Ever wonder what’s actually involved in making Forgotten Felines & Fidos, Inc. purr? Besides the 100+ cats and kittens who live there?
It’s a pretty intricate balance, requiring a lot of dedication from our amazing volunteers. If we look at the shelter as a whole, we’re broken down into a few key areas. They include:
- facilities and property maintenance
- cat care
- volunteer coordination
- fundraising, marketing and publicity
The two people who have dedicated their lives to this organization — who work tirelessly on behalf of the myriad cats and kittens we care for every day — are Sue and the late Dick Bowman, both volunteers. With Dick’s recent passing, other volunteers have taken on additional responsibilities since Dick contributed in so many ways on a daily basis.
Facilities and property maintenance
This is obviously the core mission of the organization. FF&F is a no-kill shelter! Actually we were one of the first no-kill shelters in the area. And we are truly no kill. The leukemia cottage is a perfect example of this. We don’t euthanize cats and kittens who have feline leukemia, like many other organizations do.
“We really want to know our animals,” explained Sue. “We believe these wonderful cats can have fulfilling lives and we aim to provide them with the best lives possible while they’re with us. Leukemia or not, we really want to focus on the animals and their needs.”
So, back to cat care. There’s a ton involved here from making sure our licenses are current to dealing with the pharmaceutical accounts to ensure we have the proper medications on hand when illnesses crop up, to handling more urgent and complicated situations. Recently we brought in 11 kittens from from a feral colony, and eight of them had issues with an eye, requiring removal.
We now have two surgery days where we neuter, spay and vaccinate cats and dogs who are brought into the shelter by local pet owners, and we have a TNR (trap, neuter and release) program for feral cats/colonies.
Then there’s the regular feeding, cleaning and loving all of our cats and kittens! All of this means we have to stay on top of supplies and ordering, deliveries, and so on, to ensure we always have enough wet and dry food, litter, toys, treats, cleaning supplies and laundry detergent for the 70+ loads of laundry we do weekly.
We work closely with our vet, Dr. Jeanette Maucher, to ensure our cats are healthy. The vet staff, who are part-time, are actually the only paid staff at FFF. Everyone else is a volunteer. We are please to welcome Dr Jeanette Maucher to the Forgotten Felines and Fidos, Inc. Team
There are about 30 shelter volunteers who come regularly and clean, care for the cats, run adoption days, help with intake and surgery, coordinate foster care, and coordinate/staff events, write and distribute newsletters, handle the finances for the organization, thank donors, and repair cat towers, among many, many other things. Nothing would work without their dedication and their efforts are truly appreciated.
So what’s a typical day like?
It generally starts with volunteers coming in around 7:30 or 8 am to start cleaning the barn condos, scooping litter, and feeding and giving water to the cats in the condos and cages, and laundry. Sue and other volunteers start with medication and wet food around 8 am. Other volunteers start showing up around 8:30. They finish the barn and clean other areas like the leukemia cottage, the basement, the house, and the adoption room. With 100+ cats and kittens, there’s a lot to clean (and then there’s playtime!). If it’s a surgery day, volunteers manage the drop-off and pick up processes, all paperwork and anything else that comes up surrounding surgeries.
There are generally 3-4 hours of phone calls that various volunteers handle daily. We get lots of calls about adoptions, surgery, taking in cats (lots about taking in cats!!), and myriad random questions.
“We try to make sure everyone gets a personal phone call returned,” said Karen Sweeney, president of the board. “It’s important that everyone who calls Forgotten Felines has confidence in us and that we’re working hard every day to the benefit of our cats and kittens. I think developing that relationship with someone, even over the phone, goes a long way.”
Sue deals with sick-cat emergencies, and cat-specific issues, and ordering food and other vet supplies, and she even picks up the 40 bags of litter we go through each week.
Pretty soon it’s dinner time, and time for nighttime meds, making sure water dishes are filled and getting the cats settled for the night. Lights out and it starts again in the morning!
“It’s truly a labor of love,” added Sweeney. “With essentially an entire volunteer organization, it takes a village and we accomplish a great deal with our limited resources.”
“To everyone who supports us by attending our events, donating, choosing us via Amazon Smile, adopting cats and kittens from us, or volunteering your time, a huge thank you. Without you, we could not fulfill work to provide these amazing little creatures with good lives in the shelter or with wonderful forever homes.”