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R.E.A.L. Cruzan Cats

Rescue. Educate. Adopt. Love.

Our mission is to improve the lives of cats on St. Croix.
R.E.A.L. Cruzan Cats is a 501c3 cat rescue dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats on the island of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Founded in 2016, over the past 6 years we have placed over 850 cats and kittens (and several dozen dogs as well) into loving homes; we've also TNVRed (trap, neuter, vaccinate, return) over 3500 feral cats. Responding to the desperate need for TNVR and low-cost spay/neuter on island, we started our own pop-up clinic, run by Dr. Michelle Mehalick. Since April 29, 2022 with a fantastic team of volunteers and dedicated staff, we have spayed and neutered over 550 dogs and cats.
In early 2021, we began supplying free cat food island-wide to members of the community who feed feral cats but cannot afford to purchase supplies. And in late 2021, a game-changer, we acquired a 5-acre property in Christiansted and began making plans to build a major cat sanctuary. This means a much needed safe haven for potentially hundreds of homeless cats on island.

To keep this work up, we need your help! Please DONATE, every little bit helps! If you are interested in becoming a corporate sponsor to help us succeed in our mission, please email rcc@realcruzancats.org


Tickets:

Join us for

Whiskers & Whiskey & Wine Fundraiser!

Tasting, Cocktail Party, Raffle & Silent Auction
to raise funds for the
St. Croix Cat Sanctuary & Spay/Neuter Clinic
Saturday, January 28, 2023 5-8pm
in the beautiful, historic Club Comanche Pavilion
1 Strand Street, Christiansted, St. Croix

Tickets: $75 includes
• curated international tasting flights - your choice of whiskey or wine
• fresh New England oysters • international cheeses and charcuterie • delicious vegan hors d'oeuvres • delicious hors d'oeuvres
• Support your Favorite St. Croix Cat Rescue!

Wine, Beer and Signature Cocktails
available for purchase

Sponsors

Event Sponsors
Club Comanche Hotel St. Croix
Reliable Rentals
Ital In Paradise Chef Chris Monbelly
Castle Hill Lobster Company
Italian VI Trading
Leatherback Brewing Company
Burlington Wine & Spirits

Silent Auction Sponsors
Dining
The Goat Soup & Whiskey
Duggan's Reef
Savant
Too Chez
Castaway's
Beachside Cafe
Jump Up Deli & Dem Tings
The Landing Beach Bar
Flyers Bar and Grill
Blue Water Terrace
Cheeseburgers in America's Paradise
Seaside Market & Deli

Hotels
Cottages By The Sea
Victoria House

Wellness, Beauty & Recreation
Nep2une Scuba Diving
Virgin Kayak Tours
The Reef Golf Course
Beeston Hill Health and Fitness
Soul 2 Soul Intuitive
Lynn's Nails
Ivy Moon Salon
Chandra's Pet Salon

Gifts & Shopping
Mutiny Island Vodka
Adorn
Sonya Ltd.
Gecko Boutique
B Erin Designs
IB Design
Cabin in The Sky Designs
Sampson House
Dooney & Bourke Dandelion Shopper courtesy Laura Dawson
Secrid Ochre RFID Blocking Card Holder Slimwallet courtesy Evan Ziporyn
Ziggy's Island Market

Art & Photography
The Frame Up
Emily St.Amant
Misty Winter Photography

Whiskey Tasting Lineup
INDIA
Rampur Single Malt Whisky
Double Cask • Non-Chill Filtered
Full-bodied aroma of tropical fruits, smooth malty tones, and oaky notes combining to produce an array of flavors. Matured in American bourbon barrels and European sherry casks.

TAIWAN
Kavallan Distillery King Car Whisky
A vatted single malt of sherry barrels and other specially selected barrels named for the King Car conglomerate. The palate has a hint of sweet mango juice with that spicy complexity and gentle warmth on a medium, oily and citrus finish. Awarded Gold Medal at SFWSC 2017.

