(Photo: Special to the Statesman Journal)
TURNER – A small, family-run cat rescue organization is selling poppy seeds to help defray the cost of feeding 41 feral cats.
Pamela Zivney started "Precious Paws Poppies" in 2012, though she had been feeding stray cats for more than a decade before that. She estimates that she has had more than 150 cats spayed or neutered during that time.
The flower seed sales don't bring in enough cash to cover the cost of vet care, Zivney said, but they do help pay for cat food. On her website, preciouspawspoppies.org, she calls it "seeding for feeding."
The cats live at four different locations around Turner. The situation got started when a neighbor moved out and left 22 cats behind. The Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon helped Zivney trap many of those cats and get them spayed or neutered, but there were always more cats, she said.
"They just kept showing up," Zivney said.
Through continued spay and neuter efforts the population has stabilized. In the past seven years, just one set of kittens have been born.
The idea for the poppy sales started with a single bloom, Zivney said. The pink flower survived in the cracked pavement of a gift shop parking lot.
"It reminded me of my dad," Zivney said, so she saved seed from the tenacious plant. Relatives added to the collection, donating the seeds of peony poppies, and she has collected other types of the hardy flowers as well. Photos on the website, which her grandchildren helped her set up, show some of the many different varieties of poppies. Each order comes with a planting guide, adorned with photos of cats and flowers.
In addition to online sales, Precious Paws Poppies has a Facebook page with a 'wish list' of things the cats need. One of her grandchildren, Leah Zivney, makes bows for domestic cats to wear. Those will be available on the website soon.
"All our sales, 100 percent, go to the cats," Zivney said.
For more information: Go to Preciouspawspoppies.org