Several years ago the staff employees of the Greenbush branch of Border State Bank started a fund in which monies were donated from their monthly potlucks and Jean Fridays’.
According to President Lisa Bergsnev, they look for different local needs to donate to. Some have been Trails for Treatment, Trails for Transplant, Reach Out for Warmth, the Gap fun at school, and many others.
“This time we decided to help our very own Sonia at the café,” Lisa said. “She takes her own money to help cats around town that are hungry and homeless. This money can help her cover (the cost of) food, getting them fixed/neutered, etc. She has such a big heart – we wanted to give back!”
Rockin’ 50’s Café owner Sonia Lee started feeding (cats) at least seven year ago.
She commented, “I noticed there were a lot of them coming around in the winter – I could tell by the paw prints in the snow. So, I just started feeding them out in the back (of the café) regular cat food that doesn’t freeze. I also add whipping cream to water for them to drink. I put it out only if I know they are there – otherwise it will just freeze.
“They’re pretty skiddish – some will scatter or just hang around but won’t let me come too close to them. There’s an orange one who stays in the “feral” house. If he thinks that I don’t see him in there, he’s okay, otherwise he’ll just take off … I can’t warm up to him.”
Sonja also has a regular “customer”, that of a beautiful gray and white long-haired cat, who shows up almost on a daily basis – after dark, around 5:00-5:30, to eat.
“During the summertime they get scraps from the restaurant,” she laughed. “There’s plenty of that!”
Ask anyone who know this lady and they will tell you of the deep compassion she has for animals. Many a time she has found homes for the unwanted, fed those who were in dire need of food and/or water, and has sought the expertise of local veterinarian, Dr. Lyle Mattson, concerning the condition of a cat’s health.
Lee fashions “feral” cat houses out of regular totes. They may not be fancy, but these shelters offer cat a sanctuary from the deep, bitter cold and wind, and even from freezing to death. The inside is lined with styrofoam, straw is stuffed inside, and a hole is cut out in the front of the tote for easy access (or exit).
“If anyone is in need of a feral cat house, just let me know and I will drop one off,” she said.
What was Sonia’s reaction when she was presented with the $500 donation?
“I just cried and cried! Nancy and I were both crying – there were lots of tears.”
She plans to use the money to build more feral houses and buy cat food.
“I also want to leave some money with Dr. Mattson to be used for any medical attention a cat may need. He’s always been so good to help me out with them – that really means a lot.”
And, what are her long-range plans when it comes to tending to “her” cats?
In a quick reply she said, “I will keep on feeding them as long as they keeping showing up.”