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Help 'Street Animal Rescue Alliance' to Save Strays

An inviting smile, bold tattoos and an adorable ball of fluff and energy sitting on her lap. These are the details which caught my eye in Kat Monterosso’s profile picture. My contemplative nature was already busy entertaining various stories to match Kat’s when I got her e-mail. Truthfully, none of my initial thoughts were enough to make Kat justice. With the risk of sounding cliche, her story is far more profound than any other. Kat is an independent street animal rescuer who contacted us via Instagram in hopes of promoting her association, SARA (Street Animal Rescue Alliance).

Like Cat and Dog

Kat is based in the United States, but she is working primarily in Guatemala and Mexico. Her association works mostly with stray dogs, but she is also helping cats. Some people are cat people, and others prefer dogs, but Kat cannot differentiate. She feels that all strays deserve equal love and protection. In fact, one of her pets happens to be a street cat from Bolivia which she adopted four years ago. She was so determined to adopt this cat that she paid out of her own pocket to have the cat transported to the United States.

Beyond Frontiers

Irony or not, Kat started her association by providing export/transport support to people adopting street animals and bringing them back to their home country. In time, she managed to build an incredible network work which helped her expand the services she offers. Now, SARA offers fundraising and logistical support to people in-country in order to get animals off the street. She helps in all stages of adoption: from giving the strays the medical care they need to the moment they move into their adoptive homes. Even if she does everything remotely, she found trustworthy professionals and animal rescue enthusiasts who do the vital in-person work.

On ‘Pretty’ Instagramable Pets

Since Kat works online, a paramount task of hers is to check Instagram pages and Facebook groups dedicated to adoption or raising funds. It was during one of her usual days of endless scrolling when she noticed Nike:

‘I saw a post about Nike on a local Facebook group and she instantly stole my heart. All her siblings had already been adopted and no one had shown any interest in her. She was born with a deformed back leg, which never stopped her from getting around, but was preventing her from finding an adoptive home. The reason for this is twofold–people were unable to take on the additional veterinary expenses associated with surgery, and there is a cultural component where animals are seen as a status symbol. There is a preference for animals who reflect higher status. You know, purebred, and certainly not deformed.’

She waited for a week hoping that a warm-hearted soul will adopt Nike, but nothing happened. The picture of Nike was staring back at her asking for help. Without any hesitation, she pressed sent to the draft message inquiring about Nike.

‘The woman who had rescued her and her siblings off the street could not keep her much longer. I knew I had to step in. I reached out to a network of people in-country asking if anyone would be willing to foster her and take her to her necessary medical appointments. I always offer to pay for all expenses and compensate fairly. This is how I connected with the amazing cat rescuer, Liz Stapf.’


Liz Stapf and Kat Bond to Save Cats

Liz has about 10 cats of her own and has a small rescue operation called Guatitos Guatemala. She has worked with paralysed and tripod cats and is familiar with their special needs. When Kat contacted Liz, her funds were already limited. However, Kat insisted on financially sponsoring Nike, so Liz agreed to take her on.

Liz acted quickly to get Nike picked up. She immediately scheduled Nike for her initial vet consultation. During this evaluation, the team of vets working on her case agreed that amputation was the best course of treatment for Nike as her limb might cause more complications down the road than improve her quality of life.

Nike Meets an Unexpected Buddy

Baby Raptor
Baby Raptor

While in foster care, Nike met Raptor. Liz had saved Raptor when he was just one day old. She found Raptor in a trash can with the umbilical cord still attached. Unwilling to give up on him, Liz worked tirelessly around the clock. Nike and Raptor are approximately the same age. In no time, they became best friends. They do everything together–play, sleep, explore, and eat.

‘Liz and I quickly decided they would have to be adopted together. They had both been through enough and deserved the stability of their friendship for life.’

Recovery and Adoption

With Nike safely in foster care and a medical plan in place, Kat could focus on fundraising to sustain her recovery journey. In the meantime, Liz started putting out feelers for an adoptive home.

‘Thankfully she has a large network of adoring cat lovers, and someone fell in love with Nike and Raptor just as we had.’

Nike needs to be 4 lbs to have her surgery and to be spayed. Once she is healed from her surgery, she and Raptor will go to their new home together. Kat and Liz are both making sure that Nike and Raptor will be fully vaccinated and sterilised before they will be welcomed by their new family.

Nike Goes from Rags to Riches

When asked about fundraising, Kat told us that Instagram was the success formula for her. However, she thanks Nike for part of the work:

‘I started sharing videos of Nike, and one quickly went viral, at least by my standards! Now, Nike has 60k likes and growing, with hundreds of kind and supportive comments. It has been so heartwarming to see so many people react to her the way that Liz and I did–with adoration and love. Our fundraising goal was $500, which factored in the highest end of the surgery estimate, follow-up appointments, medication, spay, vaccines, and her costs while in foster care (food, transport, and other vet appointments). We have met and exceeded our goal and will be able to pay for Raptor's neutering and vaccines as well.’

Internet, A Strange Wheel of Fortune

While Nike and Raptor were saved by the internet, Kat cannot be oblivious towards the ugly truth:

‘Nike and Raptor are easy to fall in love with and have captured the hearts of so many on Instagram. Yet, for every viral kitten video, there are thousands of equally adorable and incredible cats whose goals are not met!’

For instance, Kat has just taken the responsibility for a mama dog and is helping support the sanctuary that will be taking on her puppies. Unfortunately, they are struggling to find people interested to donate.

‘For the first time. I am unsure if we can meet this goal. The only alternative is to leave them on the street, which is absolutely not an option. Working in developing countries, money goes so far. If Nike needed her surgery in the US, it would cost thousands. It only costs $50 USD to get one puppy spayed and up to date on vaccines. One dollar or Euro can have a major impact on the lives of these animals. We are their last and only hope.‘

Lend a Paw to Kat

Sharing over the internet Nike’s and Raptor’s heartwarming story is the first step. Associations like SARA need constant funds to save strays from dying in dreadful conditions on the street. We need to act now if we want to make a change. To support Kat’s efforts you can subscribe to her Patreon or donate to the active fundraiser for the dog mama and her puppies. For inquiries, you can directly contact Liz at @streetanimalrescuealliance on Instagram.

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