11 years ago Michelle Duca decided to find a non-profit organization for animals titled Kibble Kitchen Pet Pantry. At her non-profit, low-income individuals all over Porter County could access food and supplies for their pets. Then in 2015, after seeing the need for an organization specific to cats; Duca rebranded her nonprofit organization as the Feline Community Network.
“I decided to open the Feline Community Network in 2015 because Porter County needed a place where cats could be helped and saved instead of put down. I felt like it was an unserved need,” Duca said.
Before establishing both her nonprofits, Duca spent 30 years in the animal rescue and pet-related fields. Since she was a young teen, Duca has felt a passion for rescuing animals. And one of the very first animals Duca reduced was a dog.
“Rescuing is just something that I've always been fond of. Ever since I was 13 I was always bringing something home,” said Duca.
At the Feline Community Network, their mission is to assist friendly, sick, injured, and future put down cats by rehabilitation and rescue. Sometimes some of the cats do not get put up for adoption, but instead, become sanctuary cats. Sanctuary cats are felines who stay at the shelter because of medical, behavioral, or environmental issues. Currently at the shelter, there is a group of 10 cats that play, converse, and live together. They are some of the main sanctuary cats and have been at the shelter for almost six years. To Duca, the best experience at her job is being able to rescue and rehabilitate felines as well as see all the community support her business receives.
Since Duca is the owner of the shelter, she wears many hats at her establishment. Some of these hats include medically treating the cats, being a veterinary technician on Fridays, selling retail items at the shelter’s gift shop, and conversing with the community. Although she can sometimes have a lot of responsibilities, Duca heavily thanks both her staff and volunteers.
At the moment the Feline Community Network is not looking for full-time employees, but they are always grateful for interested volunteers. To volunteer at the shelter one needs to be over 18. Duca recommends any interested volunteer to come into the shelter and talk to an employee to see if they are interested in the opportunity to give back.
Surprisingly, Duca did not grow up having a cat; she actually was not allowed to have one as a child. But when she moved out and made her own world, Duca realized cats were her animal. Since she has such a fond admiration for felines; she recommends treating your cats like a cat, not a dog, as well as getting them neutered.
Aside from being a feline savior and extraordinaire; Duca enjoys spending her time helping the community, spending time with family, going on motorcycle rides with her husband, and exploring nature.
Duca would like everyone to know that donations to the Feline Community Network can be made through their Instagram and Facebook accounts (felinecommunitynetwork), a mail check, and their cat-themed gift shop. She would also like to let the public know that her cats are available for adoption and can be found on the PetFinder application. Furthermore, she would like to make aware that individuals can always come visit the cats for fun and that they love visitors.