When some people reach their 60s, they start to think about retiring and taking time to travel, relax, or develop a new hobby. Husband and wife Henry and Louise Colucci took a different approach—they created an organization to help community cats in the Las Vegas area.
Now in their early 80s, they’re not slowing down. Over the past two decades, they’ve adjusted the mission of their two-person, all volunteer organization, Colucci’s Animal Trappers and Savers (CATS), Inc., to better accommodate their abilities and the needs of the community. CATS, Inc. continues to make a difference in the lives of cats and people. Recently, it became a member of the Alley Cat Allies Feral Friends Network.
The Coluccis, who have always been animal lovers, founded CATS, Inc. in December 1998 to care for and carry out TNR for community cats, and dogs, in their neighborhood.
“We went to work spaying and neutering and feeding as many cats and dogs as we could,” says Henry Colucci.
About 10 years after they started CATS, Inc., the U.S. economic recession hit. Many people couldn’t afford to care for their animals any longer. That’s when CATS, Inc. developed a new mission: Start an animal food pantry for underserved people in their community.
Since then, CATS, Inc. has solicited and collected donations of animal food at various events in the Las Vegas area. They distribute the food to underserved pet owners, including homeless individuals, veterans, seniors on fixed incomes, animal rescues, animal shelters, and community cat caregivers. Their work helps people and animals stay together, preventing animals from ending up in shelters because their owners can’t care for them.
Thanks to the Coluccis, Nevadans also have the option to purchase a license plate that helps fund county-based spay and neuter programs. For two years, they traveled to different cities to educate communities and local officials about the importance of spaying and neutering and get the necessary 250 people to apply for the license plate to make it become a reality. They succeeded in 2015.
CATS, Inc. has received various awards over the years, most recently the Visionary Organization Award in July 2018 from the local Large Vision Business Network Mixer in Las Vegas, which was recognized by its U.S. senator.
As they have for the past 20 years, the Coluccis continue to advocate for TNR and educate the public about the importance of spaying and neutering. They’re always looking for volunteers to help them in their work. And they’re not slowing down any time soon.