Why A Boise “Cat Lady” Is Patrolling The Streets On Behalf Of Idaho StraysJ. Swanson
The caped crusader cruised the streets of mythical Gotham behind the wheel of his fabled Bat-mobile. Now a self-identified “cat lady” patrols Boise, Idaho, in search of felines in need.
Though she’s now widely-known for her brightly-painted “cat-mobile,” Millie Payne Reddig’s feline advocacy started almost by accident ten years ago.
That’s when she moved up to Idaho from her native state of Alabama, only to find a colony of feral cats living near her new home. At the time, Reddig, 71, wasn’t overly familiar with the concept of feral cats, but decided to act upon seeing a feral kitten struck by a car.
The incident inspired this big-hearted woman to learn how to trap, neuter, and return — aka TNR — which is widely believed to be the best way to manage and reduce feral cat colonies. The procedure involves gently trapping stray cats in a cage, then transporting them to a vet to be neutered or spayed before they’re released back into the wild.
Redding even removed the back seat from her ’93 Toyota Camry, aka “The Cat-mobile,” to fit more cages, allowing her to trap around 15 animals per day. Some of these rescues also live with Reddig and her husband, Duane, in their home, which now doubles as a kennel for around 20 adoptable strays.
But Millie Reddig isn’t only a cat vigilante; she’s also an artist, according to an interview with The Idaho Statesmen. Her portraits feature real cats and dogs painted with impressionist style and raise money for animal welfare groups. They’re also awash in color, both to cheer up the departed pet’s owner and counter Redding’s TNR work, which can often get real.
Regardless, Boise’s cat lady relishes her resident title and cheerful wheels, which draw a steady stream of compliments as she cruises around town. “When I’m driving, sometimes I get the thumbs-up from a bunch of kids or something,” Reddig tells The Idaho Statesman in the following video. “When I’m downtown and school is out, I’ll have little girls say, ‘oh we love your car!'”