Friends of Companion Animals, Monroe’s only all cat rescue and adoption center, yet again came to the rescue of 40 felines of various ages at a single location in Monroe County in the Temperance area. This recent endeavor is the largest that the all-volunteer, nonprofit has faced since it rescued 33 cats single-handedly from one location in downtown Monroe in March 2021. Ten of those semi-feral felines are still looking for barn homes via their free barn cat program and one friendly cat, Tiny Tot, still needs her forever inside home.

 

It was discovered through various sources that the resident who had dogs on the property also had 40 cats in the single-family home that included 20 adults and 17 kittens to 3 nursing mother cats. FOCA then contacted the resident who said they were struggling financially and were unable to care for all the animals. Over the course of a few weeks FOCA collected and provided health care to all the cats, all of whom also required spay/neutering and medication for upper respiratory infections, which often happen in colonies such as these.

Charlie, the blind kitten, at home with his new sibling

 

Originally, an acquaintance of the surrenderer paid to have two of the 40 cats altered so they could be returned. However, upon seeing the cats’ condition the veterinarians were gravely concerned for their well-being and even suggested reporting the case to animal control for possible prosecution. Since the surrenderer worked willingly with FOCA to address the neglectful situation, shelter director Penny Bly simply wanted to get the cats to safety and into new homes that could provide proper care.

 

According to Bly, what started off as someone trying to help cats escalated into a hoarding case after a few litters because they were unaltered. It’s one of the many reasons FOCA is trying to create the first ever local low-cost spay/neuter clinic for feral cats in Monroe County.  But as she mentions, it’s something that requires community financial support from individuals and businesses in the area.

 

“We could have this clinic up and running next month if we had local sponsorship. We have veterinarians ready to go – we just need funding. Our rummage sale in March generated about half of the $20,000 we need to get started but we require financial support to see it come to fruition. We’ll be hosting the rummage sale again August 17th to 20th (Wednesday to Saturday) from noon to 5 pm in the hope of raising more capital. By having a clinic like this, it would cut down on events such as these. Many people don’t realize cats reproduce quickly and they can mate with siblings as young as 4-6 months old,” explains Bly.

Macy and her kittens

 

Director Bly says that’s the situation with some cats in this hoarding case. Since these litters are breeding with one another it leads to health issues for some of them. For instance, a kitten Charlie was born with no eyes and Spencer had a rare bladder condition from birth that was never addressed. Charlie, although blind, did find a forever home with a vet tech, but Spencer, however, wasn’t as fortunate –he had to be euthanized since he never received an operation that could have saved him if done earlier in his life.

 

“Don’t misunderstand. It’s always wonderful when the community wants to help cats in the area. But you need to know your limits,” says Bly. “Saving animals means more than just giving it a little food now and then and some shelter. It also means regular check-ups and providing extended care should they need it. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen in this case, but we’re trying to make it right and we hope that the community pitches in to help these cats.”

 

Bly says, “This project so far is over $5000 and growing. Add in the fact that the shelter, which we purchased in 2020, is seeking donations for a new roof, funds are tight to say the least. That means every donation goes a long way in keeping the rescue going.”

 

Bly added that the good news is that most of these cats are socialized and friendly. Now it’s just a matter of getting them matched into loving homes. She says if anyone would like to adopt, become a volunteer or make a donation to their care they can do so by visiting their website friendsofcompanionanimals.org. Plus, to create awareness of the over 200 cats in their care they’re offering a special in July and August. Adult cats are $60 each or two for $100. Likewise, kittens that are $90 each will be discounted at two for $150. Also in July, the resale shop at the shelter has 50% off toys and games (some exclusions apply).

 

“As we often tell people, get cats in pairs; it’s not a sales gimmick. Cats really do better together and since we have an abundance of felines it’s perfect. Costs to run the rescue are rising and next month we’ll probably have to raise our prices as well. So right now is a good time to get yourself a new family member of the four legged kind,” Bly remarked.

