Jenna Marie was discovered by tourists in a very popular area, Jackson Square in the city of New Orleans. She was near death when found, and desperately surrendered herself in a cat carrier which had a bowl of food in it. Thousands of tourists and locals passed by her for weeks and not one person stopped to help her. Unfortunately, this is very common in New Orleans, and so many cities across the world.
Jenna Marie, an adult cat was 2.8 lbs which is equivalent to a 11-12 week old kitten when rescued. She was hopeless, emaciated, anemic, covered in fleas, in great pain and basically slowly dying alone on the streets. In addition, she had a tumor under her tongue and was ultimately diagnosed with an aggressive cancer- squamous cell carcinoma in her mouth. She has been under consistent vet care since rescued. At the recommendation of her vet, who she sees daily, her angel parents Carmen and Jim are keeping her comfortable with fluids, pain meds, B-12, steroid injections and frequent, but time consuming, feedings. Despite her condition and horrific life on the streets, Jenna Marie is a happy, grateful cat. She purrs, happily kneads, enjoys watching tv and cuddling with her parents. She even has a sister cat now.
After all of the diagnostics and biopsy results initially came back, her rescuers made a group decision not to do anything extreme. Surgery was not a possibility due to the location and stage of the cancer. Our first goal, as her rescuers, was to keep her as comfortable as possible as long as she was happy, catting, and enjoying life. Our second goal was to raise money towards her vet bills so that Carmen and Jim didn’t have to bear the unexpected financial burden alone. And our 3rd goal was to raise awareness of the cat overpopulation crisis in NOLA (and other cities,) and try to raise some additional funds to help more stray/feral cats like Jenna Marie.
To fund this ambitious fundraising endeavor, a tote bag was designed with all funds benefitting Jenna Marie, and cats just like her. This tote bag is very special, and comes from a place of great love. Jenna Marie’s Dad, Jim drew the beautiful and meaningful portrait of her representing her city of New Orleans. We want Jenna Marie to know and feel that we see her. We aren’t turning our backs on her. Her life matters. We hope that this fundraiser raises both awareness and funds for Jenna Marie’s ongoing vet care. We are splitting the proceeds raised with the Louisiana SPCA for their much needed, ongoing TNR efforts for stray and feral cats in NOLA.
Cat overpopulation is a national crisis in the United States, and around the world. Nobody likes seeing the ASPCA commercials on TV. Face it, we all change the channel when it comes on because it is too heartbreaking for us animal lovers to watch. The sad reality is: we can change the channel, but that doesn’t stop the suffering that is happening for these animals. Literally millions of animals suffer every day. Please let that sink in. We need to do better as a society for animals.
If every animal lover came together and actively treated community cats the way they treat their pets, what a difference this would make for so many. If people took the time and learned how to TNR (trap-neuter-release) stray/feral cats in their neighborhood, so many unwanted litters could be prevented. If people opened their homes and hearts to fostering a cat, it would clear room in an animal shelter and one less cat would be euthanized. If people took the time to volunteer at an animal shelter or rescue group, it would give a rescue person a day off. And most importantly, people need to be aware if they see an animal in need, don’t ignore it thinking that someone else is going to step up to the plate to help. Very often, that just doesn’t happen. Jenna Marie is proof of that as well as many other cats you probably see in your news feed on social media.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
Please look at Jenna Marie’s face, stare into her eyes and let her be an inspiration for you to do more that what you are doing today for animals. Learn how to TNR, volunteer at a shelter or with a rescue group, donate money, create a fundraiser to support strays/ferals, rescue a homeless cat/kittens on the street, foster kittens/cats. There is so much work and improvement to be done. We can all strive to do better and make a difference in the lives of stray and feral cats. They have no voice and need us.
Jenna Marie’s story has reached so many! Her once ignored and neglected face is finally being seen. We have sold tote bags in Australia, Ireland, and so many US cities (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Wisconsin and more).
Please buy a tote bag and share her story! All proceeds are split 50/50 to cover Jenna Marie’s expenses and a donation the LA SPCA, who desperate needs volunteers and funds to help these street cats of New Orleans.