JAPAN
The Fukano Whisky 10 YEAR
An award-winning rice-based whisky from the island of Kyushu, Japan. Aged for 10 years in ex-brandy puncheons, it's a stellar example of an intriguing and flavorful rice-based whisky.

CANADA
Found North Batch 005
Cask Strength Whisky
73% 21 Year and 27% 8 Year Old Whiskies
Batch: 005 • Bottle: 1983
A powerhouse Canadian wheater blended from two whiskies and aged predominantly in new American oak. Matured in new American oak and ex-bourbon barrels. Distilled and aged in Canada

USA
Rare Character Presents Single Barrel Series Selected by Burlington Wine & Spirits

Cask Strength Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Barrel No. RIO-227. Proof 115.58 Age 6 yrs.7 mos.

USA
Copper & Cask Straight Rye Whiskey

Single Barrel Selection
4 Years Old
Non-Chill Filtered

IRELAND
Redbreast 21 Year Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey

Triple Distilled & Matured in the Finest Oak Casks
The aging process introduces new levels of depth, flavor, and taste creating a complex and rewarding whiskey. Abundantly aromatic. Taste of vanilla, toasted oak, and fruit notes. Long oak & barley finish. Awarded Double Gold at the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

IRELAND
Bushmills 16 Year Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Rare • Matured in Three Woods

Wine Enthusiast-"Wonderfully succulent bouquet with aeration deeper scents of red fruit, soft malt, paraffin, ripe apple and citrus rind appear. Mouth presence is fully integrated and harmonious; midpalate shows red fruit, apple and butterscotch tastes. Finishes oaky, mild and luscious."

SCOTLAND
Kilchoman Islay’s Farm Distillery Islay Madeira Cask Matured Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Non-Chill Filtered & Natural Color
The Madeira Cask Matured was distilled in May 2016 and matured for 5 years and 3 months in 46 fresh Madeira hogsheads, before being bottled at 50% abv in August 2021 and released in March 2022.

SCOTLAND
The Balvanie 14 Year Caribbean Cask Single Malt Whisky

Extra Matured in Rum Casks
The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14 year old single malt whisky has been matured in traditional oak whisky casks for 14 years, and then ‘finished’ in casks that previously held Caribbean rum. The result is an exceptional single malt whisky with the traditional smooth, honeyed character of The Balvenie married with notes of toffee and a hint of fruit, with a warm, lingering finish.
Nose: Rich, sweet and creamy toffee on the nose combines with fresh fruit notes
Taste: Rounded with vanilla and sweet oak notes, with a fruity character that develops with time
Finish: Soft and lingering


Wine Tasting Lineup
ILHA Blanc de Noir, Diana Silva 2018
Madeira: A white wine made from the red Tinta Negra Mole grape on the island of Madeira. This is not a fortified wine, but a beautiful, crystalline, mineral-driven white wine that is excellent for the table. Best enjoyed with just a slight chill and served with fresh oysters

Paleokerisio, Domaine Glinavos 2020
Greece: Meaning "old fashioned" (paleokerisio), this sparkling revives the well-known traditional semi-sparkling wine of the region. Local Debina, Vlahiko, and Bekari grapes go through skin contact before fermentation, resulting a light amber orange color. Off-dry charming sparkling with flavors of baked pear/apple, orange peels, and mountain spices.

Château Musar, Hochar Pere et Fils 2019
Lebanon: A silky Bordelais-like red wine from legendary Lebanese produce Ch. Musar. Made from 30 year old vines, this is often known as the "second wine" from Ch. Musar. Dark red and black fruits feel like velvet on the palate. There is a fine minerality and elegance with the lingering finish.

Buzet Jarnicoton, Domaine du Pech 2018
Southwest France: A dark and richly colored blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, with black fruits and licorice aromas. Full-bodied, dry, and structured, this blend spends 12 months in cuve, and no SO2 is added. Pair with short ribs braised in shoyu.