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FOCA Announces Feral Spay /Neuter CLINIC Plans with Rummage Sale

 

RE: FOCA Announces Feral Spay /Neuter Plans with Rummage Sale
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friends of Companion Animals, Monroe County’s only all cat rescue and adoption center, which rescued 33 cats at a single location in downtown Monroe in winter 2021, has a new venture – plans for a low cost feral spay/neuter clinic. The all-volunteer, nonprofit rescue established in 2011 is seeking donations to help fund the project, which would make it the only low-cost spay neuter clinic between Toledo and Downriver Detroit. They will kick off the endeavor by hosting an Indoor Rummage Sale fundraiser starting March 9th in their events building next to the shelter.

Director Penny Bly states, “The hoarding case we experience from last year is a prime example of how rapidly cats can reproduce and why we stress the importance of spaying and neutering pets, especially outdoor feral cats. Monroe, like most areas, has a serious overpopulation problem. As a rescue and adoption center, we find cats homes, but that’s only treating the symptom and not addressing the root problem. So, the only logical step is to host a spay neuter clinic in the events center next to the shelter.”

The clinic plans to serve only outdoor feral cats found by FOCA’s TNR program and by local Monroe County citizens who want to control the population of colonies they maintain. The cost is to be determined but it will include the spay/neuter, ear tip (where the top part of the ear is clipped to show it’s been altered) and a rabies vaccine. The low-cost service will try to remain competitively priced with nearby overworked low-cost clinics and help lessen their burden.

“Local low-cost clinics in southeast Michigan are overwhelmed. It can take weeks or months to get appointments because the need outweighs their resources through no fault of their own. The number of cats and people that need help are just enormous. But with financial support from the Monroe County community, and local businesses, Friends of Companion Animals will be able to help lighten the load and address the issue head on.”

Bly says at least four licensed veterinarians said they support the clinic idea and plan to be a part of the solution by performing the surgeries. She adds, “At first the clinic will be doing monthly or bi-monthly appointments. However, before we get to that point, there are supplies we need to acquire to get started — that includes everything from surgical instruments to patient tracking software and that’s where our fundraiser comes into play.”

Starting March 9th through the 13th and then again March 16th to the 20th, FOCA will have their Indoor Rummage Sale. It’s a rain or shine event where everything that’s raised will go toward the evolution of the new spay neuter clinic. In addition to the usual resale shop items, the sale plans to feature items not normally found in their store like furniture, office equipment, linens and other odds and ends. As for when the clinic will open, Bly says that depends on how much they raise and how soon.

“Essentially, the more donors we have who support the project, the sooner the clinic doors will open to area residents. We realize that times are tough financially for many people, but we’re hopeful that those who have the means – whether it’s individuals or businesses – will see the necessity here and contribute to the cause.”

Bly points out that the reason for this clinic doesn’t just benefit people who care for cats but the entire community. She says, “As a whole, it’s better for everybody when overpopulation is brought under control. We truly believe that together we can all make a difference because even five dollars from one person here and one person there really adds up quick and proves that even a small donation can make a large impact.”

To learn more or to contribute to the cause visit their site at www.friendsofcompanionanimals.org today.

FOCA Rescues 34 Cats in Monroe Home; Seeks Donations

 

Friends of Companion Animals, Monroe’s only all cat rescue and adoption center, recently came to the rescue of 34 cats at a single location in downtown Monroe. Although they have done smaller multi-feline rescues in the past, this recent endeavor is the largest that the all-volunteer, nonprofit has faced since its establishment in 2011.

It all started when a concerned mail carrier contacted Monroe County Animal Control (MCAC). They witnessed cats on the roof of what appeared to be an abandoned home along their route, according to Shelter Director Penny Bly. She explains, “Animal control instructed the mail carrier to contact us and after coordinating with MCAC regarding who will take the lead in this endeavor, FOCA volunteers jumped into action and secured the first initial batch of cats, which included seven felines.“

According to Bly, originally the property owner stated there were about 15 cats, but they later clarified that it was probably closer to 30. In truth, the total ended up being 34, which are all now secured at the Friends of Companion Animals rescue located in front of Detroit Beach in Monroe.

