Cat Rescues Are Struggling

Cat Rescues Are Struggling

by Elisa Black-Taylor
(USA)

Coral needs adoption

Coral needs adoption

Coral needs adoption Cassie needs adoption Mia needs adoption Lily needs adoption

Cat rescues are struggling. The economy is horrible and unemployment is high despite what the numbers show. Many cat rescues I've spoken with are in danger of going under or losing their cats.

The #1 issue facing the rescues I’ve spoken to is no one wants to adopt a cat these days. I’ll bet the readers thought I would list money as the main concern. Unfortunately, the problem with undesirable cats (meaning any cat over 6 months old) in itself creates the shortage of funds to care for rescue cats.

I think this is sad. The blame for lack of homes must eventually fall on the cat owner who refuses to spay or neuter their pet. Combine this with society’s warped belief that only kittens are desirable, then add in the callousness in which people turn in an adult cat to the shelter. The end result is a cat facing euthanasia or with only a rescue to save it. We as rescuers take the nations unwanted to care for and love.

Cat rescues need money to operate. There’s food, litter, cleaning supplies, bedding, water, vet related expenses and increased electricity costs to keep the animals comfortable year round.

No one wants to donate for cats already pulled from death row. Animal activists are gun-ho about getting the cat to safety then conveniently forget about it. Rescuers are left holding the cat, so to speak. Some of these cats will never leave the rescue environment for a home of their own. Many are timid and will be hard to place regardless. We all have those we feel need their own family to love. Cats ask only to be loved and cared for and love back unconditionally.

I’d like to describe the predicament I, along with many others, have found common in cat rescue. When I began pulling cats from the euthanasia list, I truly believed someone out there would want them. Now I’ve been faced with a cut in hours at work. Many rescue operators are unemployed due to the economy. I considered myself lucky to still have a job.

I have a houseful of beautiful cats, but donations are few and far between. People are struggling just to put food on the table and just don’t have any money to free up to help.

I was able to place several cats through newspaper advertisement by doing a big no-no. I gave them to wonderful people in wonderful homes which I checked out personally. I’ve kept tabs on all of them and the cats are doing beautifully. I’m very proud when their new family sends me a photo and thanks us for the wonderful job my daughter and I did in rehabilitating them.

One friend of mine who is in cat rescue told me she had dropped her price in an effort to increase adoptions. How can that work when people won’t even adopt a cat if the adoption fee is waved?

I cannot continue to care for my cats long term. I had hoped to advertise them nationally through different pet adoption sites. Several of my friends in rescue have been unsuccessful even through Petfinder.com. People look and question but never adopt.

So with the problem of long term care ahead of me and no means to support the cats due to my hours cut at work, I’m faced with the choice of returning the cats to a shelter (not!) or allowing most of them to go outside during the day and hopefully not being shot or mauled to death by a wild animal.

I have begged every one I know of for help. All of the local rescues are full. We do not have a Petsmart or Petco where I live or I could possibly arrange an adoption event.

I had a Facebook friend lose all of her cats last week. She was turned in for unsanitary conditions and several rescues did step up to take them. She was fortunate. I wonder how many people who are called “hoarders” are simply cat rescuers who plead for help, ANY help, and everyone turns a deaf ear to them? After cats are taken, there are whispers about what a bad person this "hoarder" is. There's no mention this person begged for help for months. Begged for homes for her cats.

I'm the first to admit my friend got in over her head and did some irresponsible things. My point being when she first asked for help no one helped. Perhaps no one could help at the time. I don't know.

I wonder how many of us who truly love cats and started out with the best of intentions and funding will face life when our cats are taken from us? We’re similar to a group of beggars, always running one chip-in or fundraiser or another just to survive.

This isn’t only happening to rescues, but to foster homes for the kitties. Everyone is at full capacity. Fosters have more than they can handle. The experienced as well as the newbies to rescue are all affected, so it’s not simply a matter of “you should have anticipated this.”

