Mt. Olive TNR Project hustles on behalf of cats in need

Mt. Olive TNR Project in Budd Lake, New Jersey, is a rigorous trap/neuter/return program to help community (feral and stray) cats.
By Denise LeBeau

Peanut the kitten from Mt. Olive TNR ProjectMt. Olive TNR Project in Budd Lake, New Jersey, is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to reducing the community (aka feral and stray) cat population through rigorous trap/neuter/return (TNR). They also have a foster program, so friendly cats and kittens are removed from the streets and placed into loving homes. The organization is a No More Homeless Pets Network partner, and we have been pleased to provide some additional support to help them achieve their lifesaving goals.

"We are so very appreciative of everything Best Friends has done for us over the years," says Michelle Lerner of Mt. Olive TNR Project. "Best Friends has really helped us get our town to no-kill status - which we got it to, and maintained to date, and now are really struggling to maintain as we are currently unable to keep up due to the hoarding case."

The group normally fosters about 100 cats and kittens per year, along with doing TNR and assisting disadvantaged residents with low-cost spay and neuter services. This past summer was more hectic than usual because they stepped up to the plate to help with a hoarding case. They had fostered 94 cats by August. For the first time in four years, they had to close admissions to new cats. Fortunately, the TNR side of things was extremely successful - they only needed to trap, neuter and return eight cats this year. Because of the abundance of cats now occupying their foster homes, they reached out to Best Friends for some strategic support.

Kittens galore

Tinsel the kitten from Mt. Olive TNR ProjectIn addition to helping with a lot of cats in need from the hoarding situation, the group was also filled to the gills with kittens. One litter, which consisted of four kittens (Gumdrop, Obsidian, Pywacket and Jellybean), entered their foster program when they and their momma, who was also friendly and subsequently adopted, were trapped. Then there were Teddy Bear, Cheyenne and Pooh Bear, who were about 16 weeks old and still in foster homes, where they had been since they were nine weeks old. They came from another TNR endeavor, but their momma was returned. Then tenants brought another eight kittens to the Mt. Olive TNR Project from a local apartment complex where TNR is forbidden. The final of this cavalcade of kittens was found by a dumpster at a church.

No More Homeless Pets Network specialist Linda Gage hit the ground running to help get kittens placed. Linda was able to help Mt. Olive TNR Project with a mini grant from Best Friends in order to enable the group to offer the kittens for a reduced adoption fee. Linda then facilitated the drafting of a Best Friends member message that went out to folks in the surrounding area to help market the kittens.

The results were astounding. "Being a No More Homeless Pets Network partner has been wonderful!" says Cathrine Dietsche of Mt. Olive TNR Project. "In addition to the alerts and the mini grant that helped us adopt out 16 kittens in two weeks, Best Friends also helped us raise funds through events, such as Strut Your Mutt, and do adoption events, such as Back in Black and Nine Live for $9, that have helped us adopt out some of our cats."

Realizing a no-kill community can sometimes only be achieved by reaching out to your fellow animal welfare associates. In addition to the help of Best Friends, St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center took six cats; Joanne George, a volunteer with Mt. Olive TNR Project, provided holding space for all the hoarding cats; and Black River Veterinary Clinic helped place 16 of the cats and gave them medical care at a discounted rate.

Volunteer with a No More Homeless Pets Network partner in your community.

Photos courtesy of Mt. Olive TNR Project