“As you would imagine, a number of these felines require serious medical attention. For example, two felines appear to have a genetic mutation where their front claws are growing abnormally so they will require a declaw to alleviate their pain. While another required a partial tail amputation due to exposed bone,” states Bly. “Others are battling vision issues, upper respiratory infections, and other ailments you see often with colony cats who are left without medical treatment.”

As for what will happen to the property owners for having these many cats in their possession without proper care, Bly is unsure. She says that’s a question for local law-enforcement and adds, “FOCA‘s main priority from the start is caring for the cats. We need to make sure that they are taken care of medically and then for those who are friendly we want them in loving homes. For those who might not be that friendly, because of lack of human interaction, we will place them in our barn cat program so they too can have an enjoyable life.”

Director Bly mentions that if readers would like to contribute financially to this project it would be extremely welcome. She states, “FOCA has set up fundraisers on our Facebook page and each day we are releasing images of the cats with links to make a donation for their care. All the funds raised through these programs will go towards making sure these cats are taken care of properly. For those not on Facebook, they can also make donations on our website www.friendsofcompanionanimals.org/donate.”

Bly mentioned that she’s extremely proud of her volunteers who worked in harsh conditions to secure these cats so they could have a better life. She’s also grateful for the help she’s received from all the volunteers who have been contributing their time to this case, whether it’s been data entry, medical procedures and fundraisers, just to name a few.

“This case is a prime example of how rapidly cats can reproduce and why we stress the importance of spaying and neutering pets, including outdoor feral cats, to alleviate unnecessary suffering. It literally does take a village to make Monroe a little brighter, so we are grateful to residents of the city and the surrounding areas who helped make this first leg of the rescue possible. Now that the cats are secure, the second and third legs begin which include medical care and fundraising, respectively. We already have the medical appointments so now it’s just a matter of generating the funds to cover those procedures. So again, all donations, no matter what size, will benefit our mission.

 

RE: FOCA Announces Building Purchase

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Friends of Companion Animals, Monroe’s only all-cat, non-profit rescue and adoption center, finally has a forever home of their own.  This week they purchased the buildings located in front of Detroit Beach off N. Dixie Hwy. in Monroe where they currently reside. The birth of the ‘FOCA campus’ will open the opportunity for more growth for the organization and more help to local cats, individuals and families in the coming months and years.

 

Rescue director Penny Bly, explains, “FOCA always leased our space in the last 9 years of our existence.  Being able to have a building, not to mention multiple buildings, is a dream come true. Our hope is it will continue to help local residents while helping control the feline population in Monroe County. But we couldn’t have done it without the generous support of our FOCA Friends.”  

 

Since 2011, FOCA has helped with a variety of programs over the years that include their Trap-Neuter-Release program, barn cats program, discount cats for seniors and the ever popular adoption center which brings in adopters from Monroe County, but also Wayne and Washtenaw Counties as well as Lucas County in Ohio. This year alone they’ve taken on ventures in Monroe that include mobile home TNR projects, rescue cases for felines in physical trouble and possible treatments for deadly feline diseases like FIP, which currently has no test and no medical-recognized treatment.

 

“2020 has been a rough year for everyone but we try to look for the bright spots. For example, two young women witnessed a cat thrown from a moving car on I-75 and rescued it from the freeway. They made their way to us where it received medical care thanks to our generous Facebook donors. Another example involves our TNR team that located a missing cat who was accidentally released by a shipping company that a family hired for their move. FOCA volunteers went nearly every day to the Welcome Center rest stop near Erie where it was lost and spoke with nearby residents. One caring Monroe citizen saw the cat on their surveillance camera and contacted our team. So, we staked out the location and caught the cat within 48 hours. But it took over 30 days and people – both at FOCA and everyday citizens – coming together to help an animal in trouble. Our volunteer even drove to Pennsylvania to meet the grateful New York family half-way to do the pet return. So again, in uncertain times like these, we look to these stories that illustrate the compassion of others.”