Monte Xanic, Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
Mexico: A medium-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon showing red fruits, spice and mocha finish. Aged in new French oak barrel for one year. Grapes are grown in the Guade

Condrieu, Roc d'Ucarisse, Domaine Clos de la Bonnette 2019
France: The Viognier vines from this celebrated appellation are grown on stone-terraced slopes that had been left to nature. The Guiller-Montabonnet family rescued this overgrown vineyard and produce this dry full-bodied white from late harvest grapes. It is fermented and aged with native yeast, with full malolactic fermentation, and aged in used barriques.




Programs

Rescue. Educate. Adopt. Love.

Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Release

Our primary objective is to rescue cats in need. St. Croix is a tropical island, so the breeding season never ends. Working with other organizations and TVNR (Trap Vaccinate Neuter Return) programs, we aim to control the overpopulation on the island, while taking in adoptable cats and kittens and working with no-kill shelters and rescue groups on the mainland to find loving forever homes. In 2022, we started our own pop-up spay/neuter clinic and have a truly fantastic team of vets, vet techs, and volunteers to trap, spay/neuter, treat for injuries and illnesses, and help with recovery both at our clinic and in foster homes before and after surgery. We are currently building a MOBILE SPAY/NEUTER CLINIC, and Dr. Mehalick will bring her services around the island where they are needed.

Education

The goal is to teach as many people as we can to value and respect the lives of all animals. Our focus is to train individuals or groups of people how to trap cats, proper feral cat colony management, bottle feeding and raising kittens who have lost their mothers, animal introductions so that our fosters and adoptions are successful, and how to foster cats and kittens. LOVE... the most important aspect of the work we do! Some of the animals we rescue have been traumatized by abuse or neglect. We tenderly heal them both physically and emotionally so they can thrive and go on to live a long, happy life! We aim to find enthusiastic volunteers to aid in our mission of love.

Adoption

Ultimately we want all domestic cats in great forever homes! We find wonderful families for the felines we rescue, both on the island of St. Croix and on the US mainland. Our screening process assures that every animal is placed in a compassionate home. We support our adopters every step of the way, giving advice to make the transition for the felines and their new families a smooth one.

Food for Ferals

We know fellow animal lovers want to help all the homeless cats they meet! But it's not always easy to afford extra cat food. In honor of Maron Thorne, a friend to all felines who passed away in 2021, we started our Food for Ferals program, to supply cat food around the island to people who need extra help. This not only helps the people who help our island's cats, but also keeps cats from needing to be relocated, which is not always possible.

Total Cats & Kittens Adopted

Partners

St. Croix Cat Sanctuary & Spay/Neuter Clinic

We recently acquired a 5-acre property in Christiansted and began making plans to build a major cat sanctuary. This means a much needed safe haven for potentially hundreds of homeless cats on island. The goal of Phase 1 is simply creating a clean and safe habitat for approximately 100 cats. This means landscaping, constructing fences, building feeding stations and shelters, and creating the medical infrastructure to keep the cats healthy. These cats are in the nearby Altoona Lagoon and need to be moved as soon as possible to enable and protect the re-introduction of the critically endangered St. Croix Ground Lizard - by moving large colonies of cats into this controlled environment, we will be able to both keep them healthy and potentially find them homes while protecting wildlife on the island.

We are also immediately beginning building a SPAY/NEUTER UNIT with Dr. Michelle Mehalick, to help all of the island's animal rescues with their Trap-Neuter-Release and provide low-cost spay neuter around the island to get the overpopulation of dogs and cats under control.

Landscaping will be done mindfully in consultation with the USVI Department of Planning & Natural Resources division of Fish and Wildlife and St. George Village Botanical Garden. By carefully planning the enclosure, we will be able to protect native birds from the cats. Fencing the upper portion of the property will require approximately 1730 linear feet of 10-foot high coated welded steel fencing on bent steel posts (to keep cats in) and metal flashing around the base (to keep endangered reptiles out.) Feeding Stations and Shelters for feral cats will ensure proper nourishment and give cats shelter from the sun and rain. The first 100 cats will come from nearby overcrowded colonies: they'll be moved to the Sanctuary after being combo tested for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia (FeLV), microchipped, and spayed/neuteredas needed. This will give us the basis of an ongoing database to keep track of all of the cats and keep them up to date with flea preventatives and vaccines.

