New Orleans is a city full of strays. Since we moved into our big Uptown house in 1995, we have become a de facto animal shelter. All but two of our 28 animals (26 cats, one dog, and an albino king snake) were rescued from the streets, adopted from animal shelters, or given to us by people who either couldn't take care of them or just didn't want them any more. All our animals are spayed or neutered as soon as they come to us and never allowed to breed. All are strictly indoor pets. We believe that pets are a lifelong responsibility and a joy, but we're undeniably overextended. Our pet food bill alone totals over $5000 per year -- not an easy figure to meet on the combined incomes of a cook and a freelance writer. Anything you contribute will be spent solely on the animals' food, litter, and medical care. Here are some of the animals you'll be helping -- thanks so much for looking.

UPDATE: In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the failure of the federal levee system, we lost our house, six cats, and the snake. Our dog, Todd, is now living with my mother in Mississippi, as she fell in love with him while we were in exile and basically dognapped him. A saintly gentleman rented us -- cats and all -- an apartment on Prytania Street for a year and a half, until we found our new forever home in the somewhat rough but very interesting Central City neighborhood of New Orleans. We currently have 20 cats and a ball python named Zenobia, and are committed to New Orleans' recovery. Thanks so much for your help -- I don't know how we would have gotten through this extraordinarily difficult time without it.


Click a photo to enlarge it.

Boris Boudreaux. Found on side of highway with two broken legs (both now healed perfectly).

Treat time!

Colm, my old man. Rescued from traffic as a tiny kitten in 1989. Had to be bottle-fed for a week.

Deuce and his sister Dorothy were born in my neighbor's basement. We took them soon before they would have gone out into the neighborhood, where cat-killing dogs roam.  We also adopted their mother, Stella, who isn't tame yet but at least won't be able to have any more litters.

Feeding time.

We're all basketball fans here.

Ivan's mother Greta (who also lives with us) had her litter behind our vet's office. He is very scared of people and will only now, after 5 years, let me pet him.

R.I.P. 9/05

James is from the same cat colony as Marcel and Rexina.

Jed was being starved by his "family" in Mississippi. He has Feline Leukemia and must be kept in his own room. Despite more than a decade of abuse and neglect, he is one of the sweetest cats we've ever known.

R.I.P. 3-24-04

Marcel and his sister Rexina were rescued as kittens from a Mid-City feral cat colony.

Milo was born on a rooftop and washed off it in a thunderstorm. Somewhat defective but very sweet.

Myron was either born or abandoned in an airport Dumpster.

Shaq and his brother Siegfried came from the SPCA shelter.

Terrell came from the SPCA shelter, given up because his family had "too many pets" (ha!). He is the smartest cat I've ever known.

Todd came from the SPCA shelter, where he'd been given up by his family because he "kept getting out."

William inside one of our cat towers.

Polydactyl brothers Gideon and Tomas were adopted from a lady whose neighbors threatened to kill them if they kept coming onto his property. They've remained closer pals than any other pair of siblings we have, and also 'mother' the other cats.

R.I.P. Tomas 10/05