How the Task Force mission improves the lives of cats: vignettes

1. Little eight-year-old Kristi Doney of the Gros Ventre Indian Tribe, with the help of a doting and patient father, brought three female cats to the Fort Belknap Indian Community Pet Care Week clinic, July 2000. The cats were boxed in pet carriers donated by HSUS so that the volunteer who invited Kristi to stay and help could not see them. Kristi was just too shy to stay, but she was willing to walk back to the cat waiting, surgery, and recovery areas to deliver her cats. “Oh,” said the father,” seeing all the kittens. “I didn’t know you do kittens.” He looked at Kristi. “We have ten kittens at home,” she admitted. She was encouraged to go home and get them. Taking carrying boxes and surgical forms to sign in, she left with Father. This was serious business. Back they came with all ten kittens, but still Kristi could not bring herself to stay with strangers and help with the cats. But one more adult female at home still was not caught. Home they went to try once more. Not long after, the volunteer felt a tug on her shirt tail. Kristi, beaming, had the last cat. This time, she stayed for the rest of the day helping to recover cats.

2. A woman brought forty-eight cats to the Salish and Kootenai Love Your Pets Week clinic in the Flathead Nation. All the cats and kittens were socialized, clean, carefully boxed, and identified. They lived in an old house she gave them on her ranch. Many of the kittens and young adults were adopted by volunteers and pet owners with local references.

3. Montana State Prison Feral Cat Day and Montana State (Mental) Hospital Feral Day: there was great resistance among administrators against a TNR approach to the ferals on their grounds. With the publicity, education, doing all the cats at once, community and staff support, “those” cats became “our” cats, and support for TNR is now strong in both institutions.

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