Posted: Thursday, October 13, 2016 – 7:39 PM
Catbaret, the sixth annual celebrity musical fundraiser for the Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats will begin at 6 p.m, Saturday, Oct. 15 at the Avalon Hollywood, 1735 Vine St.
The agency is “California’s only 100 percent feral cat rescue, socialization and adoption facility,” said actress and animal activist Elaine Hendrix (Sex& Drugs&Rock&Roll, The Parent Trap) who will join other celebrities in the show of music, comedy and dance.
“Animal advocacy is my greatest passion and when Shawn (Shawn Simon, the nonprofit’s founder) contacted me to be part of the Catbaret, and get to sing and dance to benefit cats; it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. (This year she’s singing The Year of The Cat.) I was so impressed last year,” says Hendrix. The program of cat-themed Broadway showtunes, rock ‘n’ roll and dance by choreographers from So You Think You Can Dance, “is a big, full legitimate production with sets, props and a crew. I’m proud and honored to be part of this.”
Others taking part in the show include Emcee Fred Willard (Modern Family), Nicole Sullivan (MadTV), Mo Collins (Parks & Rec), Nikki Hahn (Adventures in Babysitting), Steve-O (Jackass), Mindy Sterling (Austin Powers) Mo Collins (Parks & Rec), Tim Russ (Star Trek:Voyager), Charlotte Ross (Days of Our Lives), Lori Alan (SpongeBob), Benji Schwimmer (So You Think You Can Dance winner and choreographer), Peyton Clark (I Didn’t Do It).
“We’re all animal and Kitty Bungalow lovers,” says Hendrix of the agency that “works to help reduce the population and help get feral cats re-acclimated to be able to be placed in homes. Helping cats is easy; you just find out what’s needed and do it. Hendrix has toured the L.A.-facility and been impressed and involved with “the whole program and what they do. They have a chart for each cat and give medical help and monitor them. They provide outreach to communities helping feral cat colonies with food and assistance all over the city. Obviously they’re doing the whole city a favor.”
The nonprofit operates on the philosophy of “trap-neuter-return (TNR).” This is the method of humanely trapping feral cats, having them spayed or neutered, vaccinated for rabies, eartipped for identification, and then returning them to their colony to live out their lives. TNR also involves a colony caretaker who provides food, shelter, and monitors the cats’ health. TNR has been shown to be the least costly as well as the most efficient and humane way of stabilizing feral cat populations, says Simon.
Hendrix has been advocating for animals since 2006. “When I started working mainstream,” says Hendrix, “I got invited to a lot of events. I’m from Tennessee, the volunteer state, and I grew up working in my community. I decided if I was going to make a difference I had to create a platform all over.”
She works with organizations around the globe to educate, demonstrate, speak, protest, build habitats, transport and rescue. In 2012 she founded The Pet Matchmaker, an organization dedicated to celebrating and inspiring the rescue, foster and adoption of homeless pets. She serves on the board of Stray Rescue of St. Louis as well as the U.S. chapter of No to Dog Meat.
“I really see animals as the ultimate victims on the planet,” says Hendrix of the roots of her passion. “They don’t have the ability to go to the police, a social worker, or any other being and say, ‘help me.’ And what human do to animals in the name of food, entertainment and fashion are atrocities.”
Hendrix’s activism takes her all over the world, “to do whatever I can to raise these issues. People need to realize that animals, tip the scales,” says Hendrix. “Day by day, animals like big cats are going extinct. Without animals we will not survive. It’s really in our own best interest to help take care of them.”
The Catbaret evening begins at 6 p.m. with snacks and drink, a chance to win $20,000 of prizes, cat videos and more. The 9 p.m. reception features an open bar, tapas and coffee bar and a chance to mingle with the performers.
For tickets and more information, visit www.kittybungalow.org/catbaret. —Steve Simmons