WTOC Senior Active: Melonia Kinert - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

WTOC Senior Active: Melonia Kinert

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Melonie Kinert didn't start out with the intention to have 14 cats. It just sort of happened that way.

Kinert founded the Islands Feral Cat Project and in the last 12 years has rescued hundreds of cats while preventing thousands from entering the population.

"It's rewarding to know that when we spay and neuter a cat, it cuts down on the population,'' said Kinert. "Our mission is to try to control the population and make their lives more comfortable in doing so.''

Kinert's group identifies where feral colonies are, but also lends traps to people who find other cats and helps with the veterinary costs involved in preventing them from reproducing.

"That way, people instead of one female cat, if we can get that cat fixed for them, they're not having five more that they really can't afford to feed or take care of," she said.

She was recently honored as the Georgia winner of the Home Instead Senior Care Network Salute to Senior Award and last year received the United Way's Volunteer Recognition Award.

And along the way, her home has become a sanctuary for some of the less fortunate and harder to place cats she comes across.

"I have one named Buddy,'' said Kinert. "He's deaf and he's had multiple surgeries. He's not a cat that somebody would want being that he's skittish and afraid, and of course deaf and he has a thyroid condition.''

But he took Kinert's heart unconditionally, just like the many cats she has saved.

"It's a mission,'' she said. "It's a mission.''

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