Bismarck Woman – God’s Gift To Cats.
For almost a year and a half, looking out our second-story office window here in Mandan, I have watched across the field, cats living underneath and next to a beat-up old trailer. I never quite knew just how many there were - Only one person in all of Bismarck/Mandan had that answer. Her name is Debra Christianson. I met her when I first started working for Townsquare Media. I watched her drive up, get out with food, blankets, and whatever else was needed. This wasn't twice a week, or three times even, she came EVERY DAY. Since 2016 Debra missed ONE day - she fought bitter wicked North Dakota temperatures, got up early, preparing homemade meals for the strays - she cleaned as best she could around the trailer - the cats returned their love ONLY to her (many times I tried to get close, but they hid in a million places). So many sad moments in her 5-year run, finding small dead cats from time to time. This past winter was tough for me. When we had days at minus twenty, I could only look across our vacant field behind us, and ask the man upstairs to somehow keep them warm - and there was Debra, watching over the weak little ones, and the veterans (the Siamese and Spot the Calico).
There was no money given to Mandan's Cat Mom (an article I wrote about here last June), everything she spent came out of her pocket - she thought nothing about the sacrifices she went through - quite often she brought home the tiny kittens that were in bad shape, treating some with Amoxicillin. Cats that grew up strong owe their nine lives to Debra.
So the big burning question is, why wasn't any outside help brought in? Debra tried some resources around town but never had any luck - and sadly that's just how it goes sometimes. Finally, just last Friday Furry Friends came in and set several traps. She knew that it was time "It's something that needed to be done" she told me on the phone today. She knew that those poor animals had a rough life, but most of them relied on each other, and on Mandan's cat Mom.
Most of the cats have been caught and are in the process of being fixed. Tomorrow will be Debra's last trip over here, to clean up and absorb the five years of memories, of all the ones that she loved and brought rice and goose bread to - the sting of picking up a frozen kitten that didn't make it. The sight of an older one she saved growing up through medicine. With mixed emotions, she will say "Goodbye" and hope they will all end up in a good home. I myself can still look out that window and can breathe a little easier now, thanks of course to Debra and Laura (Furry Friends).
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