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Effort fixes them & helps feed them
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Lathrops Melanie Parker is shown with one of the cats that survived a house fire in Manteca. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

Cats left homeless by a Manteca house fire won’t be adding to the feral population while some of their kittens may be finding homes.
It’s the latest effort in a 16-year undertaking aimed at feeding feral cats in Manteca and Lathrop while at the same time trapping them so they can be fixed.
The Lathrop-based non-profit Happy Pet Owners headed by Karen Duke and Melanie Parker have been assisted by a third woman who wishes to remain anonymous to trap the 28 felines that fled the fire last month on North Fremont Avenue at Alameda that claimed the lives of 20 other cats.
The woman who survived the fire has moved in with family members that live out of state.
Duke and Parker so far have been paying for the medical costs of having the fire survivors spayed and neutered. They are hoping the public steps up to help defray the costs of additional surgeries. Parker noted that the cats are also having the tip of one ear clipped to alert future rescuers of their corrective surgeries that prevent them from having more kittens on the streets of Manteca.
“They are in a horrible predicament,” Parker said of her feline friends from the fire. 
They are now being cared for as well as possible, having already been given a chance for a better life – all 28 of them, she said. 
The Lathrop women stepped up to make a difference 16 years ago when they were asked to take over the project of caring for all the feral cats they could find in Lathrop and Manteca. They work to make sure mostly wild cats are helped medically with neutering and spaying. They often times get out of their beds as early as 3 in the morning to search out colonies of feral cats in the two communities to locate the wanderers in the neighborhoods and keep them from reproducing unwanted kittens.
As the result of the Fremont Avenue rescue effort, there are 18 young kittens, with another dozen awaiting maturity, that they will take to the Tracy Pet Resources for neutering and spaying at two months old when they weigh the minimum two pounds.  The duo has spayed a total of 212 cats so far this year. They find them in various neighborhoods. Of the 212, about 64 have been adopted out to willing homes. Many kittens were found crawling in the lawn of the burned-out home, they added.
There are some 430 feral cats that are treated annually because of the two women, who head up the 501 (c) (3) organization. They also provide food for cats at various feral colonies,
Parker noted that veterinarian Dr. Ashwinder Grewal of the Animal Clinic on West Yosemite Avenue, located near the railroad tracks in Manteca’s downtown has taken the cats into surgery at a reduced cost for the Happy Pet Owners group. They are planning a huge fund-raising yard sale at 2374 Lathrop Road, near Airport Way, at the home of Karen Duke on Oct. 7.
The yard sale will also help them with the somewhat prohibitive cost of the cat food they buy.
For more information on their efforts call Melanie Parker at 898-6553 or Karen Duke at 858-2124.  They can also be found on Facebook at www.happypetowners501c3 or on Instagram: @happypetowners_501_3c.

To contact Glenn Kahl, email