Additionally, we will build safe enclosures for FeLV+ cats so they can live happy lives and be cared for, without any risk to the rest of the cats. Intake areas will be constructed to screen new animals and triage senior and at-risk kitties who need extra medical attention. We are partnering with the veterinary teams at St. Croix Animal Welfare Center, Progressive Veterinary Hospital and Sugar Mill Veterinary Center.

This is an ambitious undertaking, one that will fundamentally change the feline situation on the island. But it's just the beginning of what we'd like to do. Looking forward to Phases 2 & 3, we hope to build a Residence for a caretaker and volunteers and a Visitor Center. The property as a whole will be accessible and multi-use: the upper Sanctuary itself will welcome visitors and potential adopters, while the lower Seaside and Lagoon will be open to the public, to be used for fishing, hiking and enjoying nature, with facilities for a small fish stand where local fisherman can sell their daily catch, and boardwalks through the mangroves for the public to enjoy nature walks around the sanctuary. The Seaside and Lagoon are currently used daily by locals, and we will not restrict access to the public in the lower portion of the property, but rather make that portion of the property more accessible. Cat5 Builders, LLC will be helping us with planning and building, donating labor and materials at cost to help us with the actual physical construction.

We estimate the cost of Phase 1 - obtaining permits, clearing the land, cat fencing, bringing water and electricity into the property, and building feeding structures and shelter for the cats throughout the property - to be approximately $115,000. In our first year of operation of the sanctuary, we estimate the direct cost of care for the cats to be approximately $30,000 for food, water filtration, combo testing, vaccination, preventatives, spay/neuter when necessary and microchipping. On top of that we estimate about $15,000 in miscellaneous veterinary costs and medications. In total our goal is to raise $160,000 to establish the sanctuary and support these cats through the first year of operation.

Aside from raising funds, we plan to start a "Voluntourism" program to bring volunteers - everyone from cat lovers, carpenters, welders, landscapers, veterinary students and veterinarians - to St. Croix to help build and operate the Sanctuary. To make this program successful, REAL Cruzan Cats will solicit St. Croix homeowners to donate a 7-day, 6-night stay at their home, condo or villa, as a charitable donation that will directly support the programs of the Sanctuary. The Volunteers will be responsible for getting to St. Croix, but in addition to housing, REAL Cruzan Cats will also engage other local companies such as rental car agencies, restaurants, sightseeing and sporting activities, etc. to offer special deals and discounts to volunteers. These donations will be used to offset costs and allow REAL Cruzan Cats to generate more proceeds that will be used to cover operational costs.




What People Say?

Because they have an amazing foster care program, kittens and cats come to you with confidence. They integrate so easily. Often they get along with other animals because they are fostered in diverse homes. I love this org.

— Suzanne, adopted Sesame & Fireball

We adopted a healthy, smart, well-adjusted kitten from REAL Cruzan Cats. The process was easy and they were very professional. He’s a year and a half old now and is a joy.

— Dawn, adopted Marmalade

Real Cruzan Cats is totally awesome! I cant thank them enough for saving Mingo & bringing us together. They did an amazing job fostering her & teaching her to be a kitten & showing her how to trust & love people, and made the adoption process easy & quickly answered my questions. Thanks so much!

— Carol, adopted Mingo

Team

Christine Southworth

Co-founder & President

Christine is an animal lover and multimedia artist. She enjoys hiking with her dog Margot, macro photoraphy, and composing music.

Christine Southworth
President & Co-Founder
Lana Homnick-Lee

Vice President

Lana loves dogs and cats, and is the USVI Realtor of the Year with USVI Sotheby's.

