Now that the connection between cats and comics has been firmly established, I’m going to make a plug for “¡Hacé feliz a un gato!” (Make a cat happy!), an organization that helps the cats that have been abandoned in Buenos Aires’ Jardín Botánico (Botanic Garden). The first time I lived here, went to the Botanic Garden frequently to feed and pet the cats. When I returned to Buenos Aires in March, I knew I wanted to become part of an organization that would care for the cats on a regular basis. So I looked online and found “¡Hacé feliz a un gato!” I began volunteering, learning the cats’ names, and nodes where they gather. Some cats are affectionate, desiring contact with humans more than the food we bring; others need wet food because their bad teeth make it hard to chew the dry pellets; some cats are so shy we have to leave food that they will eat only when we walk away. Each cat has a distinct personality. Panchita, black and white with dainty paws, is shy, but still follows me around the park. Trapito, or “dishrag” in English, is called so because he always looks like he won’t survive another day, but is miraculously alive every time we bring food. Ismael, a big orange cat, guards the Plaza Italia entrance with the seriousness of a gargoyle.
So, what exactly does “¡Hacé feliz a un gato!” do? They take care of the cats that have been abandoned in the Botanic Garden and help them get adopted. Volunteers feed cats daily and participate in monthly spay and neuter operations. (In Spanish, “castración” is the word used for “spay and neuter.” Terrifying.) Although at first glance, the Botanic Garden seems like a sanctuary, most cats get sick from the constant stress, cold, and rain. When the cats get sick, volunteers bring them to the vet. As you might imagine, resources are extremely limited (I’ve run out of food two times) and the organization is funded only by volunteer donations.
So what can you do, dear readers of this blog? Well, if you want to become a super important person in the comics world and the savior of an animal, you can adopt a cat! These cats are super sweet and might end up inspiring you to write a cat comic and become a millionaire. You can also contact the organization at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for information about donations or volunteering. While you’re at it, join their Facebook page: “¡Hacé feliz a un gato!” If you are thinking about adopting a cat or would just like to meet some of them, you can help me feed them. Just leave me a message!