By Cathy Davila
One Arizona artist is a passionate cat person. Ann Marie Hoff had been fostering kittens for PACC (Pima Animal Care Center) for five years, when she decided she “wanted a way to educate people on the reality of kittens in shelters, while remembering these souls for the joy and love they bring to the planet.” Ann decided to create a Day of the Dead style portrait of every foster kitten that has been in her care to celebrate their lives in that moment, whatever their future would hold.
“It is estimated that only one kitten in 12 that goes into a shelter makes it into a forever home! I believe we can change that number, because foster homes make a difference in these kittens’ lives.”
The idea of All Souls Day Kittens developed because many kittens never get a name or feel the love of a human. Facts are hard to find, since national statistics are not required by the government on shelter cat euthanasia rates. “I wanted to remember all of my foster kittens, the ones who did not make it, and the ones who went out into the world to live happily in new homes. I felt the best way to do this was to paint each foster that I have cared for. They will all be remembered, not forgotten, these brave souls that came to have an incredible life with their new families. This is my specific project to raise awareness of kittens’ lives,” Hoff explained.
With foster kittens, being in a house with humans is so different from being in a cage. In some shelters, there is nowhere in the shelter that cats don’t hear the dogs barking. This is stressful to the kittens, on top of the fact that they have been separated from their mothers. Kittens have passive immunity, which means that any ability they have to ward off disease comes from their mother, who may or may not have had the time to pass this on by nursing her kittens. The sooner the kittens are removed from their cages and taken into a foster home, the less exposure to illness they have.
People who help kittens sometimes feel like it is a never-ending process; you save one only to have five there the next day. Kitten season in Arizona is long. Because of the warm weather, kittens are born ten months a year instead of during just two seasons. Many people find kittens and, thinking they are being good Samaritans, bring the kittens into the shelter. Often this is separating them from their mother who was off hunting to support her brood. With very few exceptions, the kittens are better off with their mother than in a shelter.
‘‘For me, just saving kittens wasn’t enough.’’
Ann’s All Souls Day Kittens paintings and art launched in 2017. 15% of the profits from these sales goes directly to supporting kitten rescues. There are prints, originals and postcards (coming) on the website:
Then the paintings are also featured on products at the following:
https://society6.com/artist-studio ( look up Ann Hoff)