Those wanting to adopt a cat are encouraged to adopt from their local shelter. I’d like to add local rescues as an alternative to shelters. To adopt from a rescue frees up a space for them to pull another animal on death row. And adopt an older cat if at all possible. They make the best of companions and demonstrate their gratitude every day.

I've included photos of some of mine who are up for adoption. As you can see, beautiful cats do end up on death row, then go without a home of their own after rescue. Mia has been with us a year, and the others almost as long.

Are any of the readers who are in rescue facing the same issues? Are there any easy answers? Are there any answers at all? Besides spay and neuter to prevent the problem from worsening. What do you do when your rescue is at the point mine and so many others have reached?

Elisa

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Cat Rescues Are Struggling

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Dec 12, 2011
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cats
by: lauren

no i don't know the statistics on how many are turned over to shelters. but from what i hear an read it seems to be a fair amount. i just wish i could take in an keep every cat i see. i know people find themselves in all kinds of circumstances, but i cant stand to see ANY cats...or other animals in shelters, or in need.


Dec 11, 2011
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own 20 cats
by: Anonymous

Elisa..... I can relate very well. My situation is just like many... I can adopt out usually kittens under 4 mos and after that it is very hard! people don't seem to understand that adult cats where once kittens... kittens GROW UP!!!!!
My 20 cats is the least I have had in years. I had 35 at one time and was able to place 15 over a 6 month period of doing a lot of Reference checks and vet checks and some home visits just to be sure the cat wouldn't be returned. And none where. Every cat or kitten I adopt out can be return with no qtns.... I stress that so they are not returned to a kill shelter.

Many nights I had no dinner to feed them, I have gone without numerous times and as long as my babies are content, I was happy.
Please keep up the great work!!!!


Dec 11, 2011
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Keep the faith
by: Lisa Mary

I run a sanctuary for special needs felines. We provide long term lifetime care. I have a very small group of dedicated volunteers (about 5) but the bulk of the care is on me. I can tell you I love all my kids and respect them and they are the children I never had. But it is just as hard for an organization like mine as it is for those who do rescue and placement (or at least try to.
Many a night I eat cereal or eggs for supper as long as the kids have all they need. We are blessed with a wonderful compassionate vet who NEVER asks if I can pay the bill and ALWAYS provides care. His middle name is Angel & it fits him perfectly. I am trying desperately to get volunteers for 2 hours monthly & even that is tough. I work in addition to doing this & have numerous health problems myself. But I cannot imagine NOT doing it so I keep muddling through!
Our website is www.hope-alliance.org and we have a facebook page that we would love for you to "like." God Bless everyone in rescue who is doing it properly and with "boundaries' & proper love & care.


Dec 11, 2011
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Relinquishing cats
by: Michael

Hi, Lauren...you day, "the rate at which ppl turn animals over to a shelter is appalling.."

What is the rate of relinquishment of cats to shelters? Do you know?


Dec 10, 2011
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wish i could help
by: lauren

my females are finally getting in to be fixed in a couple days. getting them spayed/neutered is easier said than done. tho not an official rescue my bf an i feed as many of the local (random cats roaming the trailer park we live in)cats as we an, in addition to 10 or so we currently have. 2 of my kittens are set to be adopted in the next week. i dont remember where i found it but i looked at a form to become a foster only to find out that we dont qualify....we don't have the income or space requirements..... but our animals are well taken care of tho we do have trouble with vet visits. but i wish i could help financially but we our hands full with the ones here. an the fact that ppl prefer kittens is absurd, an the rate at which ppl turn animals over to a shelter is appalling.


Dec 09, 2011
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Yes we are struggling so much to
by: Oreo's kitty Rescue

my kitty rescue is struggling as well chip ins have stalled and so many requests to take more in , not only in danger of running out of food but 2 months behind on utilities and water and mortgage, I know I am only 1 of many in trouble and heed help as well, have feral colony as well to care for.


