Deep Midnight Perfumes

Deep Midnight Perfumes

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

THE CAT SLAVE: An Interview with Donna Baker and C.L.A.W.S.

Today I have an interview for you with Donna Baker, owner of the shop, THE CAT SLAVE, on etsy and C.L.A.W.S. (Cat Lovers Alliance for Welfare and Sterilization), a non-profit tax exempt 501.3c animal charity.  Donna and her daughter Wendy both have shops on etsy selling an array of steampunk and fantasy themed jewelry and other fun things to support the charity.  Deep Midnight Perfumes donates to C.L.A.W.S. I hope you enjoy reading and learning about this wonderful woman and her charity!
Filigree Necklace with Bottle Charms by The Cat Slave on etsy
How did you decide you wanted to rescue and provide for animals?

"There was a horrible place beyond any description in Nashville, TN that was the Metro Dog Pound. I knew of it for years but felt powerless to do anything about it.
Prior to that, all my life, I had picked up and fixed and homed for life animals (primarily cats) and felt like, "ok, this makes a difference".

In 1991 I ran across a gal who felt as I did about the dog pound and the war was on. We became the dog pounds worst nightmare. Cats were tortured and starved in the awful place (as were dogs) and hated.

Our efforts gained us some fellow warriors. For two years we kept the cats pulled out of the pound, vetted and placed in forever homes. It got hugely expensive, so I went to Nashville Humane to try to get them to help us. They did. I could go in there anytime as their agent and pull cats without paying the pull fee.

Finally after about 4 years, we (the core group) managed to pressure the health department and local government to train the staff (training, imagine!) about euthanasia technique, cleaning practices, and several other major changes like putting puppies and kittens on newspaper so their little feet would not go through the wire of the bottom of the cage, and separating  dogs, not by the day they came in but according to male/female, large/small, sick/not sick (yet). Then finally there came a new facility that was up to date and not down on the river where no one ever went.  The founding of C.L.A.W.S. grew out of that."

Spa/Grooming Day!
I am sure a lot is involved in the rescue process, but can you tell us a little bit about how you find and rescue animals?

"Early on it was from the dog pound, and then we worked with the shelter in fostering especially during kitten season.

For about the last 12-13 years we have moved mostly to TNR as we felt they needed our help more than the more friendly ones. We do not euthanize unless there is suffering. So over the years our focus has been on dislocated ferals, those who could not be released at the trapping site for various reasons, and have morphed into more of a sanctuary for disgruntled, an or special needs felines.

Since moving to the country 10 years ago, and living on a dead end road in a county that is all too unaware of spay/neuter, we have no problem finding needy animals.  We assist with traps, education and contacts to help people with their barn cats or any cat/kitten they find. Education is sorely needed in rural areas." 
Black Lace Choker by The Cat Slave on etsy
You are a registered 501.3c charity and raise funds for the animals you rescue through the designs you create. How did you come to create jewelry to support the charity you run?

"Before we moved to the country, being near a large city (Nashville), we had a great deal of support. The country is very, very different.   Mars/Nutro generously donates food to us and I, with a vast number of years in veterinary clinics and experience, can handle most things that arise with the animals. As all non-profits like ours there is never an overabundance of money so we pick up a lot of the cost of maintenance for our facility. Being in a county that does not even have a veterinarian is difficult.  However, have a country vet who is good to us and is available for emergencies. We are fortunate to have him."
Keepsake Gift Tag by The Faery Watcher on etsy
Please tell us little about what inspires you to create and/or rescue?

"The need for money for the animals guided me into making jewelry to generate funds for our rescue/sanctuary."
Filigree Mask Necklace by The Cat Slave on etsy
Describe your feelings when you rescue and place an animal in a new home?

"A forever home for a cat or kitten that had a hard start in life is very rewarding. Having had a pet sitting business for 18 years (before moving to the country) I had a pipeline to good homes very often.

Most people don’t realize how hard it is to find, screen and "read" prospective homes. Not everyone who wants a pet should not have one and we have do not problem turning someone down for a better situation. You learn what questions to ask, "Did you want an indoor cat or outdoor cat" (want indoor homes), have you had a cat before (wrong answer is "oh yeah, a lot of them".....ok where are they now?) Moving, remarriage, family changes etc. where they did not take their furred family member is instant disqualification. Being a committed pet owner who will keep their pet no matter what the inconvenience is all we will consider."
Stained Glass style Buttons by The Faery Watcher on etsy
Apart from designing beautiful jewelry and rescuing animals, what else do you enjoy doing?
"I love cottage gardening, ponds, politics, period piece movies, being in this beautiful setting in my dream log home:)"
Cat Angel Necklace by The Cat Slave on etsy
I know they are all so precious and sweet, but what animal you have rescued has touched your life the most?

"Now that’s a hard one. If I could only pick one, it would be Picnic from the Women’s Prison in Nashville, TN. A guard had tried to kill her and she suffered permanent injuries, was very, very angry, could not be released to a farm (had no lower jaw and blind in one eye) so she lived with us and became a little love sponge. I knew every hug and kindness we gave her might in some way counteract the horrible things she had gone through at the prison. She passed away quietly, here at home, in her bed, 6 years ago. We miss her and always smile when we think about her."
Where can we find your lovely jewelry and information on your charity?

"My daughter, Wendy, and I have shops on Etsy,

We exhibit together for shows: I am Donna, she is Wendy, and together we are Donwyn Creations.

We have a presence on other sites,, Art Fire, Zibbet, and Goodsmiths. Shops on these other sites are not full for lack of time as the animals come first. Everything else comes after the animals.

On FB I am thecatslave and Donna (Hedge) Baker, and on Twitter I am "catslaveiam".
Wendy has a FB page, thefaerywatcher, Wendy Baker-Smith."
Metal and Lace Goddess Necklace by The Faery Watcher on etsy
Thank you for the inteview, Donna, and for all the good work you do for animals! 
Dear readers, I hope you have enjoyed this interview.  Best wishes--Cat xoxo ;)

** All photos courtesy of and copyright of Donna Baker and Wendy Baker-Smith


  1. Wonderful tribute to twodedicated ladies, who work each day, everyday and nighttime too, helping the animals.

  2. Inspiring! Great job bringing us the info on these wonderful people and the sweet animals they help! Thank you for sharing, Cat! >^♥^<