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04 Feb 23 194 0 0

Save a kitten this holiday season

Cool Story - Save a kitten this holiday season

Kitten Season is defined by the Oshkosh Area Humane Society (OAHS) as the warm and moderate-weather months when most cats have their kittens. Kitten Season, which traditionally lasts from May to September, is increasingly extending into October and November due to climate change. This means that there will be a lot of kittens looking for homes.

"It's only natural that when spring approaches, we see an inflow of cats and kittens," said Cheryl Rosenthal, OAHS Education and Communications Coordinator. "It appears that, especially in colder weather, people are finding cats and kittens in their garages, wood piles, and under their cars."

The Oshkosh Police Department was originally in charge of OAHS. Joni Geiger, the inaugural Executive Director, sent a letter to the press in 1990 because she was dissatisfied with the way the local 2,600-square-foot animal shelter was being operated.

"After writing this essay, she discovered that seven other individuals felt the same way she did, and they founded a group called Friends of the Shelter," Rosenthal explained. "This non-profit organization comprised of animal-loving individuals began doing bake sales and raffles to collect funds for the shelter."

After roughly a year, the city of Oshkosh approached the charity and requested that they take over the shelter. OAHS was founded in 1998. The crew felt constrained by the small shelter and decided to purchase a 13,000-square-foot structure with OAHS funds, annual interest, and donations.

“We are a non-profit organization; we work very closely with the police department, we have a contract with the city of Oshkosh to take in strays and we also have a budget contract,” Rosenthal said. "We earn approximately $95,000 per year from the city for that contract; yet, our current running cost at the shelter is $1.7 million."

Foster homes are a big assistance in the operation.

"People should foster just so the Oshkosh Area Humane Society and the community can save more homeless creatures," Rosenthal said. "It's incredibly advantageous to certain animals who shouldn't be in shelters, such as nursing mothers." A shelter is not the best place to grow healthy, strong kittens.

According to OAHS Cat Foster Coordinator Alaska Burroughs, some kittens come into the shelter after experiencing hardship.

"A lot of people want sociable, healthy kittens, but we don't get a lot of those," Burroughs explained. "There is undoubtedly a lot of them, but we especially need fosters for the undersocialized, pregnant or nursing mothers, bottle babies, and medical and rehabilitation patients."

Burroughs and Rosenthal have both fostered kittens and cats.

"I've fostered a lot of cats," Rosenthal remarked. "I've had mums with kittens, kittens without moms, a single abandoned kitten, and I've fostered dogs." One of the most crucial things I've discovered is that you must have enough time to juggle.

Burroughs described her foster care experiences as diverse.

"I started fostering before I started here," Burroughs explained. "When I first started working here, I started doing progressively more difficult cats." I created a mother cat with nine kittens. It was quite a lot. I worked with behavioral cats and currently have kittens."

OAHS requests that foster homes maintain their pets separate from the animals they are fostering.

"With young kittens, they come from outside and they can appear healthy when we send them out into foster care," Burroughs explained. "Then, a week or two later, they're severely sick because they have a weakened immune system from being outside and in the shelter." We don't want something to happen to your resident pet, so we propose isolating [personal pets from fosters].”

Margaret Villagomez, a third-year student at UW Oshkosh, discovered fostering on the Humane Society's website and is now caring for three kittens named Jane, Abby, and Natalia.

"I wanted to adopt, but I wasn't ready to commit to a cat at the time," Villagomez explained. "They're constantly looking for fosters, so I joined up, and a week later I had three kittens."

Despite the kittens napping all day and being lively at night, Villagomez said the experience has been wonderful.

"These little animals keep me up at night," Villagomez explained. "I would offer to foster to anyone considering obtaining an animal because you will get a true sense of what it's like to have them in your house."

Even if you don't intend to adopt, it's a good way to keep an animal for a short time and provide them with a home at no cost.

Litter, cat food, litter bins, plates, toys, scratching posts (if accessible), and veterinary treatment are all provided by OAHS.

"The beautiful part about fostering is that they pay for [nearly] everything," said Villagomez. "It's free, and all you have to do is live with [the cats]."

When it comes to fostering, Burroughs believes it's critical to realize the commitment you're making.

"Before fostering, you should know that you will require quite a bit of time out of your schedule to focus on the animals," Burroughs said.

"If an emergency occurs, you must be available at all hours of the day to ensure that they receive the care that they require."

According to Rosenthal, with COVID-19, many people are unaware that there is a veterinarian care deficit. People are finding that they can't afford a vet, that they can't get in to visit a vet, and that animals that would typically be spayed and neutered haven't been.

"I want to make it clear that this crisis is not limited to Oshkosh, Wisconsin," Rosenthal added. "This is something that is happening all around the country right now." There are more animals than homes.

Rosenthal stated that there is a lot to learn about cat behavior and that OAHS does not expect foster households to know everything.

"If you find yourself thinking, 'Oh gosh, I don't know what I'm doing,' call us," Rosenthal added. "We will assist you in learning."

Because fostering is such a large commitment, OAHS ultimately wants it to be a family decision.

"It's fulfilling, but it can also be very time-consuming," said Rosenthal. "Having kittens is fun, but I'm not going to lie, it's also a lot of work. [Foster homes] help us save lives and make a significant difference for these animals."

The above article is selected by CoolDeeds.org. The information and the assets belong to their respective owners (original link).


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