DIXFIELD — The self-described Cat Ladies of Dixfield recently received the Mystic Valley Grange No. 313 Community Service Award.

Brenda Jarvis and her sister Caroline Smith have been helping the cats for more than 45 years after converting their parents’ mobile home into a cat shelter.

Now that Smith is experiencing some health issues, Valerie Warriner and Donna Weston are helping out.

The women trap feral cats, give cats veterinary care when needed and bottle-feed kittens. They’re currently helping about 100 domestic and feral cats.

Twenty-three now live in the trailer. Jarvis, 75, is there for several hours each day to take care of the cats.

Taking care of the cats is a full-time job for Jarvis, and she spends nearly $763 a month to fund the food, litter, cleaning materials, paper towels and other supplies for the cats. She works from morning to night, taking a couple hours during the middle of the day to clean her own house.

Jarvis is the first to hear if someone has lost their cat. She gets calls every single day. If someone has lost their cat, they call her. If someone sees a cat they think is lost, they call her. She gets calls about cats being dumped in cardboard boxes at local businesses, and calls about kittens that have been dumped on the side of the road.

She’s been married to Dave Jarvis for 44 years. The cats were part of the agreement. He meets every cat, and they’ve never had supper at their house. It’s always at the trailer with the cats.

She joked, “I’ll be walking with a walker and feeding the cats.”

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