A few cats that have made the Winn-Dixie plaza their home may have to find a new place to live, due to a complaint that was made to the corporate office by a part-time resident.
Although Dan Loughren, the manager of Winn-Dixie, has no comment concerning the issue, he said they are trying to get the cats relocated to another area.
Judith Schulte has taken care of more than 200 cats by providing them with the correct shots, along with spaying and neutering them, as well as any other medical attention they may need through C.A.T.S. (Caring About The Strays).
Three cats that have made the Winn-Dixie plaza their home for the past few years may have to move to another location due to a complaint that was made by a part-time resident to the store’s corporate office.
"This was after Charley when everything was disarrayed and the cats had nowhere to go," she said about starting C.A.T.S. "We take care of the cats, we don't fix them and turn them loose and then let them run."
Schulte works with PAWS of Lee County, along with the clinic for spaying and neutering cats.
The first cats that received the care of Schulte are the cats located at Winn-Dixie. She said she wants people to know how important those cats are.
"They are part of the island and part of the Winn-Dixie plaza," Schulte said.
There are three main cats, one male with white paws and two females, who have resided in front of the Winn-Dixie store for five years.
Her biggest concern is where the cats will end up if relocated.
"They don't bother anybody," she said, adding that they have all been fixed and received their rabies shots. "I will do everything I can to get the cats to stay there."
By the end of the week, Schulte will have a petition distributed at different locations around the island for those who would like to keep the cats where they have made a home.
"I would like to get a petition going for who is for it and who is against it," she said. "A lot of people would be upset if those cats were gone."
She said everybody takes care of the cats by feeding them, providing them beds to sleep in, along with chipping in and cleaning up around them to keep the front of Winn-Dixie looking nice.
There are contribution containers for the cats located in Dr. Watson's Liquor Store, Pine Island Family Hair Salon, Raymary Grill and the Greater Water Association of Pine Island.
"There are quite a few people that are involved and helping," she said.
Dick Maher, an employee at Dr. Watson's, said he lives on the island full-time and the cats do not bother him at all.
"They lay outside and sleep all day," he said.
Maher said although the cat, which resides down at their end of the plaza, is delightful to have around, he understands why people may be upset about seeing the cats.
Maher said people are very supportive in dropping off money in the collection jar for the continued efforts of C.A.T.S.
Schulte said people are happy to see the cats at Winn-Dixie.
Susanne Quattro said Pine Island is a little funky island that has its own style.
"You have a few cats laying on chairs at Winn-Dixie, who the hell cares," she said.
Quattro said this is the only home the three cats have ever known and people paid money to have them spayed and neutered, which was made visible due to their ear being clipped.