Interested in helping feral cats? Join me for a special Trap Neuter Release (TNR) workshop at the Greater Birmingham Humane Society on May 3rd facilitated by Alley Cat Allies, a national organization. See flyer attached.
39 cats from a home in Chilton County Al were trapped by me and 3 great volunteers recently. 39 cats that will live a better life and not reproduce. Their caretaker was overwhelmed and so happy to have our help.
In a couple of weeks we will trap a 20+ colony in Homewood, AL for another overwhelmed caretaker.
Over the last year I have been able to trap 225 cats either as a solo TNR project or on behalf of kind-hearted folks who cared for the cats. Your gifts have supported that work and continue to help me feed a feral cat colony in South East Lake and a feral dog group also in South East Lake.
The kitten season is upon us so I expect to receive many calls for help this year too. I also hope to focus on some large feral colonies that have formed around apartment complexes and businesses. I have identified some other trapper volunteers and am developing a core group of dependable folks willing to assist with these projects.
In July, the Best Friends Animal Society will hold its annual no kill shelter conference in Atlanta - close enough for me and others from Alabama to attend. I would like to attend and take along at least 2 other folks from the Birmingham area so we can accumulate and share the knowledge to benefit Alabama cats and dogs.
My South East Lake Neighborhood Association (one of 99 in Birmingham) has formed the first Animal Welfare Committee of any neighborhood group and I am chairing that committee. The majority of animals picked up or taken to the former animal control office were from our 35206 zip code.
We will worked closely with the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, the Alabama Spay/Neuter Clinic and other animal rescue groups in metro Birmingham as well as Birmingham's own Animal Control Officers to find solutions to the extreme number of stray, abandoned, chained and abused animals in our community.
If you wish to support this work or sponsor a cat trap adventure or help sponsor our Alabama group to attend the Best Friends Conference it would be greatly appreciated.
The photos are of two recent trapped cats - part of the group that are NOT contributing kittens this spring!
The photo on the left shows my most recent Trap/ Neuter/Return capture - Midnight. He is one of 6 ferals I am trapping for a nice cat loving couple in Irondale, AL. Once they are spayed/neutered, the couple will continue to care for them. Lucky cats.
The middle photo is of Christmas, a feral I was feeding and trapped at a vacant house in South East Lake in Birmingham. He was part of a colony of at least a dozen cats at that house. The other photo shows him with his new Mom after he was adopted. He is now called Oz and he is one lucky kitty.
So far I have trapped and had fixed 11 cats from that same house. 4 have been adopted, 4 brought to my house to be socialized so they can be offered for adoption, and 3 that were fixed but were so feral as to be unadoptable so they were returned to the location. I go each morning to feed them (and others I am sure).
So far, I have trapped 16 cats at a South East Lake home as part of the Fix 35206 program of the Alabama Spay/Neuter Clinic which offers spay/neuter and a rabies shot for $10 for anyone living in that zip code. I have been active in advertising that program in South East Lake to pet owners too.
For you dog lovers (I am one too) - I have "adopted" a pack of feral dogs/puppies living in an abandoned apartment building in South East Lake. I feed them every day and am developing a plan to get them fixed and adopted.
In early January, I trapped 35 cats over 2 days at a rural home in Jemison, AL in a joint project of Alley Cat Allies and the Alabama Spay/Neuter Clinic in Irondale. The cats were all spayed/neutered and returned to the home where they were trapped and where the family will continue to feed and care for them. There were 18 male cats and 17 female cats. Just think how many kittens would have been born in that group had they not been fixed? It's mind boggling.
Thankfully, I have recruited 3-4 volunteers who are willing and able to assist me in trapping the larger colonies in the future.
It is definitely the best use of my volunteer time and of your monetary gifts right now to do this TNR work. Kitten season will soon be here so the more we spay/neutered now the fewer kittens born on the streets.
I haven't lost sight of the need for a sanctuary in Alabama for the elderly and disabled cats or cats whose owner has died or is terminally ill that need such a place but that will take some time and a lot of money to develop.
Today is National Spay Day - 200 cats are being fixed in Alabama at 3 spay clinics. At least one of those 200 is one I trapped - Midnight.
Gifts can be made for the TNR work or for the sanctuary project. All will be appreciated. Your volunteer time to help in trapping projects will also be welcome.
It's been a busy year and I cannot believe it is almost Christmas! I have learned more about the sheer enormity of the feral and stray cat population in Alabama, particularly Birmingham, and come to recognize the large number of cat loving people housing/feeding a dozen or more cats for lack of homes for them. It is obvious that a cat sanctuary as large as Birmingham's Legion Field would be filled to capacity within weeks if it were opened and the problem still wouldn't be solved.