Dec 08, 2011
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Rescues
by: Anonymous

I currently have 9 cats. Rescues and I feed a feral colony. I won't take them to a shelter because a shelter will either let them vegetate and never adopt the ferals or they will kill them. So I will continue to TNR. When I can get them. I spend a small fortune on food, etc. and will always do all I can. I donate to shelters that truly don't kill and help out where and when I can. I know you guys have a hard time. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do for our animal friends. I don't like people (except those who help animals) but I will always help animals. God save them.


Dec 08, 2011
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Don't Forget
by: Elisa

And don't forget shelters have the "luxury" of killing the overflow of unwanted animals. You get too many and you kill to make room for more. Rescues and fosters would never, ever think of killing an animal to make room for more or because they have too many.

Its not going to stop. Not ever. All we can do is save one cat at a time.

I asked at the convenience store near where I live whether anyone had lost a kitten and I was reminded people dump cats out in my area all the time. People just don't care.


Dec 08, 2011
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The Good
by: Michael

It is a case of the good and caring people moping up the mess of the careless and irresponsible.

The flood of the production of cats has to be stopped at source. You can't clean up everything.

That means educating people to be more responsible cat caretakers.

That will take generations it seems to me. Sounds depressing but I think it is true.

There is also a lively market in dead cats. Sorry about that remark but it is true too.


Dec 08, 2011
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I know how it is
by: Dee

I am disabled and I have 21 cats 9 are mine and the rest foster. The shelter use to help out with food and litter every now and then but they haven't for a long time. I too have to decide if the animals eat (I also have 5 dogs--2 fosters I want to find a home for) or if we eat. Luckily my son helps out when he can. I do do surveys online so I do make some money that way. I use regular litter mixed with scoopable cause it is cheaper and last longer that way ( I did try all scoopable and didn't last very long) If I take my cats back to the shelter I was told they would probably be put down or sent to a barn (which would probably mean they would not live long) so I just do the best I can with what I have to work with. I know Walmart and Kroger here donate returned and broken bags of food and litter to the Humane Society. Every now and then the humane society will get a pallet of food or litter. Maybe all of us who have so many fosters should become a 501 c3 and we could get a break on stuff also.


Dec 07, 2011
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Been at this 8 years now
by: Sharla Ragdoll Rescue NW

There are so many truths being written by my fellow rescuers and I applaud you all for all you have done for cats. I started my rescue in 03 and have learned the hard way on all these subjects the contradictions are staggering and enough to drive you crazy, you are loved for saving cats and sometimes for being the matchmaker for a family who want a treasured feline then you are rebuked by other rescuers for not doing it their way, you good when you bring a cat back from death only to never find that perfect family for them till you are swamped with many cats just like them because no one else wants a special needs cat they all love you for caring for them but they don't want to help! I live on the edge of disaster each week not knowing if the money will be there to feed and care for them and now my two legged family and the statistics of divorce in rescue people is very high. I too feel that many a "hoarder" is actually a rescuer overwhelmed but that doesn't make sensational media stories in the world of reality TV people want to see a train wreck and by gosh the news will give it to them even if it isn't true and the local kill shelter loves it because they can use that op to garner more donations and never bother to tell the media that taking in that "hoarders" 100 cats means they have to kill 100 in the shelter make room so they look like heros! Yes we need a support group and yes getting the message out to those not in rescue is the answer because we are all preaching to choir so to speak!
There has to be an answer.


Dec 07, 2011
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cats
by: sharon

I know it's like i can't give them away but then again I wouldn't want to give them away unless I knew the people real well:-(. as to the group I think that's a great idea but maybe not closed I think people need to know what their getting into should they think they may want to foster or pull cats to adopt out . My biggest problem is being on my own i haven't been able to give them the attention they need t be very social so some of mine about 4 still need it badly ! and i have a special needs kitty too she will stay with me if a very very good home can't be found:-( but yes the group sounds really good we need support in more ways than one:-)


Dec 07, 2011
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Mailing address
by: Elisa

Mailing address is Furby Salmons, 112 Brittany Court, Hodges, SC 29653. And coupons for 9lives dry also come in handy. The only food they don't throw up.


