Foster hears regularly from cat owners and shelters, locally and nationwide, hoping to find a final sanctuary for FeLV cats, but refuses to exceed her thirty-cat capacity. "It's heartbreaking to turn them down, but too many cats would stress the ones here," she explains. Though she gets some gifts of funds, food, and litter, she underwrites most of the $15,000 annual budget herself. Vet care, especially after the virus becomes active, resulting in respiratory distress and a myriad of other life-sapping symptoms, takes the lion's share of the money. She says that without her volunteers and the services and support of Kaufeld and her colleague, Laurie Racey, and their staff, she wouldn't be able to keep the shelter in operation.
Sasha has lived there for more than three-and-a-half years and so far remains symptom free. Lockwood and Trumbull visit her regularly. Lockwood says he likes sitting with Sasha purring contentedly on his lap while other cats jockey to arrange themselves near him. "The cats here seem to know they're special," he says. "Where else can you find so many in one room and have them get along so well, especially considering that a good chunk of them were feral or semi-feral?"
Foster says vehemently that she wishes she could do more to educate the public about the prevention of FeLV and options that allow infected cats to live out their final days in peace and comfort. She admits that dealing with so much suffering and loss takes its toll. "I often wonder how much longer I should do this," she says. "The sadness factor--it's tough, it's very tough. But people tell me, 'If you don't do it, who will?'