Over the last two years, I have focused most of my spare time (I work part-time), money, car, gas and your gifts on the Trap/Neuter/Release program (TNR) advocated by groups like Alley Cat Allies and which is starting to be supported by humane societies and other rescue groups.
I have trapped or assisted in trapping dozens of feral cats and worked with the local Alabama Spay/Neuter Clinic and other rescue groups to get them spayed and neutered. Some I have been able to get adopted or housed with a rescue; others are cared for by kind souls at their homes. Thanks to gifts of cash and food, I have been able to pay for many surgeries and provide cat food for those feeding feral colonies. I am also feeding two colonies of cats in my neighborhood and getting them fixed. One group lives in an abandoned home and another in an alleyway running behind several abandoned homes.
I have come to realize that the strongest need seems to be for a facility that will provide life time care for elderly and disabled cats and/or those whose owners have died or have terminal illnesses and whose families cannot or will not provide for them once their owner has died. That will take funds for a building and land and staff to care for the cats.
I am currently focused on a program run by the Alabama Spay/Neuter Clinic in Irondale, AL called 35206 FIXED. Most animals picked up or taken to the Birmingham/Jefferson County Animal Control come from the 35206 zip code. Through January 31 anyone living in that zip code can bring in their dog(s) and or cat(s) and for $10 each get them spayed or neutered and get a rabies shot. There is no income requirement - just identification that you live in that zip code.
I am assisting several people who feed feral cats trap them and get them to the clinic. Over the last two months I have taken 14 cats to the clinic and there are dozens more scheduled to be trapped.
Thank you for your support and encouragement for my work. Your generosity has made it possible for me to help many animals that had no other advocate.
2013 began with the rescue of 6 feral cats from the South East Lake community. Blue (in the photo) and a tabby male were neutered and adopted together by a lucky family. The two feral kittens (Tabitha and Cream Puff) were brought to my house for socialization and future adoption. They are still here. Tabitha is a tough nut to crack but Cream Puff is socializing well. The other 2 adults (very feral and thus unadoptable) males were released after being neutered and are being fed/cared for by a kind neighbor who worked with me in trapping them.
The year is ending with the rescue of 5 kittens - one, the only female (a calico), was immediately adopted by the vet who checked them over. Two of the other 4 (orange/yellow and white males) were adopted by the same family and are happy as can be. I receive good reports from their new family. The other two were taken in by a kind-hearted vet with a pet adoption center in his practice.
In between these, another dozen kittens/adult cats were rescued and the adults neutered/spayed. The Greater Birmingham Humane Society adopted four of these kittens to furever homes. The owners of the adult cats weren't financially able to neuter/spay them so thanks to your contributions we were able to do so. The adults (and all the kittens now) are with their owners and out of the kitten production business.
Research and planning about the best way we can establish a successful and financially stable sanctuary in Alabama continues with like minded Alabama rescue folks and organizations like Best Friends Sanctuary in Utah. In 2014, I and another volunteer plan to visit that sanctuary to receive training.
I am grateful to those who have contributed over $3,500 in 2013 toward our $15,000 seed fund goal and to Conservation Alabama Foundation which donated a Toshiba laptop computer to the Sanctuary project when they reduced their office equipment inventory recently.
2014 should be a banner year for our cat sanctuary project with your continued support.
The Birmingham area night temperatures will fall into the 20s later this week -- not good for cats who are outside.
A volunteer and I will rescue 3 half grown kittens tomorrow morning to keep them safe from the cold. The kitten's owner has lost his job and he and his family are losing their home and cannot care for the cats.
Of course we don't have the sanctuary yet so continue to work with other rescues and volunteers to do what we can for cats like these.
If interested in adopting one or more of them, please let me know. Photos will be on the site this week. There are two orange tabbies and one calico.
Thanks to the support of donors to the sanctuary project, they will be checked by a vet, given their shots, dewormed and defleaed, and spayed or neutered before adoption.
If you can't adopt but CAN make a donation to help us care for cats such as these, please do so today and thank you!
Some Good News- the kittens in the photo that were rescued two weeks ago are doing well and at least 3 of them have been spoken for. # 4 needs a bit more time to mature before being adopted.
After much thought and consultation with some cat rescue folks, a review of our priorities and assessment of our finances, it was decided to forego attending the No Kill Shelter meeting in Jacksonville, FL and instead plan to attend a week long sanctuary training session at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah in early 2014.
