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.
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.
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.