 

Bly adds that it’s that same caring and kindness from others that has made this purchase possible. FOCA is an all-volunteer organization with an assortment of generous people that include monetary donors, resale store shoppers, cat adopters, fans on social media who share posts and a team of dedicated site workers like the resale shop clerks, marketers or animal caregivers, who work 365 days a year. Since FOCA has little to no overheard, their fundraising efforts of the last 2 years helped them save money for the building down payment. The purchase, which includes the current structure that houses their shelter and resale store, also comes with the third building closest to Grand Blvd. at the front of Detroit Beach in Monroe.

 

“Our supporters, which we call FOCA friends, are the reason this purchase even happened. Although Huntington Bank is the one who truly owns the property now, our goal over these coming years is to continue our fundraising so our name will be on the deed free and clear someday. So, until that day comes, we’ll continue our bottle drive, monthly events and other fundraising projects.”

 

As for what happens next, Bly has some plans in the works and says, “There are a few ideas we’ve got for 2021 that we know will help our local community tremendously, but they’re a surprise for now. In the coming weeks, we’ll be researching and planning those ideas in greater detail, so we hope to have more exciting news soon.”

 

The shelter and resale shop are currently open to the public with limited capacity four days a week from Wednesday to Saturday Noon to 5 PM and you can learn more about the upcoming events at FOCA on their site friendsofcompanionanimals.org.

 

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Cats aren’t usually the first choice when it comes to getting pets for kids. They are always considered as cold, aloof, and therefore not suitable as companions for children. On the contrary, kitties can be the best friend that your kid would ever have at a young age.
Kids’ behavior and future outlook in life can be easily shaped by their environment, the people or in this case, even pets around them. Just like with dogs, children can also learn a lot from their companionship with the felines. Below are some of the life lessons that they can learn from them.

1. Responsibility
Having to take care of another creature promotes responsibility at a young age. Some cats are not that hard to maintain compared to dogs. This makes them perfect for kids as a companion. They’d learn to be responsible by doing little things such as feeding them, brushing their hair from time to time or just by emptying the cat’s litter box. This simple involvement with the welfare of a furry family member can go a long way as kids grow up.

2. Respecting boundaries
Not all cats are up to play all the time. Sometimes, they won’t be able to match the energy that a kid has. Cats appreciate a little time alone, especially after a long day. In fact, most kitties sleep from 16-20 hours a day. With a pet cat, kids will learn how to respect boundaries by learning when is the right time for play and for a time out. They’d also learn what part of their pets is okay to touch.
Cats are especially particular on this and can get a little snarky when they don’t like it. They’ll surely ask for some attention after a while though.

3. Social Skills
In connection with respecting boundaries, kids can also learn how their behavior affects their cats. Their pet cat can be their first friend that they can bond with. How the kids interact with their feline friend can help with their social interaction with human friends as they go on. As they interact with cats, they can learn some basic concepts such as friendship. For much younger kids, they can also learn to communicate since some cat breeds enjoy a little chit-chat.

4. Every action has a consequence
Cats are very gentle animals but like humans, they too can be irritated when provoked. Kids can be a little too active and pull on their tails or pet them too hard. Of course, some cats will react negatively to it. Their feline friend can either swipe and hiss at them or may even give them a few scratches. With this, kids can learn that their actions may induce negative reactions from others and they can get hurt in the process. This kind of experience will teach them to think before acting.

5. Good hygiene
Cats are notorious for their personal hygiene. It’s easy to litter-train them and they naturally groom themselves by licking their paws and coat.  Meanwhile, some kids can be stubborn when it comes to brushing their teeth or sometimes even taking a bath. Their pet cats can be a good example if they give their parents a hard time when it comes to these things. Kids can learn the importance of being clean from their feline friends.

6. Never give up
Children are a little bit sensitive and would easily cry whenever they get hurt. They might stop doing one thing just because they fell down once or they were affected negatively in the process of doing it. As you can observe, cats can be persistent when they want to do something. May it be climbing up a tall shelf or chasing down that red laser light. Although kids can’t literally learn to bounce back on the floor in all fours whenever they fall down just like cats do, they can bounce back from their failures and learn to never give up easily in every obstacle that they face.