Lana Homnick-Lee
Vice President
Marcia Brisbois

Treasurer

Marcia is a retired bookkeeper and lives in North Carolina. She loves to paint in her spare time!

Marcia Brisbois
Treasurer
Sheila Kelly
Sheila Kelly
Director
Evan Ziporyn
Director
Lea Knapik
Director
Jill Cook
Co-Founder
Nancy Dash
Foster / Bottle Baby Foster / Trapper
Suzanne Vaughan
Foster / Adoption Counselor
Annette Famolare
Foster / Adoption Counselor
Margi Erway

Foster / Social Media Designer

Margi Erway

Margi Erway
Foster / Social Media Designer
Renee Petrillo
Foster / Trapper
Lee
Foster / Volunteer
Michelle Mehalick

Veterinarian

Dr. Michelle Mehalick is our superstar vet who probably holds a national (world?) record for fastest spay/neuter surgeries, while making tiny incisions that heal flawlessly! She joined our team in 2022, though she has been our vet since 2015. She also does relief work around the US, using her superpower to spay and neuter as many cats as she gets her hands on!

Dr. Michelle Mehalick
Resident Veterinarian
Laura Bailey

Veterinarian

Dr. Laura Bailey

Dr. Laura Bailey
Veterinarian
Stacia Jung

Veterinarian

Dr. Stacia Jung

Dr. Stacia Jung
Veterinarian, Sugar Mill Veterinary Center
Ariel Baumann

Veterinarian

Dr. Ariel Baumann

Dr. Ariel Baumann
Veterinarian, Progressive Veterinary Hospital
Kasey Canton

Veterinarian

Dr. Kasey Canton

Dr. Kasey Canton
Veterinarian, Progressive Veterinary Hospital
Kevin Fallon

Veterinarian

Dr. Kevin Fallon

Dr. Kevin Fallon
Veterinarian
Heather Drake

Vet Tech

Heather Drake

Heather Drake
Vet Tech
Tara Kerby

Vet Tech

Tara Kerby

Kerby
Vet Tech
Sue Brown

Vet Tech

Sue Brown

Sue Brown
Vet Tech
Jody Gay

Vet Tech

Jody Gay

Jody Gay
Vet Tech
Sue Brown

Veterinary Assistant

Michelle Maso

Michelle Maso
Veterinary Assistant
Rasa Glengary

Veterinary Assistant

Rasa Glengary

Rasa Grengary
Veterinary Assistant
Dori Puracchio

Veterinary Assistant

Dori Puracchio

Dori Puracchio
Veterinary Assistant
Pauline Benninga & Family
Fosters / Volunteers
Jaime Talkowski & Family
Fosters
Raeme Merlos
Foster / Volunteer
Diana LeBlanc
Catnip Lady
Chris Monbelly
Vegan Life Coach / Volunteer
Krista Daley
Foster / Volunteer
Asha Colianni

Asha Colianni

Asha Colianni
Volunteer & Foster
Erin Procter

Erin Procter

Erin Procter
Volunteer / Trapper
Pam Moody

Pam Moody

Pam Moody
Volunteer / Trapper
Summer Parker
Foster / Volunteer
Betty Gau
Foster / Volunteer
Patricia De Andrés Flores
Foster / Volunteer
Jo Hannah Katz
Foster / Volunteer
Tory Pfenninger & Brian Sylvia
Fosters / Volunteers
Jess Morin
Foster / Volunteer
Andrew & Maryna Eppinger
Fosters / Fitness Advisors

Contact

Call Us
+1 (234) REAL-CAT
Please leave a message and one of our volunteers will get back to you as soon as possible!
Address
Email
rcc@realcruzancats.org


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Interested in Volunteering?

We ALWAYS need volunteers! If you are interested in fostering, trapping, transporting (we need drivers on St. Croix and in New England as well as TRAVELERS from St. Croix to Boston), building or gardening our new sanctuary, or helping with fundraising or PR, please get in touch! We a-purr-ciate your support!