By LOIS KINDLE
Angelite Bragg has rescued animals, particularly cats, her entire life. A year ago, she decided to make her efforts legal and founded the nonprofit cat rescue Kittie Corral.
Her 501(c)3 nonprofit organization is dedicated to saving homeless felines by providing them with a safe, nurturing environment, healthcare and eventual placement in loving, permanent homes.
“Anybody can request that I take in a cat, but right now the inn is full,” Bragg said.
She’s not kidding. Currently she’s caring for 19 cats and maturing kittens, including three with special needs. “They’ve all been spayed or neutered, vaccinated and tested and treated for feline leukemia, which I pay for about 90 percent of the time.”
Kittie Corral is so new, most of the public is unaware of it.
“Basically, people learn about me by word of mouth, vet referrals and small events I participate in, like the recent Pet Blessing at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Sun City Center,” Bragg said. “And I have a small display at Pet Supermarket in Ruskin every weekend.”
People usually learn about her through her website, www.kittiecorral.org or www.adoptapet.com, the Kittie Corral Facebook page and referrals from her veterinarian or folks who’ve already adopted a cat from Kittie Corral.
Bragg’s clowder of cats come from a variety of sources: Some are strays, some come from neighbors and friends, others through her vet.
Her husband Brian fully supports his wife’s efforts.
“He loves cats and ‘boohoos’ every time one is adopted,” Bragg said, smiling.
Not that cats are flying out the door, though.
“I have very strict adoption requirements,” Bragg said.
First, she does a phone interview to learn about the prospective owner and why the person wants a cat. If Bragg is satisfied it’s for the right reason, and she feels the person will be a responsible cat owner, she emails a form from the Hillsborough County Animal Abuse Registry, which must be notarized before Bragg will make an appointment to bring the desired cat or kitten to its potential home.
While Bragg visits, she does a thorough inspection to ensure cleanliness and safety of the home and determines if it’s a suitable environment for a cat. She brings an application, contract, information on the cat and all medical records.
Once the cat is placed, Bragg checks on it daily by phone for the first week to ensure it’s adapting well and is becoming acclimated to its new home and owner. If the pet isn’t working out, it must be returned to Kittie Corral.
Adoption fees are $60 for Hillsborough County residents and $80 for those who live in Pasco, Pinellas and Manatee counties.
“Anything above that is greatly appreciated,” Bragg said.
Kittie Corral will be among the nonprofit organizations participating in Give Day Tampa Bay on May 1.
“Our goal is to raise $10,000 to cover food, litter and medical expenses for one year,” Bragg said. “Anything more will be applied to a renovation project we hope to do on our cat room (the original enclosed, air-conditioned and tiled patio). We’d like to replace the 50-year-old windows and bring them up to code, replace eight old cat condos, which average $200 apiece, and replace the original flooring.”
Folks can also support Kittie Corral by participating in the Amazon Smiles program. Half of 1 percent of each sale will go to the charity, if it’s selected as the designated nonprofit group. Donations can also be made online at https://kittiecorral.org.
All cats available for adoption at Kittie Corral can be seen there.
For more information, call 813-634-5873.