It’s no secret our little beach town is overrun by some furry critters. It has been estimated about 1.3 to 2 million cats are on the streets of New Jersey alone, and it shows no signs of stopping. Local organizations like Asbury Boardwalk Rescue, Catsbury Park, To the Rescue, Monmouth County SPCA and others have, and continue, to do their best to try to maintain a harmonious living situation for Jersey Shore’s kitties. But no one does it quite like Nancy Barr-Brandon. 

Once a celebrity photographer of the likes of Liza Minnelli and Dolly Parton, Miss Barr-Brandon has devoted not only her time, but over 40 years of her life to saving cats. The Cat Assistance Network, which she runs entirely by herself with some volunteers, caters to the cats of Monmouth County and gets about 10 to 15 calls a day to help those in need. Although our local shelters and organizations have been known to accommodate to the best of their abilities, Nancy has also been known to house some of these felines if care can’t be done overnight. When it comes to compassion, she carries the patience and resilience that come with it.

I met Miss Nancy by chance.  A beautiful chance. Her settling, and warm smile brings all comfort. She visits Back on the Racks (BOTR) daily to collect any donations like money or materials that have been given, and I happened to be working that day. Nancy always informs us on the latest. She recently told us she was working on a project to help the cats of Neptune’s “Tent City”, behind the Asbury circle. When it comes to passion, not many people have it like Nancy. 

Christine Ryan McAlary, founder and owner of BOTR, knows first hand of Brandon’s efforts. “I met Nancy in 2009 when I opened the store. She would bring items in to sell to support her rescue efforts. Nancy is 100% hands-on with very little help. She never stops, regardless of health issues.” Lauren King, one of many managers at BOTR, has developed a close relationship with Nancy and credits her into helping the feline community. “She has canceled doctor appointments just to be ready for anything. People love cats, but not everyone is willing to sacrifice their time, and their money, to rescue them.”

Christine and Lauren have given Nancy the opportunity to spread her awareness at the store by stationing donation spots for funds and resources, and now you can help too. 

Unfortunately, Nancy has gotten into a terrible car accident this past month. Despite this mishap, Nancy continues her efforts through their amazing crew of people, and her wonderful local donors. If anyone has the pleasure of knowing Nancy, they know she selflessly gives herself to her beautiful organization. Please read and consider Nancy and her cause. 

Barr-Brandon shows no signs of stopping her cause, but she needs your help more than ever. Nancy’s message is simple: “Care for one and care for all.” Are you ready to help?

Back on the Racks of Ocean, NJ has organized a GoFundMe page to help her get back on her feet, and continue to help as she recovers. This is helping to collect any cat food, blankets and other helpful items. These materials can be dropped off at their store on RT 35. They are also making it available to bring in your consignment items under the CA network account (all proceeds go to the organization).

Lauren studied Public Relations and minored in Journalism and Marketing at SUNY Plattsburgh, and recently reclaimed her passion for writing. Her goal is to raise awareness and give life to ALL voices of Asbury Park. Lauren was raised in New York but has roots in Asbury Park. She is a recent resident of Asbury and is excited to share with all who inhabit it.

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