My “Fishing Trip” with Nebraska’s TNR Groups

In a Trap-Neuter-Return program, community cats are humanely trapped, brought to a veterinarian to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, eartipped, and then returned to their outdoor home. —Alley Cat Allies A managed Trap-Neuter-Return colony has a caregiver who monitors the cats, captures any that need veterinary care, and traps any newcomers to be sterilized and vaccinated. A properly managed colony is a health, stable colony in which no kittens are born. —Husker Cats I believe Trap-Neuter-Return is the current best solution to cat homelessness. For that reason, I consider TNR groups an integral member of the animal welfare village, and … Continue reading My “Fishing Trip” with Nebraska’s TNR Groups

My “Fishing Trip” with Nebraska’s Cat Welfare Groups

The annual statistics for the number of abandoned cats in the United States is overwhelming: about 3.2 million enter shelters, 1.4 are euthanized, and 40 million are homeless. Nearer to home, the statistics of cats euthanized in just Omaha and Lincoln are just as staggering: About 4,100 cats entered the Nebraska Humane Society (Omaha) in 2016 with 2,900 being euthanized, and about 1,600 cats entered the Capital Humane Society (Lincoln) with close to 500 being euthanized. Given the magnitude of the problem, what can any of us do to make a difference? I emailed Nebraska’s cat welfare groups to find … Continue reading My “Fishing Trip” with Nebraska’s Cat Welfare Groups

Adventures in Fostering: The Adoption Process

People seem to have a love/hate relationship with pet shelters and rescues, and volunteers at shelters and rescues seem to have a love/hate relationship with adopters. Adopters complain that rescues are too strict and say that next time they’ll just adopt from a humane society. Shelter/rescue volunteers complain that people don’t understand that adoption takes time and that even finding homes for kittens is hard. Although I respect no-kill shelters and animal rescues, I must admit that until this winter my sympathies have lain with potential pet adopters. I wondered along with them why having an unfenced yard could mean … Continue reading Adventures in Fostering: The Adoption Process

Adventures in Fostering: Love Letter to Onyx

Dear Onyx, Thank you for coming into our lives. You’ve brought us many happy moments. We love how affectionate and playful you are. Now that you’re healthy, you’re also starting to explore and show your unique quirks, which is equally fun to see. From the moment we first held you at the Capital Humane Society, we knew that you had lots of love to give. Yes, you might have clung to us out of fear, but you also kissed me with your tiny tongue. When we finally got to bring you home, it didn’t take long before you wanted to … Continue reading Adventures in Fostering: Love Letter to Onyx

Adventures in Fostering, Part Three

Onyx peered through the top of her carrier. Andy and I had brought her with us on our weekly visit to his parents. She was in a strange new place, surrounded by new people, new noises, new smells. But suddenly familiar hands were reaching for her. When I picked Onyx up, she snuggled into my soft pink sweater. “Do you need to use the litter box?” I asked her. I carried her to the bathroom, closed the door behind me, and placed her into a portable litter box. Nervous in the unfamiliar environment, Onyx lost no time in hiding behind … Continue reading Adventures in Fostering, Part Three

Adventures in Fostering, Part Two

Her weight had started to climb, but something still seemed amiss. Whenever Andy or I entered the guest room, the little black kitten was lying down? Shouldn’t a kitten do more than lie down? Shouldn’t she be playing? One evening, Andy tossed a fluffy yellow ball her way. Onyx sat upright but otherwise didn’t move, not even when Andy and I tried to play ‘keep away’ with her. Another evening, I dangled a pink plush mouse near her. Again, despite her green eyes sparking with curiosity, Onyx made no attempt to play. Even though she snuggled into us and purred … Continue reading Adventures in Fostering, Part Two

Adventures in Fostering, Part One

Plaintive meows caught her attention as she headed inside her home for the night. Scurrying away from her porch were two tiny kittens. The woman had a dog crate handy inside and she retrieved it now to try to capture these scrawny black cats. They’re too small and too young to be outside. Were they even six weeks old yet. If a fox or some other predator didn’t kill them, they could easily be crushed under a car’s tires. The woman shivered. This cold snap was typical of Nebraska weather in fall. It was not the time for such little … Continue reading Adventures in Fostering, Part One