Financial aid for kittens

Best Friends provides support for tiny felines in need.
By  Denise LeBeau

Problem Child as a kittenProblem Child was only six days old when the tiny kitten was plucked from the streets of Grand Junction, Colorado. She couldn’t eat on her own, couldn’t breathe properly and needed round-the-clock supervision. Her only hope would be if someone cared enough to dedicate the energy to see her through.

Fortunately, she was taken in by Cindy O’Shea, the resident “kitten whisperer” for Roice-Hurst Humane Society, and though it was touch-and-go for a while, veterinarians said Problem Child would make it.  

All-in for cats

Roice-Hurst Humane Society has been saving the homeless companion animals of Mesa County, Colorado, for five decades. The organization’s commitment to saving lives is only eclipsed by their ability to be resourceful, especially when the chips are down.  Roice-Hurst also is a partner in the Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Network, a program that works with rescue organizations and municipal shelters across the country to end the killing of dogs and cats in our nation’s shelters.

When the local municipal shelter in Mesa County had to deal with budget cuts that would affect community cats, Roice-Hurst circled the wagons to help ensure the area’s cats would get the help they need. With an annual average intake of about 300 cats and kittens, Roice-Hurst would need additional outside financial support to keep the program rolling. Fortunately, Best Friends was there to help.  

Kitten relief

No More Homeless Pets Network partners have access to lifesaving resources from Best Friends, and Network specialist Lezlie Sage is familiar with various groups’ strengths and challenges. Lezlie determined that financial aid could help substantially increase kitten adoptions at Roice-Hurst. The more kittens adopted, the more kittens they could take in. Neonatal (very young) kittens are particularly expensive to care for, especially when there’s no mother cat in the picture. Best Friends funding certainly would help.

Feeling supported

Roice-Hurst Humane Society helps kittens like Problem Child grow to be catsAlso serving as Roice-Hurst Humane Society’s foster coordinator, Cindy is thrilled to have the extra support from Best Friends. “With the Best Friends funding we are able to buy complete kitten care kits — formula, premium kitten food, heating pads and scales,” she says. Since regulating and monitoring progress is crucial to each kitten’s survival, each foster home also must be outfitted with these essential items.  

“We try to always take bottle-fed babies,” says Cindy, offering that kittens as young as a day old enter Roice-Hurst foster homes.” At eight weeks old, they return to the facility for adoption.

The Grand Junction community is also pitching in to be a part of the solution. “Many people who contact us when they’ve found a homeless kitten are willing to foster,” says Cindy. “Without the foster support, (chances for) the survival of these kittens is nil.” Many times, Cindy says, foster families keep their kittens once they are old enough for adoption.   

The Roice-Hurst Humane Society already has exceeded its modest goal of saving 30 kitten lives this year, having already saved 38 kittens in just six months. It’s a great start to the project, which over time will make a huge difference for homeless, helpless kittens like Problem Child.

“I’m always excited to see Network partners rise to challenges and Best Friends is happy to help in whatever way we can,” says Lezlie. “Roice-Hurst Humane Society has set admirable goals for increased commitments to cats. Helping save at-risk kittens is one of the ways we work together to Save Them All.”

Get involved

Learn more about how Best Friends helps shelters and rescue groups across the country.

Photos courtesy of Roice-Hurst Humane Society


Caring for Pets