(This article reprinted with permission from the SPCA for Monterey County)
Patricia and Richard Catlin
After a lifetime of compassion this couples’ bequest continues to help animals.
Longtime SPCA supporters Patricia and Richard Catlin were known throughout their lives for their compassion towards animals, both domestic and wild. They built the pet-friendly Tradewinds Inn of Carmel (the inn’s ambassador cat “Sweetie” is a local celebrity), and Patricia cared for countless felines during her lifetime. The family lived near what was then called the Del Monte Lodge in Pebble Beach, and Patricia began feeding stray cats that hung around the restaurant, the Beach and Tennis Club, and, later, the Pebble Beach Post Office. She trapped and sterilized all the cats she fed and provided veterinary care when needed—an invaluable service to her community that also eased the suffering of animals.
Their daughter, Susan Stilwell, remembers her mother feeding a newborn feral kitten with an eye dropper—a predator had killed the rest of the litter.
“Her eyes were still closed,” said Susan. “Mom nursed her and ‘Susie’ grew into a healthy adult. When you’re a kid that makes a big impression on you.”
As a child, Susan brought home strays and at one point the Catlins were caring for seven felines, all named by her mother after movie stars. One morning Patricia was out in her robe shouting for the cats to come eat breakfast when a handsome gentleman in sunglasses materialized at the edge of their yard. It was a secret service agent securing the perimeter of a neighbor’s residence where then-President Bill Clinton would be staying the night. For some reason he felt compelled to investigate who was shouting “Clark Gable!” and “Frank Sinatra!” over and over again.
“Mom lived in a nice house but she never cared about status or appearance,” said Susan. “She was always more concerned about the well-being of the animals around her.”
With help from other concerned pet lovers Susan continues to maintain her mother’s cat colony, and is rightly proud that no kittens have been born into the population for over six years. Susan, who runs the inn (now called Tradewinds Carmel), also continues her parents’ legacy by sponsoring The SPCA Pet Telethon each year. When her mother passed away in 2008 and left The SPCA a $10,000 bequest it seemed natural to put it towards the Telethon. As a result, half will go toward sponsorship and half will be a matching challenge during the program.
“My mom’s biggest concern was stopping pet overpopulation so this is a great way to honor her memory,” said Susan. “The telethon raises money to support The SPCA Spay/Neuter Clinic, and it finds loving homes for pets in need.”
If you are interested in learning more about including The SPCA in your estate plans, please call Susan at 373-2631, or 422-4721, ext. 221.