How to Ask for Kitten Rescue Help

DSCN1013Along with many independent rescuers, Jack and I triage NUMEROUS requests to take in kittens and cats. Over the years we’ve come up with a few observations and suggestions for understanding how rescuers hear and respond to those requests. We hope this helps!

1) Rescuers are focused on the animal. That seems like a no-brainer, right? Yet people often approach individuals or organizations saying they “just can’t handle kittens right now” or “have a lot on my plate.” With cats euthanized daily in shelters and untold others meeting death by coyote-in-the-woods or car-on-the-road, we’re not motivated by your convenience; we’re all about them cats, and we’re stressing ourselves in ways you haven’t even thought of to help them.

baby 22) We wish there were life reward points for being compassionate, but have never found any. It’s kind of sad, we know. You DO have a lot on your plate: college student, single parent, low income, about to move. We totally agree you SHOULD get points for caring enough to inconvenience yourself by not dumping your cat’s kittens at the shelter (because spaying your pet is next on your list as soon as you can afford it) or rescue your neighbor’s neglected kittens, or scoop a cat from an intersection. You took a stray to your garage and she rewarded you by birthing five adorable kittens. Bravo to you for taking her in. Being nice doesn’t bump you to the head of the rescue queue, ALTHOUGH WE THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS FOR CARING.

3) We’re on to your bad cop routine. Acting like a jerk and saying “they’re going to the shelter if you don’t take them” to try and motivate us is a no-no. We’re sifting through garbage dumps and crying at shelters where newborn kittens have a one-day window before they die of disease, never mind euthanasia. If we tell you we can’t take the kittens, calling us uncaring or unfeeling or saying we’re not doing our job right isn’t going to help. You are quite likely the fourth call that day – in May and June, the fourth call that HOUR.Dori

4) Don’t disdain help other than what you asked for. If you care enough to take a cat into your garage, you care enough. If we say we can’t take your kittens but will help you advertise them, get you into a network that will spay Mom cheap, find you some supplies you don’t have to pay for, or otherwise organize logistic or emotional support, don’t go off in a Facebook huff. That’s time well spent by rescuers who know what they’re doing, and it will help.

5) Pay for what you’re asking for. Let me be clear: NOBODY can afford to help all the cats out there, and NOBODY believes he or she has “extra” cash. We’re not expecting you to take food off your family’s table, but giving up lunch out, a pack of smokes, to help an animal in need? Show good faith. Offer a bag of litter or food. TRANSPORT THE CAT to the place where the rescuer can get you help. When the monthly limit we rescuers can afford is hit, our hearts break knowing we have to say no, or default on our mortgage. When a rescuer says, “I can’t,” she means can’t, not won’t.

baby 16) You are appreciated, not special. Your call asking for help with a pet/stray/feral colony is likely her third one that day. We sometimes forget to deal with you as an individual, because the stories fall into patterns. While we shouldn’t do this and try not to, well, it’s inevitable sometimes. You are not alone in doing the right thing, trying to help a needy animal. THANK YOU. BLESS YOU. Good luck, and feel free to ask for advice. We want to help you. We’ll do what we can.

Coasting on a Trend

Everyone who’s visited our shop or read Little Bookstore knows that I crochet items to support cat rescue. During the winter when we don’t have fosters in residence, we support PAWS of SWVA by getting feral cats neutered and spayed. In the spring Jack and I open our garage and mystery room to nursing mamas and their infants, getting them adopted to loving forever homes.

DSCN0288It gets expensive, but it’s worth it looking into those little whiskered faces.

spay and neuter afghanLast fall I started making SPAY AND NEUTER afghans, based on a free pattern called Rows of Cats. “This is what you get if you don’t spay and neuter,” I declaimed via FB (and ok, it might have been slightly self-righteous, but what’s a little smugness between friends?) and sold 20 of those afghans. They were fun and quick and cheap to make because I burned through a lot of my stash, so it was easy to sell them for $67, the cost of a spay on the Margaret Mitchell van (a mobile animal clinic for low-income areas.) They’ve gone up since I depleted my stash and have to buy yarn.

jack with chickensAnd then the chickens came home to roost….

Somebody posted the Swanky Chicken Trivet by Sarah Moss, it went viral, and I bought it for $7 and sold about 96 chickens for $7.50 each, branching out into pigs and penguins somewhere along the way.

And the pigs were fun and the chickens were fun and lots of people bought them and we got lots of cats looked after and gave some money to another group, In His Hands Small Animal Rescue, because they’re trying to help get a feral cat colony down the way under control, and life was good. Except there were chickens and pigs everywhere.

chickens in chair mark with penguin chickens and pigs

One day about three weeks ago I started my 97th chicken and thought, “No.” My hands just stopped moving. There are limits. So the Great Chicken Crochet of 2014 ended with a whimper. And that was fine. Jack and I have eight fosters in the house and chickens have covered three of them, so we just needed to fundraise for five more, including three girls (which are double the cost of boys to render non-producing).

And then…..

cat butt coastersa lady out East somewhere makes cat butt coasters, and somebody posted the photo from her Etsy store, and in the past 48 hours no fewer than nine people have posted them on my timeline with a note equating to “You should make these next! People would buy them!”

And yes, they have gone viral. The lady who makes them actually tracked their popularity:

But here’s the thing: I saw the coasters weeks ago when I was browsing for something to replace those *&%^$# chickens, and thought “Nobody’d buy those” and went on looking for new items with which to raise money.

I ask you, can I spot a social media trend or what? No wonder my agent and her assistant are so proud of my Twitter feed! Marketing genius, me.

So now I’m making coasters, $20 per set and yes you can specify colors, up to one month to deliver. PM me on FB with your address if you want a set.

But wouldn’t anyone like a nice dignified SPAY AND NEUTER afghan?!