While it is important to promote a community wide no kill shelter program, this proposed sanctuary project is about establishing a cage free sanctuary for adult or senior cats whose owners are ill or deceased and cats that are otherwise considered unadoptable. Learning the how-tos of actually operating a sanctuary will be a wiser use of our limited funds.
In the meantime, you will be pleased to know that this last week the Alabama Cat Haven Sanctuary project was able to assist a disabled veteran and his wife get their female cat spayed AND get her 4 kittens to a no-kill shelter for adoption. One of those kittens has already been adopted into a Forever Home.
Next week, we will assist in the trapping of 4 adult cats to be spayed/neutered and hopefully take another set of kittens to the no-kill shelter.
While we go through the long process of setting up the sanctuary, including raising the funds to build a specially designed facility, we will continue to work with individuals and rescue organizations to trap/neuter or spay as many cats as we can to reduce the population of cats/kittens in metro Birmingham.
Since the last update and thanks to your support, the two feral kittens were trapped and spayed, making a total of 5 females cats spayed from that same area (Centerpoint). The birth of dozens of homeless kittens have been prevented as a result.
We are now lying in wait for the male (father of the last two) so we can get him neutered!
Since announcing the dream of a cat sanctuary, I've received dozens of calls and emails from folks in need of help. I've helped as I am able working through local animal rescues but everyone is filled to capacity. The need is great.
I am getting very excited about the upcoming October Best Friends Society No Kill Shelter Conference in Jacksonville, FL. Your donations are making it possible for our proposed Sanctuary representatives to attend. I
nformation we get there plus nationwide contacts we will make, will be invaluble in helping develop our business plan to insure we have a successful cat sanctuary to serve metro Birmingham.
In addition to always needed financial contributions, donations of cat food, litter, food bowls, dog houses (cats use them too), etc. in good condition are welcome and will be distributed to the kind hearted folks who are caring for feral cats after they are spayed/neutered. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange pick-up.
The photo accompanying this update is of a kindergarten facility built in the shape of a cat! I think it is a great idea for a possible design for our future Alabama Cat Haven/Sanctuary!
As summer fades and fall approaches so will begin a more intense and focused effort to transform a dream into a reality: a sanctuary just for homeless and unadoptable cats.
I have found some promising leads on start up grant funding to help us reach the $15,000 seed fund goal and am writing the grant applications now. Of course, your support will be gratefully appreciated and thanks again to all of you who have already provided some base funding.
I and another volunteer are set to attend the national Best Friends No Kill Shelter Conference in mid-October in Jacksonville, Florida. Next spring, if funding allows, we will attend an intense week long training at Best Friends Shelter in Utah.
Next week I will trap/have neutered two kittens born this spring whose mother was trapped and spayed after the kittens were weaned (along with two other females). They are being cared for by a kind woman who is providing them shelter and food. We also hope to trap the very feral father cat too in the process!
I have also provided small amounts of support to a couple of local no kill shelter rescue groups.
I want to update everyone on the status of the cat retirement haven/sanctuary project. Nothing ever moves quickly enough for me, but there is progress:
As of today, we have received donations totalling $2,025 toward the Seed Fund Goal of $15,000. Thank you, supporters!
Because of those donations, I (and another volunteer) will be able to attend the Best Friends No Kill Shelter Conference in Jacksonville, FL October 10-13.
I recently assisted a kind hearted animal lover in trapping some feral cats and taking them to the Spay/Neuter Clinic in Irondale. Another 3 female cats in the Centerpoint area have now been spayed.
One was already in very early pregnancy and the other two in heat. Think of the number of kittens that this action kept from being born and perhaps enduring a horrible life on the streets. There are still two kittens that we will trap when they are old enough to get them neutered. She will continue to provide food and water for them.
We received a much welcome donation of 100 lbs. of top of the line dry cat food in 5 lb bags. I shared it with 3 rescuers who have spayed/neutered and are caring for a total of 30 cats.
Donations are still needed and will be greatly appreciated.
Almost $2,000 has been contributed toward our goal of $15,000 to "plant the seeds" to grow the Alabama Cat Retirement Haven/Sanctuary. You may support this effort by making an online gift here OR by mailing a check payable to Kathy Stiles Freeland at 8549 Valley Hill Drive, Birmingham, AL 35206.
We will utilize the mentoring services/training of Best Friends Animal Society, a leader in the no kill shelter/sanctuary movement. Its mission is working toward a time when there are no more homeless animals. ACRH/S plans to send at least two volunteers to a Best Friends sponsored national conference in Jacksonville, FL in October followed by a week long intense training session at its Utah Sanctuary if the funds are available. Work has begun on the organizational paperwork needed in order to apply for IRS 50l(c)(3) status. For more information about Best Friends visit www.bestfriends.org.
