Friday, June 15, 2018

Happy Cats Haven - Fostering & The Kitten Lady

Look who I met - The Kitten Lady!

I was absolutely starstruck.

If you aren't familiar with her, please allow me to catch you up to speed.
The Kitten Lady, or Hannah Shaw, is a humane educator and animal advocate who rallies for the well-being of cats.  Through her website and the workshops she facilitates around the country, she shares her knowledge of prenatal kitten care to help kitty foster parents (like myself) give kittens the best possible start.
Buddha - one of the Jelly Bean Babies from this post
I met Hannah at the grand opening of the new Planet Happy Cats building where Patrick and I foster.  Here she is posing in front of the Happy Cats Wall of Fame - a collage of cuddly cats who found their forever homes through Happy Cats Haven.
Image from The Kitten lady's Instagram
On Sunday, I went to the library - along with over 300 other people - to listen as she spoke about kitten care and the joys of fostering.  After attending her workshop, I was motivated to share my fostering experience with you.

My journey started back in 2012 with Momma Sparkles and her nine beautiful babies, and I have been fostering ever since! Literally, hundreds of kittens have passed through our doors and into loving forever homes.  Momma Sparkles and her kittens were just a few of what the ASPCA claims could be tens of millions of cats living outside.
There are many ways that you can help these kitties.
One is, of course, fostering.
Remember this lovely lady?
People often ask me, "How do you give the kittens away?  Don't you want to keep them all?"
Honestly, the answer is yes, BUT - I know that they're going to happy homes.  
I also know that if I kept them, I'll run out of space and won't be able to care for any more fluffy little orphans.
Gogi, photo by Madelene
We are currently in the heart of "kitten season" - that crucial time of year when strays are having litters and shelters are filled to the brim. Kittens only need a little space and usually just a month or two of your time.  Shelters like Happy Cats Haven provide all the supplies and vet care: you just supply the area and the love - they need you!
If you live in the Colorado Springs area, visit their website and fill out the foster application.
If fostering isn't in the cards for you right now, you can also help by donating items through their Amazon Wish List.

You can also make a significant impact by becoming a caretaker and spaying/neutering your neighborhood feral cats.
Homeless cats, also known as Community Cats, need food and care just like kittens do.
Two of the community cats we feed and care for
In Colorado, the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region has a program for the caretakers of community cats (or Colony Managers) that provides free spay and neuter services.
Contact your local shelter to see how they can help you care for these kitties.

Hannah posing with Barb - an incredible Happy Cats Haven volunteer who TNRed (Trap-Neuter-Return) over 400 cats in Colorado Springs last year!
Image from The Kitten lady's Instagram
Another way to support homeless cats is to volunteer at events or use your artistic skills to help shelters like Happy Cats Haven raise money.  
If you're perusing the posts on this blog, I think it's safe to assume that you are crafty.
Patrick and I helped set up an art sale at the Planet Happy Cats grand opening. Many amazing local artists donated their handmade jewelry, photos, paintings, hand-sewn quilts, etc.
I am nowhere near that talented, but I did paint a dozen flower pots and filled them with catnip plants.
Find a way to contribute your talents to make a difference.
Madelene, a local student, donates her photography skills to help kitties like Noodle here get adopted from the website.
Noodle, photo by Madelene
So, in conclusion, let's review some of the ways you can contribute to helping homeless kitties:

You can donate your space and by opening your home to foster kittens.
You can donate your money by purchasing things from a shelter's wish lists.
You can donate your time by trapping, TNR-ing, and caring for community cats.
You can donate your talent by crafting, photographing, or whatever else you do.
Kitties like Gumir thank you :)

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