Why do we do what we do?
The cats we serve can have a good quality of life and live well, often for years, with proper care. We believe they deserve that opportunity. That may mean special diets, oral or injectable medications, or some combination of other needs–like our blind fellow rescued at a neighbor’s home with severe IBD, or the partially deaf guy that is highly allergic, or the little old man with a heart condition that gets medication in a dab of tuna, to name a few.
Many of the cats are rescued from community cat colonies. Putting cats out to fend for themselves seems to be what people do when they can’t deal with medical or behavioral changes. Often, the owner’s aren’t even aware that there’s a medical issue, such as loss of hearing, failing eye sight, lymphoma, or bladder infections. They only know the cat pees in the wrong place, throws up too much, or cries all night. It’s not unusual for sweet domestic kitties struggling to survive to appear at community cat feeders and be found by colony caregivers. These cats deserve better.
If a cat is injured or ill, it may be treatable and adoptable. On the other hand, it still may not be adoptable due to medical needs, a contagious disease, or an injury that requires special care. An injury may also substantially reduce survival skills for a community cat–such as the ability to run or climb. Even when we find owners and talk to them, there are times they refuse to spend money for medical care or keep the cat inside regardless of the danger. Most of those cases result in the owner allowing us to take custody. We don’t consider that an owner-release since the owner didn’t bring the cat to us, we went to them.
In a few cases of contagious disease, the cat may be healthy enough to live well for the rest of his/her life in a controlled setting that limits contact with other cats, to prevent the spread of a disease, such as FeLV. An FeLV cat can live well as an only cat or in a home with an FeLV positive roommate. They can also live well with non-FeLV cats if the relationship is harmonious. It’s not easily transmitted. We work toward adoption in these cases, barring any other disqualifying factors.
Why did we start Catnip Casa Cat Refuge?
Sadly, some problems are beyond handling, even for us, and our resources are limited. We must carefully screen cats to provide the level of care required physically and financially, as well as to keep our limited facilities healthy and maintain a positive environment for the feline residents. Our goal is to grow our network and resources. To do that we need to create a strong organization and community support. Many more people are willing to do hospice care for their pets with a bit of training and support. In addition, the aging human population means more aging and infirm pets lose their families. Those animals are difficult to place through shelter programs and often lose their lives. We want to add programs and resources to teach others to offer this type of care too.
Most cats at Catnip Casa Cat Refuge are not adoptable by common shelter standards or are not accepted at all. Cats, whether domestic or community cats, age. Some develop disabilities and diseases regardless of age. A number of the community cats receive enough socialization to make them treatable, or even adoptable, which is why we don’t automatically exclude them. Others found in colonies were never feral.
Whatever the special needs, all cats are truly amazing and deserve the opportunity for a safe and caring place to live to live their ninth life.