Yahoo! Thanks to some wonderful supporters today, we have surpassed $1,000 in gifts so far or 6.83% toward the goal of $15,000 -- the seed money needed over the next 6 months to get this project moving. I am blessed to have people who believe in this cause. Thank you! Share the site with your Facebook friends too, please.
Wow. It is humbling to see the support that this dream has. It will take a lot of hard work and effort on many people's part to make it grow from dream to reality but it's on its way. Thanks to those who believe in making it happen. $675 raised to date gets us to 4.5% of the goal. It is not just the dollars that is being offered, it is volunteer labor and suggestions for sources of other funding I can try for -- thanks all! And it's those who can't give yet but have pledged a gift down the road. Will keep you updated on progress.
$375 was donated yesterday toward my goal of $15,000 to "seed" the start of my new nonprofit to provide a safe, cage- free sanctuary for homeless, elderly and unadoptable cats in Alabama! Hope others will join them today. Thank you!
It is time to improve the lives of cats in metro Birmingham by: (1) Reducing the sheer numbers of feral cats through Trap Neuter and Release programs; andBlack Bart - once a feral now an indoor love bug
(2) Developing a cage-free home/sanctuary for elderly, disabled cats or cats whose owners have died or have terminal illnesses.
I ask you to join me in making it happen by making a gift to a "seed" fund for the project.
Almost daily I get an email or phone call from an animal rescuer or a friend begging for help. Sometimes it is on behalf of an elderly or critically ill person who can no longer care for their cat(s) and has no one to care for the cat (s). Other times, it is begging for a place for an unadoptable adult, injured or permanently disabled cat.
Sadly, there is usually no place for that elderly, disabled or unadoptable cat to be taken or often the shelter which does take it cannot get it adopted and it is condemned to either a caged existence or euthanized.
This dream began taking shape in my head and heart as I became more and more involved with animal rescue and saw this need. My vision is to one day have a retirement home/sanctuary located on a large tract of land within Jefferson County, especially designed and built for cage free living for unadoptable, elderly, or disabled cats.
Until that dream can become a reality, I want to build a team of cat trappers who can help me reduce the huge population of feral cats in our community by TNR methods and raise funds to get them fixed and assist in feeding colonies of feral cats.
Why have I decided to take this on?
Because I am a cat lover and rescuer and have been all my life.
I recently retired from a fulfilling full time 30+ year professional career as founder/Executive Director of two conservation organizations in Alabama. I was fortunate to be able to protect some great wild places that are home to incredible Alabama wildlife. I now work part-time as a pet sitter so I can devote the rest of my time to cat rescue and development of this sanctuary.
While my professional career focused on saving nature and native wildlife, I have rescued countless cats and dogs since I was a child. As a 9 year old, I decided I wanted to "raise cats" when I grew up.
I am a trained Trap/Neuter/Release volunteer and work with numerous animal rescuers in Alabama. I spend a good bit of my time trapping cats at abandoned properties or for those who cannot trap them and transport them back and forth to the local spay clinic. Part of the dream is that this sanctuary will encourage spaying/neutering of cats and help people get that done.
It will educate cat owners on how they can keep their cats indoors to protect them and wildlife (especially birds) and yet give the cats access to sun and fresh air. It will secure good homes for cats that are adoptable. It will work with Alabama animal rescue groups to build a stronger network that is mutually supportive for the good of all those doing important rescue work. Hopefully, this one can serve as a proto-type for similar sanctuaries in other parts of Alabama.
These "seed" funds will be used to develop the plan for this project and its leadership under the guidance of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah, a renown leader in the no-kill animal shelter movement.
It will pay for legal services to incorporate, create by-laws and apply for the important 50l (c)(3) nonprofit status from IRS. It will pay for development of a business plan to make sure it is financially and operational stable, it will pay for tuition, travel and lodging for a sanctuary training session for at least two attendees at Best Friends sanctuary in Utah. It will cover the costs of basic office/computer equipment and supplies.
The success of this seed fund campaign will show community support for the project to potential individual, corporate and foundation donors who will be asked for funds to acquire land, build the facility and staff it. I hope you will lend your support to help me make this dream a reality for those Alabama cats in need of a safe haven.
For you dog lovers (and I am one): I am focusing on a cat sanctuary now because a greater number of cats are euthanized each year for lack of homes than dogs in Alabama. However, my hope is that this project, once successful, can be replicated in other communities in Alabama and can be expanded to accommodate dogs.
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