alt“I showed up at the next Big Fix and have been going since then, missing only a few over the years,” she says. “I was lucky, as this fit the bill for my willingness to help truly un-owned pets.”

Both vet and activist have remained collaborators for change over the years. It was a match made on earth.

Alley Cat Advocates was born in 1999 at the Old Louisville residence of Karen Little and her husband Hoyt. The nonprofit is dedicated to providing humane treatment of stray, free-roaming cats in the metropolitan Louisville area by directing a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program in the safest and most efficient and cost-effective way possible.

Little has become well-known for her hard work and soft heart, and in 2011, her tireless efforts were honored with a WLKY Bell Award. Goodwill is contagious and is part of her mission in inspiring others to become volunteers.

When not ensconced at the University of Louisville School of Music as head librarian, Little dedicates most of her remaining hours to everything from stray cat rescue to fundraising to education to in-home feline hospice care.

Her most radical undertaking has been the Big Fix. The surgery and healthcare event is a well-oiled machine that runs with the efficiency of a factory line, yet with a spirit as warm and fuzzy as the hundreds of patients it serves.

Little provides a time line:

alt“The Big Fix is a weekend event,” says Little. “We start on Friday evening setting up and distributing traps. Trappers and caretakers trap throughout the day on Saturday. We continue to set up on Saturday afternoon and check cats in on Saturday evening. Sunday, the vets work from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers staff various stations from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. We return on Monday morning to feed and check on the cats and discharge cats to their caretakers on Monday evening. We typically use four to 10 vets on Sunday of the Big Fix weekend and approximately 65 volunteers for the entire weekend.”

While there are many options for rescue, shelters, fostering and adoption in Louisville and southern Indiana, the practical action is to reduce the epidemic status of strays by stopping the animals before they breed.