Dec 07, 2011
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@Sharon
by: Elisa

I've done the same Sharon. Offering any agency who would help the fees they would get. I'm about to run another ad to place cats with a home visit. Every time I place an ad people call wanting to know if I have kittens. No one wants the adults. I wonder if we need a closed support group on Facebook?

I've lost a few friends on Facebook when I was contacted about taking more cats off of death row. The fact I had over 25 at the time didn't make any difference to them. The only thing that "saved" me was the fact I lost so many to the distemper and it infected my home.

We took in a stray litter and every one of the kittens died. There's no way I'll take any kittens because we'd still lose them, and besides we're gun shy. We replaced carpet with tile. None of our older kittens or cats are getting sick with anything worse than a mild URI. But we're out of the kitten business.


Dec 07, 2011
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Is there a Preponderance of Sadness in LIfe?
by: Sylvia (Ann)

Hi Elisa -

It will finish you off to take your cats back to be euthanized. It'll finish you off to keep feeding & giving them shelter for the next 20 years. Can you adopt them eventually? Economists predict this semi-Depresion will last for another 10-15 years.

Here's a conjecture, which may be in error. By and large, the monied classes don't surf the Net. They haven't the leisure. While there are exceptions, it seems unlikely that people with clout - and money is b**ls - have the time for blogging and prattling. Those who use the Net as a tool have a platform: animal rights legislation, to give only one of hundreds of examples - or lawyers, who use the Net for legal research. But likely as not, the bulk of surfers are a poor source for anyone needing contributions. They may donate once or twice. But then they tire, & then they lose interest, & then they're annoyed,& then they ignore the pleas for help.

What to do? Here's a suggestions or two, to buy time.

Do you live in a condo or in a house? If in a house, have you space for a garden? If so, could you plant a few seeds? A garden will pare your grocery bill down to a fraction of what you're having to pay for store-bought produce. True - you'll still need butter, sugar, coffee, milk, bread, blahblah. But you won't be paying $4.00 for three undersized beets drenched in 60 herbicides, pesticides & fungicides. If you haveno space for a garden,there are community pea patches & outlying farms that might let you have space to grow veggies,if you offer to pay for your water & share a portion of your harvest. You can save hundreds of dollars this way.
_________________________________________________

You may or may not have an interest in this - nor may you meet the qualifications - but here is a website which might have an office near where you live:NC DAAS://www.ncdhhs.gov/aging/scsep.htm The keyword here is SCSEP (see-sep). Government programs are being cut back, & the hours reduced -but SCSEP used to offer 4-hour per day jobs at $500 per month, which could lead to a fun managerial job, where you'd be driving a gov. car to adjoining counties, recruiting potential host businesses and matchinh them up with job-seekers.Won't desribe the program to you, as there is no room - but if you're unfamiliar with it,you can locate the info yourself, if you so wish.

Twenty dollars won't feed your kids for even one day, but nearly $900.00 in vet bills this year & nearly $400.00 per month in food prevent a more generous contribution.

Vandalisms & attempted break-ins have depleted the confidence required for a monetary transaction on the Net. Snail-mail, therefore, will have to do. If you can use this very small sum, send MB your mailing address,& he will forward it.

Best wishes to you - and bless your and your kitties' hearts (this from a hardened agnostic). xx


Dec 07, 2011
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my forced foster cats!
by: sharon

I too have too many cats for e to care for without going into financial debt i offered to foster cats for a period of 4 weeks i was asked to take 4 or 5 but by the time the rescue had finished i ended up with 16 this was supposed to be for the 4 weeks i could do this no big deal right !! well the rescue bailed on me when i questioned the vetting they would get so long story short I still have 10 of those foster cats now anywhere between 1 tear old to going on 4 years old ! . And no one wants them I've spent over $2000.00 dollars I couldn't afford on vetting with some help from wonderful friends i have no idea over the course of 14 months what I've spent on food and litter etc, I can't go on with this forever I'm not in the best health I've had one stroke since I began but I will not turn these cats over to a shelter either but I could sure use some help from a rescue or two i have even offered the rescue the adoption fees to keep i just want the cats to find good homes i care nothing for being reimbursed for the vetting!. that's my story <3