7. Patience
A new pet cat may take some time to get used to its surroundings. At first, it can try to be alone and hide at corners. On the other hand, children can tend to be impatient when they want to do something, especially when there’s a new friend around. They need to understand that they have to give their pets time to adjust. They also need to be patient whenever they want to teach their pets new tricks or when they want to play. Kids can learn that they can’t get everything they want right away and that some things take time.

8. Circle of life
This may be the hardest lesson that kids might have to learn. Unfortunately, their pets can’t live as long as them. The average lifespan of a common cat is between 0-15 years, depending on its lifestyle. This means that they might experience an inevitable loss at an early age. Kids might not understand it at first but as they go on, they’d learn not to dwell too much on the death and loss but focus on the memories that they’d made with their furry companion instead.

Halloween Tips for Cats 


Five tips for keeping cats safe on halloween

Halloween is one of the most favorite times of the year for many people. It’s great to dress-up and give out candy to happy ‘trick or treaters’. Still, this all this fun we need to be mindful of its effects on our pets. Some pets love the commotion of Halloween and they even love to wear costumes or walk with their pet parents through the neighborhood. Others, however, might not. This is usually true of most cats. The commotion of shouting, ringing doorbells, etc. can make even brave cats and kittens scared. Sometimes they might run for cover in the house. At other times it might be out the front door. So here are five Halloween tips for cats so you can keep them safe this week as you celebrate.

1. Put your kitties in a separate room and keep the door shut. Cats and kittens are
FAST. The speed and nimbleness of a cat who is determined to escape the house is second to none.

2. Consider a collar for the evening if they don’t normally wear one. Even when confined, make sure they are wearing identification and/or has been microchipped. It’s also a good idea to keep them separate from your Halloween party guests at your home. With people coming and going it’s easy for them to slip out.

3. Keep Treats secure. Chocolate, while yummy to humans, can make cats and dogs sick, and sugar-free candy containing xylitol which can be deadly. Crinkly wrappers often mimic the sound of toys to cats like, and if accidentally ingested become harmful.

4. Avoid hazardous decorations. Although pumpkins and decorative corn aren’t considered nontoxic, they can produce stomach discomfort in pets. Furthermore, the fun, fake spider-webbing can be dangerous to kittens, cats and other pets, too. In addition to becoming tangled in it, it can be deadly when ingested.

5. Use pet costumes on a case by case basis. Yes, they can be photo worthy. But consider that animals, especially cats, rely heavily on all their senses to avoid danger. Costumes that cover ears impacts hearing. And some dress-up options interfere with their whiskers or their range of vision. It can make them feel vulnerable and raise your pets stress level. Some costumes might have potentially dangerous strings or ribbons too consider. The bottom line? While costumes make a great photo op, consider how your pet will respond and take the proper action.

These five Halloween tips for cats can help you make sure this Halloween is fun and happy time for everyone, including your feline (and canine) family members.

 

Cat Rescue:

Give Him a Second Chance 


“Chance” was found near PetSmart in Monroe, MI and brought into the store. Friends of Companion Animals (FoCA) cat rescue center was called to see if we could help him. A microchip scan revealed that he is been adopted in August 2017 at four months old to a home in Southfield Michigan from a rescue located in Walled Lake, Michigan. His adopters didn’t report him missing and they had him declawed, which is against the organization’s policies. Because of this contract breach, the rescue has retained custody of Chance.

Since he is now back in their possession, they are responsible for his medical costs and care. In fact his original foster from when he was a kitten will be fostering him during his recovery. After the veterinarian examination, it appears that his jaw is dislocated or broken. They surmised that the injuries he sustained are consistent with riding under or inside the engine compartment of a motor vehicle and ultimately falling from that vehicle. 

Currently, we are seeking funds for his vet care so any monetary help we can give is appreciated. You can send your checks with a ‘memo’ note that says ‘Second Chance Fund’ to:

Friends of Companion Animals

Attn: Second Chance Fund

2532 N. Dixie Hwy.

Monroe, MI 48162 

 

Below are some additional images but they are more graphic in nature. However, it illustrates the extent of his injuries and why funds for his care are desperately needed. 

 

 

Some Images Might be Unsettling

Trigger Warning