Winter 2022 Newsletter

Cat a black and white tuxedo kitty sitting on cabinetHi everyone! Cat and everyone here at Catnip Casa with two legs and four wants to thank you for your support this year. You are the heroes. You are the reason we can do what we do for the seniors, special needs, our new young family of kitties, and the community.

This has been a busy year in so many ways. The weather has been colder and hotter than ever before. Because of that and the likelihood of challenging temperatures going forward, the board decided to invest in moving the community cats into an indoor catio.

Anna is at least 17 years old, Extra isn’t far behind. Temperature extremes are dangerous for them, even with the help of coolers and coop heaters. It just isn’t enough. Then, when we added the young family we rescued on the property, the challenges grew. There was more space to heat and cool, maintain safe food in outdoor conditions, and keep everything relatively bug free. That’s a lot of work in bad weather conditions for caregivers too.

What is an indoor catio?

Our indoor catio is built inside a garage that has insulated doors and a mini-split heating and cooling unit for temperature control. The catio structure is professionally built and carefully designed to provide a nice transition area for kitties used to living in nature. It offers lots of stimulation physically and mentally with climbing shelves, bird mobiles, greenery–and even cat video tv. We can also open or close doors to adjust the living area depending on how the kitties get along together.

We put safety first!

The garage also houses the other big project, which is a storm shelter large enough for all of the animals and two caretakers. Again, the extreme weather made it important to consider. I’m sure we don’t have to tell you most homes are not built to stand up to strong storms. We were lucky when the edge of a tornado only did minor damage in 2015. Two days later, the entire property flooded. You can see the pictures on our website.

Our primary foster home, where the cats have resided exclusively since 2020, also has a whole-house natural gas generator. It’s a substantial expense. Thankfully, it was installed as a personal expense by two board members. In addition, every room contains working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and there are cameras in the catio room that run 24×7.

Your donations are dedicated to the kitties.

The improvements were facilitated by a grant from the Muriel Jo White Trust that we received as a participant in Amplify Austin in 2022. These additional facilities would not have been possible without it. Our budget for food and veterinary care is rising too fast. The flood in 2015 literally required years of work to recover. Many funds we would have spent doing these things earlier went to rebuild and maintain damaged property and buildings.

As you know, we participate in GivingTuesday and Amplify Austin every year, and many of you donate during those events. Thank you for your support during our fundraising events. The extra grants and matches available to us during big events help build a foundation for our work all year.

TNR – More Important Than Ever

Most of you also know we support TNR (trap, neuter/spay, release). Of course, we also provide ongoing resources for those that remain on our property and advise others to do the same. Sometimes, that’s called TNRM (trap, neuter/spay, release, and maintain). In many cases, we provide temporary support and help to find resources.

After one to three years of clinics being shut down or closed permanently, loss of free spay/neuter resources, staffing challenges, Covid, and lack of access to veterinary care, the problem exploded. Below is a link that explains the depth of the problem. So, I won’t rehash what they already explain so well. The care crisis affects all of us, not only the community cats or rescue organizations. We continue to do our part by offering education, resources, and funds when we can.

“In terms of access to affordable spay/neuter services in a timely manner, we are set back twenty years!”

What’s happening in 2023?

We are committing to do more to support TNR and help regain the pre-pandemic success in our community. We can’t take in more cats at this time due to the rising costs, challenges accessing medical care, and the increase in care needed as current residents age, but we can continue to help with resources, education, and training for people dealing with senior and special needs cats.

Our volunteer program is gradually getting started again too. We also have a great virtual volunteer. Liz is the magician behind all those cute social media posts. Without her, you’d miss many of the happenings here because I just don’t have that many hands. Thank you, Liz!

We have several volunteer opportunities posted on our website and will gradually increase onsite volunteers. Take a look at what we need and send in an online application if you’d like to help. Remember to check out the many ways to help every day without cash too.

Have a wonderful holiday season and a very special year in 2023. Remember to check our Paws with Penny posts for quick updates between newsletters. We also post the newsletters in case you miss one.

Please remember the kitties on GivingTuesday, Nov. 29, this year!

Our deepest gratitude for your support and the love you send our way.

From the board, the cats, and the volunteers