Dec 07, 2011
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the sad truth
by: Claire

The sad truth is there are more uncaring people in this world than there are people who are helping cats be rescued. I rescue (independently) and foster for my local Humane Society. I can NOT say no to an innocent furface who did not asked to be brought into this cruel world. Right now I do have more than I can afford and/or handle but I do what I have to in order to keep them safe. I will go without before I let them not have food, litter and medical care.

I have been successful in finding homes for many cats but for every cat I rehome, I take in 3 more it seems. I refuse to rehome a cat to anyone that seems suspicious and I always stay in touch with the new owner. I look at Craigslist everyday and it is so disheartening to see cat after cat and litter after litter being offered free to good home - knowing that very few of these babies will actually go to good forever homes. As people are losing jobs and losing incomes, more and more cats are being dumped shelters or just dumped period. I took in one cat that had been left with her sister in a carrier with an open can of cat food behind a dumpster in Atlanta - in the summertime.

I want to open my own rescue more than anything but lack the money and resources to do so. I pray everyday for this to happen as well as all animals to be safe. For now, I will continue to do what I have to in order to save those innocent cats.

I will also continue to support those who truly care for the cats and provide honest rescue. It is sad when large rescues will not become involved until publicity is involved and the word hoarder is tossed out there. There is a huge difference in hoarding and rescuing/becoming overwhelmed due to lack of help. People need to realize this and work together to save cats - not put down the ones who are honestly trying to save them.


Dec 07, 2011
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the sad truth
by: Claire

The sad truth is there are more uncaring people in this world than there are people who are helping cats be rescued. I rescue (independently) and foster for my local Humane Society. I can NOT say no to an innocent furface who did not asked to be brought into this cruel world. Right now I do have more than I can afford and/or handle but I do what I have to in order to keep them safe. I will go without before I let them not have food, litter and medical care.

I have been successful in finding homes for many cats but for every cat I rehome, I take in 3 more it seems. I refuse to rehome a cat to anyone that seems suspicious and I always stay in touch with the new owner. I look at Craigslist everyday and it is so disheartening to see cat after cat and litter after litter being offered free to good home - knowing that very few of these babies will actually go to good forever homes. As people are losing jobs and losing incomes, more and more cats are being dumped shelters or just dumped period. I took in one cat that had been left with her sister in a carrier with an open can of cat food behind a dumpster in Atlanta - in the summertime.

I want to open my own rescue more than anything but lack the money and resources to do so. I pray everyday for this to happen as well as all animals to be safe. For now, I will continue to do what I have to in order to save those innocent cats.

I will also continue to support those who truly care for the cats and provide honest rescue. It is sad when large rescues will not become involved until publicity is involved and the word hoarder is tossed out there. There is a huge difference in hoarding and rescuing/becoming overwhelmed due to lack of help. People need to realize this and work together to save cats - not put down the ones who are honestly trying to save them.


Dec 07, 2011
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Full House
by: WarmFuzzy's Shelter & Sanctuary

We work primarily with feral cats, tame them, adopt them. Some we have "rescued" from dire straits. Some of our cats are special needs, senior or hospice. In total we have 35. We had to finally say "No, we can't take in any more till some are adopted" & this kills me. Every day I see thousands of plea's for help to save a cat or dog.

Adoptions are down to zero & donations are down to just about that too. Our shelter was nearly destroyed by a tornado two years ago. June 2010 we finally got in a replacement shelter & this week just finished moving all the cats in although we are still trying to catch two cats that escaped from the old shelter.

My husband & I do all the work. I am constantly begging for donations or somebody to come help.

