Calling All Artists!

It’s the fifth Annual Open Air Art Market on Saturday, September 30th, which recently started its call for artists. Located in front of Detroit Beach off N. Dixie Hwy., local artists and crafters will feature their work between noon and 6 pm outside the shelter. This event will be followed by FOCA’s Trunk or Treat on Sunday Oct. 29th at the shelter

Rescue director Penny Bly, explains, “Fall is always a fun time at FOCA. People in Monroe are always looking for unique local things to do so we try to do at least one event each month. For example, the art market is one we enjoy annually in September. It’s always fun to see the creative things they bring each year. Essentially, it’s a way for artists to support the shelter while the shelter can give the artist a platform to show their work.”

As mentioned, the shelter is making a call for artists and spots are already starting to fill up. Artists and crafters are welcome to get a spot for their table and/or 10×10 tent for a $20 donation to benefit the rescue. Even the felines at the shelter will be getting involved with their own painting creations, as they have in years past. Their artistic ‘cats-terpieces’ will be on view at the event and available on eBay closer to the event for bidding. Artist wanting to take part should email FOCA before Labor Day 2023 to secure their space.


FOCA Rescues 35 Cats in Monroe LaSalle; Seeks Donations

The latest Friends of Companion Animals rescue project began when a family member of a homeowner with health issues, including onset of dementia, started hearing kittens crying in the LaSalle home. Thinking it was a litter of kittens they did some exploring to find out it wasn’t just one litter but seven litters ranging from 3 days old to 4 weeks old. In addition, they found the moms and other cats in need of medical attention, making a total of 35 felines that need help. The discovery shows why spay/neuter is so important to proper animal welfare.

Shelter Director Penny Bly explains, “We’ve done TNR on over 70 cats in the last few months alone around Monroe County. In this case, what began as another TNR project turned into something much larger, but we couldn’t turn our backs after what we found. It’s also a preventative tale. While it began with the best of intentions, it escalated out of control. That means if you have family or friends who are caring for animals it’s important to also keep tabs on the situation sooner rather than later for everyone’s sake. People are often surprised how six cats become 20 or more in just a matter of months.”

Bly explains TNR means trap, neuter, return. Feral cats are trapped in an area, neutered or spayed, and then released back from where they came to prevent breeding. Fixed cats are often returned since, as a rescue, FOCA can’t keep feral cats. They pose a risk to visitors and the FOCA caregivers at the all-volunteer operation. In this latest case, most of the cats in this project are friendly or small enough to be acclimated to humans.

“We get so many requests for help but we can’t do all of them no matter how much we wish we could. However, we have a program where people who want to tackle the problem in their neighborhood can get tips and training, but they must do the work since we can’t be everywhere at once,” says Bly.

In addition to monetary donations, the shelter can use supplies and fosters who have a spare private room where cats and kittens can stay until they come of age, which is usually around two months. So, the group is asking anyone within 40 minutes of FOCA in Monroe with a space room to reach out via their website and submit a volunteer application for consideration.”

Director Bly mentions that if readers would like to contribute financially to this project it would be extremely welcome. She states, “FOCA has set up fundraisers on our Facebook page and our Network for Good program that can be found on our website at Not only do donations help this case but other TNR cases that come to us in the future.”

Bly says she’s extremely proud of her volunteers who work in challenging conditions like this to secure area cats and kittens so they could have a better life. She’s also grateful for the help the shelter receives from all the donors to the cause and the volunteers who handle the day-to-day necessities of running a rescue.

“Sadly, this case is another example of how rapidly cats can reproduce and why feeders need to also spay/neuter newcomers to colonies. If you feed, don’t let ‘em breed is the motto. It’s why we’ve also been fundraising for our own local spay/neuter clinic. Until that time comes people must utilize other nearby spay clinics, even if that means fundraising in your communities. As many animal groups have said before, please spay and neuter and don’t give away ‘free kittens’ who only go on to reproduce – rescues are tired and strapped for space, funds and manpower.”


TV News Videos

FOCA took on another hoarding case in 2023 – this one in LaSalle – and several local TV stations took an interest and helped us spread the world. If you’d like to make a donation to this ongoing case click the button.