Peggy Raisglid's love of animals led her to open Lovin' Spoonfuls, a vegan restaurant, at 2990 N. Campbell Ave. in September 2005.
"I'm not serving them on people's plates," says Raisglid, whose extensive menu shows how easy it is to eat great vegan meals breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Raisglid has also raised hundreds of dollars for rescue groups through her "Dine out for Animals" days, and the jewelry she makes and then sells at the restaurant as part of her Beads for Needs project. Diners also will find literature on general animal advocacy issues and rescue groups.
Raisglid has six rescue cats at home. Huey Dewey, who is about 13, found her: "He just started following me around the UA and crying," says Raisglid, who earned a doctorate in chemistry at the UA.
Littermates Polly and Molly, who are about 12, were desert rescues. Buddy Bud, who is 15 and pictured above left, is from the Hermitage Cat Shelter. Honey Bunny, who is about 6 and is pictured above right, came from a customer who was fostering cats.
And Peanut was at Pima Animal Care Center "cowering in the corner. I knew no one else was going to adopt her."
Why do you have rescue animals?
"There's so many that need homes that are being euthanized which is a shame because there's something like 20 million animals adopted a year and like 6 million euthanized."
How do you fit in time with your animals?
"The animals don't really suffer from neglect as much as my husband."
What do your cats mean to you?
"There's a part of me that makes me think I saved them, but they do so much for me as well."
What's the coolest thing your cat does?
"Buddy will roll over on his back, and he just loves his belly to be combed. That's really unusual for a cat.
"Honey Bunny - I call her the forever mom. She'd grab our shoes by the laces and carry them around the house and put them in piles. I bought her stuffed animals. She still, five years later, carries them around the house."
What do you guys do in your spare time?
"Their favorite thing is to be combed. If I just run my fingers on the teeth of the comb, they just run up."
On the bed or off the bed?
"They're totally on top of me or on my side of the bed."
What's the highest number of cats you've had?
"I might have had seven. My husband's capped me at six."
How did you get involved in animal rescue?
"I think it just fell out of my lifestyle as a vegan. You find out about how animals are treated across the board."
Do you cook for your cats?
"I cook for Buddy Bud because of his inflammatory bowel disease. I feed the others high-quality natural cat food from California."
What's your best cat story?
"The day I went to the Hermitage to take pictures of the cats for a book. At one point I sat on the floor taking shots, and a little orange cat walked up to me and sat in my lap. He looked up at me with these huge green eyes. I could feel him looking into the depths of my soul.
"I called my husband and asked how mad he'd be on a scale of 1 to 10 if I brought a cat home. He said, 'About a 5' in an annoyed voice. I thought, 'Five isn't bad at all!' I think I might have gone as high as 7."
What needs to happen to reduce the number of homeless animals?
"I think that people have to rethink where they get their animals from. Rather than paying breeders to breed more animals, let's find homes for the ones already born. There's every imaginable breed in the shelters already."