Northwest Horizons

Black cats find the ‘purrfect’ home with high school English teacher

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Black cats find the ‘purrfect’ home with high school English teacher

English teacher Lora Medley and two of her cats smile at the camera. Medley owns 22 cats and accidentally started a cat sanctuary.

English teacher Lora Medley and two of her cats smile at the camera. Medley owns 22 cats and accidentally started a cat sanctuary.

English teacher Lora Medley and two of her cats smile at the camera. Medley owns 22 cats and accidentally started a cat sanctuary.

English teacher Lora Medley and two of her cats smile at the camera. Medley owns 22 cats and accidentally started a cat sanctuary.

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The pitter-patter of tiny feet greets English teacher Lora Medley when she comes home every day. They are not children, however, but 15 of her 22 cats.

Medley is the owner of 22 cats– 15 of which live indoors, seven of which live outside. Twenty are black.

“I received my first cat when I was 2 years old for Christmas,” Medley said, “and my love affair with cats continued from there. I have always had  multiple cats; however, it has been over the past couple of years that I have started doing rescue and foster work.”

The seven outdoor cats are part of a black cat rescue colony.

“I love all cats, but I definitely have a soft spot for black cats,” Medley said. “Black cats are the least likely to get adopted in shelters and the quickest to get euthanized. I have always said that I wanted to start a sanctuary for black cats. Be careful for what you wish for. Out of my 22 cats, only two are not black. So, I have started my black cat sanctuary.”

The sanctuary is not the only volunteer work Medley does with cats. She also participates in helping feral cat rescue organizations.

“Over the past few years, as I have gotten more involved with TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return), I have learned what happens to cats that are not fixed and how the cat population can greatly get out of control with just one unspayed female,” Medley said. “It is estimated that there is upwards of 70 million stray and feral cats in the US. More than three million enter shelters every year.”

Medley added how nearly 1/3 of shelter cats are euthanized due to lack of space, resources and adopters, and less than half of feral kittens will survive to adulthood if not in a managed colony.

“TNR is the most effective method used to control feral cat population,” Medley said. “Cats are humanely trapped, spayed/neutered, vaccinated and returned to their colony. It is for these reasons that I have been working in TNR for the past year, trying to help minimize these numbers.”

Medley isn’t all serious, however, about her cats. There is always something fun happening at the Medley household.

“When you share your home, whether in or out, there is always something funny happening,” Medley said. “Each cat has their own little personalities and quirks. Someone is always doing something funny and making me laugh. It is definitely never a dull moment at my house.”

Medley also had fun with her own naming scheme with the cats, preferring “witchy” names.

While some family members disapprove of her sanctuary, Medley has the support of her husband as well as fellow cat-lover and English teacher, Scott Walker, at Northwest.

“Mrs. Medley and I have lots of conversations about our cats,” Walker said. “We talk about them every day.”

Walker is the proud owner of five cats.

“Some people think that cats are really aloof,” Walker said. “But that hasn’t been my experience. Cats like attention and company, just like dogs do.”

Medley is enjoying her experience with cats, even despite the doubters.

“A lot of my friends think I might need an intervention,” Medley said. “They don’t understand why I would want to do this. They really do think I am crazy. However, I am not doing this for them. I don’t think that it is crazy for having compassion and wanting to save a life. As Sigmund Freud said, ‘Time spent with cats in never wasted.’ Lots of my favorite authors were also huge cats lovers, such as Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway. I am also writing a book on how I, inadvertently, started a cat rescue.”

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Black cats find the ‘purrfect’ home with high school English teacher