Barnie's Place was created in memory of a cat named Barnie who was originally trapped in January 2015. It is a rescue that seeks to provide care and a loving home for cats who are stray/feral, have challenging medical needs, or other reasons why they might be deemed unadoptable. Our group limits the cats in our care to ensure every cat will be given love and medical care so they can enjoy quality of life until the end. Cats are family!
Our vision is to have a place of our own, "Barnie's Place," in conjunction with foster homes and adoptive homes so cats live a life with comfort and love. These cats might be FIV positive, FELV positive, have other challenging medical needs, and/or are semi-feral.
The Volunteering program is our longest running initiative, based on the premise that making a real difference is not only possible but vital. At Barnie's Place Feline Rescue, Volunteering is a source of great pride for our Non-Profit Organization.
Barnie's Place Feline Rescue is a leader in educating the public about the needs of community cats. Our new Education program will meet monthly to teach others about community cats, cat care, socializing kittens and more. Become a part of a brighter future and join our efforts today.
At Barnie's Place, our goal is to be inclusive, inviting other organizations to work with us to strengthen our community. Our local empowerment initiative has proven to be a powerful tool for Barnie's Place Feline Rescue to successfully serve our community and improve countless lives -- both human and feline.
Barnie the Cat
The full story: As told by Diann Stelzer
In January 2015, a homeowner called to report they had been feeding a black kitty for some time on her back deck. She believed the kitty to be older and, apparently, another kitty started coming around and was beating up her black kitty. Another local rescue group (for which I was a member at the time) was called to trap both cats to have them neutered and released. The volunteers for this group set traps, educated the homeowner on TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release), and eventually caught a medium-haired intact male who eventually came to be known as Barnie.
Barnie was not happy in the trap. Like many cats who are trapped and unsocial, he tried to escape by ramming himself into the end of the trap. Volunteers threw a blanket over the trap and placed him in my van, and Barnie came to my house. The normal procedure is to have the kitties neutered as soon as possible and released back to their outside environments. This causes the least amount of stress to the animal. As such, Barnie was neutered, given a rabies vaccination at Central Missouri Humane Society, and also ear-tipped to signal to others he had been cared for.
However, nature had other plans. It snowed and was very icy for several days after his capture. I was unable to release him into his environment. It is not that easy to care for a kitty inside of a trap, so the decision was made to release Barnie inside my garage. For weeks, I never saw Barnie. He would sometimes answer if I called him, and the food I left for him disappeared. But Barnie was hidden somewhere inside my garage. Then, one day in early March, Barnie decided I was trustworthy enough to see him. He would come out for me when I called him and lie at my feet.
After a couple weeks more, he decided I could touch him. Then, a week after that, he jumped onto my lap. He was still a bit stiff, and if I touched a place he didn’t like, he would use his mouth to let me know it was not acceptable. Barnie never bit me, but he sometimes gave the impression he would. It was a learning process for both of us. He didn’t know me yet, and I didn’t know him. By the end of March, Barnie was coming into the house and sitting at the back door. He grew used to my big dog and
met a few other cats. Barnie’s socialization progressed quickly after this point. I worked on touching him all over, cleaning his ears, treating him for fleas and deworming him. He was very good at letting me inspect his coat and touch him (everywhere but his paws). Once April arrived, he made his way into the house and sat on my lap at the computer and, by the end of April, he was in the house for good. He no longer wanted to be by himself, and we concentrated on him learning to get along with other cats. He’d been on his own (we think) for about two years and had learned that survival necessitated beating up every dominant male cat.
At this point, I had Barnie tested for feline diseases. He tested positive for FIV (feline aids), which is a disease spread by fighting and enduring deep puncture wounds from an infected cat. To protect my own kitties, I had to make sure that Barnie would not fight with them. Cats, like humans, work out their hierarchy. Barnie wanted to be at the top, but he soon relented to my dominant male cat. There was never any fighting; just a quiet understanding.
After a couple of months, Barnie was welcomed by the other cats as a friend and was invited to lie on the couch with them. Male cats are very social with one another and often groom each other. Occasionally, Barnie would have a disagreement with one of my male cats, which cause growling. We intervened immediately and took the other male cat to a different room and then pet Barnie. Barnie responded very well to positive praise. Eventually, after 11 months, he allowed me to clip the nails on his paws. It took several days, but Barnie let me do it. He has learned to trust again after being abandoned, and I knew Barnie would never bite me because I trusted him, too.
My belief is that Barnie was once somebody’s cat who was tossed out when he was no longer wanted. Maybe the owners moved away, maybe they had a baby, or perhaps Barnie had litter box issues. He lived outside a long time and had to learn to defend himself. He endured at least one fight and was infected with Feline AIDS. Many people see cats outside running from humans and call them feral, but this is utterly not true and is unfair to those cats. In the rescue world, we call these "community cats." Some are truly feral, but the majority are stray cats who were unwanted or lost from their owners. Sometimes it takes to rehabilitate these cats but, with focused TLC and patience, they can become wonderful family members. At the end my journey with Barnie, he had transformed into a total lap cat and lover!
Barnie passed away during Covid after an 8 month battle with cancer. The hole that he left in our lives is enormous. I promised Barnie we would continue to take care of other cats like him, cats who some think are not adoptable.