Cats and contributions

There’s still time to give to your favorite local nonprofit

Shortly after my husband and I bought our first house a couple of years ago, we noticed an unexpected resident, a scrawny street cat we think is a Himalayan cross. We couldn’t get too close to him at first, but we could tell that he was, ahem, intact. That is, he wasn’t neutered.

He ended up being a pretty friendly little guy, so we don’t know if he was dumped on our street or if he was the pet of an irresponsible owner. In any case, we ended up feeding him, and naming him, too. We already had an indoor cat named Charlie, so we started calling our new friend Linus. It stuck.

We didn’t think too much about Linus’ manhood at the time, but that changed when some female feral cats wandered into our neighbors’ yard. Linus started spraying everything in sight. For our sake, and the sake of not having kittens all over the place, we decided to have him fixed. But we knew we’d also need to get all of the lady cats fixed, too, since there were other tomcats roaming the ’hood.

Luckily, we have the nicest neighbors in Chico. Between our family and theirs, we ended up trapping and fixing six cats last spring. One female feral—a little club-foot calico—evaded us and ended up having two kittens. She’s since been spayed. We have a little more work to do to keep those kittens from being able to have kittens. But all in all, it’s been a successful effort.

We could not have done it, however, without the help of Paws of Chico. This local nonprofit provides financial assistance to folks with cats and dogs who couldn’t otherwise afford spay-and-neuter services, and to other people who go out of their way to help control the populations of unwanted, feral or abandoned cats.

Paws is one of the many very worthy nonprofit organizations taking part in the North Valley Community Foundation’s seventh annual Annie B’s Community Drive. Donations taken in through this fundraising campaign—named after Annie Bidwell, wife of Chico founder John Bidwell—are buoyed by a grant fund that adds an additional amount of money to each contribution.

The campaign started on Aug. 1 and ends at the end of this month. All of the donations made through Annie B’s are tax-deductible. Go to to find links to organizations divided into 11 categories, such as animal welfare, education, environment, health care and the arts.

Under the heading of community services, for example, you’ll find familiar names such as KZFR Community Radio 90.1 FM, Chico’s amazing volunteer-run radio station. You’ll also find less familiar names, such as ChicoSol, the online bilingual news magazine run by journalist Leslie Layton, author of this week’s cover feature.

More than 250 nonprofits are participating in this year’s drive, so odds are there are multiple organizations that have touched your life or the lives of people close to you. In other words, you don’t have to be a cat-loving news junkie to donate. You’ve got options.