Volunteer Spotlight – June 2021 Kassandra (Miller) Prasanna

Kassandra Prasanna recently adopted her husband’s name as her own. Prasanna means “Sunshine” and “Happiness” in Hindi, and we think that suits Kassandra well. Her deep compassion is obvious, and her enthusiasm and bright spirit are contagious. She has been a dedicated and greatly appreciated member of FAN since joining our team in October 2020.

Kassandra noticed an unkempt colony of feral and stray cats living in her neighborhood near Old Dominion University in Norfolk, and decided she had to do something to help them. The cats were scavenging through garbage bins for food and many of the females were pregnant or in heat, causing unwanted, late night yowling. She noticed a nextdoor.com post by FAN Community Outreach Director Cleriece Whitehill and reached out to us for help. Cleriece set her up to trap, and Kassandra dove into the work of giving these cats a better life. So far she has trapped, neutered and returned (TNR’d) eleven feral cats who no longer howl, fight and dumpster dive for scraps, financing most of the work herself.

One of the feral cats Kassandra trapped. Trap-neuter-return (TNR) saves thousands of cats from euthanasia.

Kassandra has also rescued several friendly cats who were doing their best to survive outside. These cats, likely abandoned, would show up on her porch searching for food and affection, and they came to the right place! One such friendly cat was a beautiful, affectionate, gray boy she called Maximillian, who had been coming around for months. Not wanting to “rescue” someone’s pet, Kassandra had the clever idea of attaching a paper collar with a note to Max’s neck in hopes that someone in the neighborhood would see the note and respond with information on the cat. A neighbor did call and confirmed that he was a stray. Following best practice protocols is important in cat rescue, so Max was surrendered to the Norfolk Animal Care Center (NACC) for a ten day stray hold before FAN would fully vet and find him a new home. No one came to claim this precious kitty, so he was ours to adopt out. Sweet, loving Max was only at his temporary home at Catnip Cat Cafe for 48 hours before his new parents picked him to come home with them. Now he lives the pampered life he deserves with his loving, forever family and a sister kitty too.

Kassandra says the story of Maximillian with it’s happy ending is her favorite part of cat rescue. It seems the abandoned “friendlies” of her neighborhood know this and come to her for help. Several cats have also been surrendered to her when the owners no longer wanted them or couldn’t keep them for various reasons. Even though it breaks her heart that owners give up their pets, she stresses that she doesn’t ask many questions and receives the cats gladly. “It’s so much better than dumping them on the street!!!” And that happens far too often.

In a terrible twist of fate, Kassandra’s own former pets were actually abandoned to live outside after being indoor cats for the first twelve years of their lives! On a random call with her ex in South Carolina, Kassandra discovered that he had given their two cats, Olive and Mia, to another family who had moved to another state and left the kitties outside at the house with some food. Furious and desperate to save her own babies, Kassandra and her husband left on their rescue mission the next morning. And rescue them she did! Thankfully, a kind neighbor had been looking after the cats, but couldn’t take them in. The couple scooped up Olive and Mia and brought them home. And so, another happy ending ensued for abandoned kitties who were especially close to Kassandra’s heart.

Kassandra has also helped FAN with lots of transporting, and she is currently fostering a litter of kittens born to one of the feral females from a nearby colony, who was spayed and returned after the kittens were weaned. She watches over and feeds her colony and says there are about 5 more feral cats to TNR. We have no doubt she’ll get them!

FAN is so grateful to Kassandra and her supportive husband, Prasanna, for their giant hearts and dedicated work to give community cats a better life.

If you’d like to support FAN’s mission to care for community cats like Kassandra’s colony, you can donate to FAN using PayPal or email FAN at feralaffairsnetwork@gmail.com and inquire how you can help! The rewards are immeasurable!