Strand Notebook | Coastal Animal Rescue strives to find homes for stray cats

Donna’s Cat Sanctuary is operating now under Coastal Animal Rescue with volunteers from several different areas. Volunteer Barbara Cook of Murrells Inlet says they already have a board of directors, are in the process of getting nonprofit status and hope to establish a permanent home for stray cats.

That group of volunteers is currently feeding several colonies of cats. They are actively involved in spay, neuter and release, trapping cats, getting them spayed or neutered, getting their rabies shots and releasing them to live out their lives without reproducing or passing rabies to other animals. This practice has proven to reduce the free-roaming cat population, Cook said.

The group, women and men, also foster some cats. Among the cats in the home Barbara shares with her husband, Stan, are two that are completely blind, one that can see out of only one eye, and one that has only three legs.

The group is named in memory of Barbara Cook’s sister, Donna Movinsky. Barbara’s mother and Donna, who was born with Down syndrome, lived with Barbara and her husband, Stan, for many years before their mother died and Donna remained with them.

Donna loved cats, and had one that she called “Nikki my cat.”

Last year, on Aug. 5, Cook said she went to Donna’s room to check on her. Five cats were snuggled up to her and she seemed to be fast asleep, but she wasn’t just asleep. She had died quietly and peacefully at 58 years old. “God just took her in her sleep,” Cook said. “I think the cats knew that she was passing, Needless to say, I was totally devastated.”

When Cook and the other volunteers talked about a name for the cat sanctuary, one of them suggested naming it Donna’s, and so it became Donna’s Cat Sanctuary. “It’s just wonderful. She’ll always have a living legacy,” Cook said.

The group’s ultimate goal is to purchase some property in order to establish a cat sanctuary where “free roaming cats can live out their lives in safety without worrying about food, shelter and love.”

They hope to place a mobile home on the land where a caretaker can live and take care of the fenced-in cats. They realize they have a long way to go, but they are on their way, currently planning two fundraisers.

Rita Gray and Betty Bromley are hosting both events at the Cooper House at 6011 Dick Pond Road, Myrtle Beach, near the Socastee swing bridge. The first event is on Feb. 28 from 2-5 p.m. There will be a complete meal of roasted pork and much more, entertainment by Elvis ‘n Friends, starring Lucky Jackson and Rooster Jazz, Chinese and silent auctions and 50-50. Tickets are $35.

The second event will be on March 27 from 2-5 p.m. with a meal of corned beef and cabbage, boiled potatoes, salad and other food. Entertainment will include Jake and Elwood Blues and a guest appearance by a “smooth crooner.”

For more information or tickets for the Sunday events, call Cook at 843-685-1023, Carroll Price at 843-294-2139 or Sharon Dumay at 843-997-8701. Donations may be made to Donna’s Cat Sanctuary account at Tidelands Bank.

Peggy Mishoe,, 365-3885.

Bird Notes

Columnist Gary Phillips has the week off.