The mentality of the people in this country needs to change. There are so many people out there that don't know what is going on with the thousands of animals being killed, dumped or abused everyday. I think everybody who isn't in "rescue" should volunteer with a rescue. I think everybody should donate in some way to a local rescue/shelter instead of one of the "Big Guys" who don't actually rescue animals.

My husband was unemployed for 3 years, I became sick with a terminal illness & was eventually fired. Thankfully my husband found a job a few months back but now he is looking at possibly having cancer. I seriously don't know what I'm going to do if his test results come back positive.

Joyce E. Ellis
WarmFuzzy's


Dec 07, 2011
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False Figures
by: Elisa

People throughout the world who hear unemployment rates are down in this country should know it's a lie. Those numbers reflect the number of people drawing benefits. There are those who have exhausted every tier, in other words, been unemployed for 99 weeks. For those there will be no relief. They will no longer be listed as those drawing benefits so the unemployment percentage will go down as fewer are in the system.

People are in worse shape than ever. If you have a job, any job, you hang onto it for all it's worth. I work in a supposedly recession proof market as I work as a security officer hired by the companies with the big bucks. Even those are cutting back.

I just read an article that really pissed me off about dogs. It will be my next story and that's all I'm saying about it for now. Cats just get a bad rap every way they turn.


Dec 07, 2011
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Sad story
by: Michael

I found this a very sad story. It is first hand so carries weight. I guess it is the most vulnerable that suffer the most when there is economic problems. The rich are protected and they abandon the vulnerable. The cat companion is one of the most vulnerable family members.

I suppose this means more cats being killed at shelters. It is just mind boggling how big the surplus of cats is. I find it worrying because I don't see things changing on the economic front for a long time. Sorry, but national debt in the USA and Europe will stifle growth and prospects for a long time.


Dec 07, 2011
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Overloaded
by: AbbysAngels

So many of us are having this problem. I've had to turn away one after another, knowing they will be put down, but there is simply no where to put them. Different pet sites help, like Petfinder and Adopt-A-Pet, but you're right, even that isn't nearly enough. There seems to be a bigger push lately towards shelter dogs. Big companies advertising to adopt a shelter dog, etc. But there is never one mention made about shelter cats. I'm a freelance writer and look forward to being able to at least write and apply for grants. But that is yet again something I can't do until I can get my federal filing done. And the federal filing costs me only $1000 out of pocket. Why it is so expensive to get recognized as a nonprofit in this country is beyond me. You practically need a grant in order to be allowed to apply for any!
As for how I maintain? I work two jobs and freelance whenever I can. I'm lucky enough that I can put all of that back into my rescue. I keep my fosters down to no more than 2 kitties at a time, and I have to look myself in the mirror and say "NO. I know it's killing you, but you can't help any more until you get someone adopted." It's brutal, it's hard, and it's insanely frustrating to watch people walk around without a care in the world, oblivious to what is going on. In my opinion, EVERY PERSON who owns a cat should have to walk through the shelter the day before euthanasia is scheduled. They should have to look at every face and be made aware of exactly who and how many won't be there tomorrow. If everyone who owned an animal was required by law to do that, I'd predict a drastic drop in the number of people dumping animals. But maybe I'm just optimistic.


Dec 07, 2011
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My website
by: Elisa

If anyone would like to see my babies, the website is www.furbyshouse.com. There's a PayPal on the home page and also pages showing those up for adoption and how far the kitties have come under our care. Any help at all is appreciated. Do you all remember Furby? Well, I'm investing in larger litterboxes since he tries to dig to China when he poops. Don't know whether he's interested in the poop or the litter but he has a scratching good time in it.


Dec 07, 2011
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Hard times
by: Anna, Foster Mama

I have had to all but stop my fostering. Every cat rescue I've talked to is full. Nobody wants to foster because they are scared they will "get stuck" with the cats long term. The south is getting close to an epidemic on cats and it is the poor felines that are paying the price for irresponsible owners. All of my girls are spayed and all of my boys will be neutered shortly. Take responsibility for your pets.



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