Good Cat Network Donor Spotlight – Gary & Sara
Good Cat Network Gary & Sara

Gary and Sara are longtime supporters of many animal welfare groups on Maui and beyond. Not only have they donated financially to Good Cat Network, but Gary has donated quite a bit of his time by means of fostering, transport and special rescue missions. They truly make a great pair: Sara keeps her finger on the pulse of the cat community through her connections and participation in Facebook groups like Maui Cat Coalition, while Gary has exactly zero social media accounts! Through Sara, Gary knows who to help and when, and then spends his leisure time socializing and caring for foster cats. Their partnership and commitment to Good Cat Network and the entire cat community is why these two are the focus of our second Good Cat Network Donor Spotlight.

Amber Co-Founder of Good Cat Network, and Sara became friends before Good Cat Network existed. Surprisingly, it wasn’t their love of cats that introduced them, but instead, their love of singing.

Amber recollects their first meeting:

“Sara and I sang together in a local community choir called Maui Choral Arts. I remember seeing Sara and being very impressed that she was singing in the tenor section!

I lost my beloved (black) cat Neo suddenly in 2019, and our choir director told everyone what happened, since I was missing from rehearsal. Sara approached me the following week and told me how sorry she was, and that she was also a cat lover, with 12 felines of her own at home! I was amazed that she had so many. At that time I was just at the beginning of my fostering and TNR adventures on Maui. Little did I know, in a few short years I would have around the same number of cats, and would be starting a non profit to help as many Maui cats as possible!”

Through some perusing on Facebook one day in February 2022, Sara noticed that a little black kitten named Ele Ele needed a foster. Since Ele Ele was a Good Cat Network cat, this little kitten started Gary’s journey on becoming one of our most dedicated fosters! Since Ele Ele, Gary has fostered another twenty-eight cats for Good Cat Network, all of which have been flown through our Operation Aloha Cat program to our partners in Seattle and adopted.

Sara and Gary lost three senior cats in a very short period of time, and reached out to Jennie Ben-Dayan for help in a cat-acquisition.

Jennie, founder of Honi Honi Cats Maui, Good Cat Network’s non-profit foster partner, reflects on this experience:

“Just about a year ago, I met Sara when I posted a picture of a kitten I had up for adoption in my program. Sara saw the picture, felt an instant connection and HAD to meet him!

Being skeptical me, I decided she needed to meet a few kitties to be sure he was REALLY the right fit. I went to her home with five adoptable kittens so that she could see in her own space who she bonded with the most. By the end of our meeting, Sara had fallen in love with not one but THREE of the kittens and needed some time to think it over.

A day later, I got a call from Sara saying, “I will take them!” “Them?” I asked — “YES, ALL THREE OF THEM!” All I could think of was “THESE KITTIES JUST WON THE LOTTO!” Sara is an amazing cat mom with her older cats some in their 20s laying in the sun looking out over her incredible view just living the best lives. I saw all of this and thought “If I was a cat, THIS is where I would want to be!”

Sara sends me pictures of Sasha, Sadie and Sammy often and I LOVE the updates. They truly are blessed Maui cats!”

Our Donor Spotlight pair has been rescuing cats for decades, but Gary’s cat Katie has an extra special story. A black kitten (are you noticing a theme here?) with strong lungs and a will to live, Katie is one lucky cat, and Gary is one lucky guy to have her.

Gary and Sara own a landscape maintenance company and Gary spends his days out on various jobs, managing his teams or the equipment. While Gary was in the baseyard one morning, he heard what sounded like a baby mynah near the piles of cement and gravel. Investigating this weird sound, he realized it wasn’t a mynah at all, but a very tiny black kitten with folded ears and eyes still shut. There were no other kittens, and no sign of the momma cat.

Gary knew enough from his years in rescue not to disturb a newborn kitten until giving the momma cat a few hours for an opportunity to return. Often, the mother cat leaves the “nest” to hunt for her own food before coming back to nurse. Gary went to his truck to retrieve some water and a can of cat food to set it out near the kitten. This not only would encourage the mom to come back, but also to give the mom a quick meal so she could get back nursing.

Gary went home for lunch and told Sara that if the momma cat wasn’t back yet by sunset, he’d be bringing home a bottle baby kitten. When Gary went back later that day and there was still no sign of mom and no indication that the food had been eaten, he scooped up this day-old kitten and brought her home.

He named her Katie.

Gary’s neighbor at the time was working for Maui Humane Society and was well-versed in the subject of newborn kittens and their necessary care. She was integral in offering the guidance needed for Katie’s survival. Gary has rescued cats before, but he had never had a bottle-baby. Every two hours, Gary would give Katie a bottle and encourage potty-time by wiping her bottom with a warm cloth.

The rest is history. Katie will be 13 this June. Katie sleeps in Gary’s bed every night and loves Gary like no one else. Gary is truly her person.

To honor these two, I stopped by along with Madelynne Lorraine Photography (fellow cat lover and professional photographer who generously donates her skills to Good Cat Network) to capture Gary and Sara and some of their lovely kitty rescues: 

Because of Gary and Sara’s incredible support, and in addition to this Donor Spotlight, they were also given the opportunity to name an OAC flight. They named our April 25, 2023 flight of 14 lucky cats to PAWSKatie’s Operation Aloha Cat Flight.” By total coincidence, we had the most black cats on this flight than any other OAC flight, with a total of eight of the 14 cats being black cats.

To read more about Katie’s Operation Aloha Cat Flight and rescue stories for Fudge, Smudge, Talky and Betty White, read here!

Would you like to become the subject of our next donor spotlight by sponsoring an Operation Aloha Cat Flight? Please send us a message below!

Good Cat Network is one of the main nonprofits that we support each year. I’ve known about the cat overpopulation and homeless crisis on Maui for more than 20 years now, and GCN is making amazing strides tackling the problem and saving lives, with emphasis on trap-neuter-return and fostering. Their program of shipping cats to the mainland, where there are so many more people who want to adopt cats, is genius. It gives me enormous relief and satisfaction to be able to support this organization, knowing that 100% of my funds go toward giving innocent creatures a better life, free from suffering. I am so grateful for their efforts and honored to support their work.”

You don’t have to sponsor an entire flight in order to support us in our mission! Every little bit counts.