rocks and other items at tiny kittens and cats, injuring them greatly.

Learning about the cruelty of these proportions sparked a passion in these ladies to create change. They took a situation that could get no worse and completely transformed it into something positive. With the help of the Humane Society of Valdosta-Lowndes and TNR Clinics and a fellow friend and cat warrior named Lisa Futch, they got to work. Over 80 cats were living in this small area. They moved in and euthanized the suffering. They found homes and rescues for many of the tame cats.


They sought permission and pulled the rest of the colony into the woods nearby, where it was safer for them to live. They provided feeding stations and housing structures for the cats to weather the storms and the cold. In less than two years, they decreased the number of cats from more than eighty to thirty, and now, all thirty are spayed, healthy, and thriving. These ladies continue to feed and maintain this colony for over four years. This is the level of their commitment.

Animal welfare warriors like Cathy Horne and Amie Burnam always need financial assistance and volunteers. I know these ladies feed and care for a remarkable 250-plus cats in over 18 locations. They serve animals in Lowndes County, Georgia, and Hamilton County, Florida. They are always quick to credit the wonderful friends and animal rescue warriors who have joined in to help them but admit more help is needed.

They ask that committed and responsible community members who are interested in volunteering please send an email to catlou1@msn.com. To donate to those serving the feral cat community, you may donate through the Burton Fletcher Foundation for Animals, Inc. website, www.BurtonFletcherFoundation.org. If you designate the funds to go to these folks or others, I will make sure your designated group of choice receives your tax-deductible donations. Donations through my foundation are tax deductible as my foundation is a 501©(3) nonprofit.

I asked Amie Burnam and Cathy Horne what the message would be if they could share just one note about the feral cat population with the public. They replied, “That is easy. We would ask that individuals and business owners have compassion and understand that the cats are there through no fault of their own. They are just trying to survive, given the circumstances they were dealt with. Contrary to popular belief, many so-called feral cats are not feral.”

“It usually begins with irresponsible pet ownership and allowing personal cats to roam unaltered and breed. All too often, rather than having their pet spayed or neutered, pet owners will wait until the animal becomes pregnant and then pass the problem off to someone else. They drop their pet off in a parking lot, at a restaurant, or even far out in the woods, abandoning them and leaving them to fend for themselves. Even the tamest of cats will revert to their instincts when scared and displaced. Please do not blame an innocent animal for pet owners’ irresponsible and cruel acts. It’s time we, as a community, speak up and stand up for these animals. We appreciate your interest in the welfare of animals in our community.”

The Burton Fletcher Foundation for Animals salutes Amie Burnam and Cathy Horne, and we award them our “Difference Maker Award” in our Animal Welfare Heroes 2024 Competition. They are outstanding people, and they have my complete confidence. Please support them, just as you support me, but better!

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