20 Episode results for "Merrimack River"
Britney Fox Hover, Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society
"Yeah you tuned in minicabs podcasts reading. Let's go welcome to the community cats. Podcast I'm your host Stacey Lebaron. I've been involved helping homeless cats for over twenty years with the Meramec River Feline Rescue Society. The goal of this podcast is to expose you to amazing. People were improving the lives of cats. I hope these interviews will help you learn how you can turn your passion. Her cats into action. Today we're speaking with Britney Fox over Brittany is the shelter director at the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society and overseas the adoption program. She started volunteering. With 'em are for us in two thousand nine became a part-time staff person in two thousand eleven while working in finance. She was hired fulltime as medical coordinator in two thousand twelve and became shelter director in two thousand fifteen. She's also an active foster home and likes to specialize in critical care cases. She loves all animals domestic and wildlife but is particularly passionate about promoting feline welfare. She currently lives in Maine with her husband. Two children dog and five cats Brit. I'd like to welcome you to the show. Thank you so very much for having me. Well this is family. We're having family day at the community. Cats podcasts as many folks. No obviously that I've had a lot of experience with Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society. It very much involved in very passionate about the organization and Brit has been awesome to stay involved and working hard and providing great leadership for the Organization for it. I WANNA I ask you before coming to us. What made you a cat lover. Well I did not grow up with cats. Most people find that very interesting but I only had dogs and it was a kitten that my aunt found in a parking lot. He was Kinda scratched up and he looked very sad and she. She rescued him and she brought him to the police station in our town and no one claimed him so my husband then boyfriend at the time he said I'll take him and he had never had a pet before in his whole life. So we got this kitten. Neither of US knew what to do. You know we kind of figured it out as we went along and we completely fell head over heels in love with Rupert. He is no longer with us but he really is my inspiration for finding my passion and my career in my life so I have a lot to thank him for from their Robin. I really learned what wonderful intelligent amazing creatures cats are and We wanted to get more involved. We lived in Amesbury at the time and drove by the shelter and we saw the sign and said you know we really. We really got to check this place out and we applied to volunteer. And the rest is history. I did volunteer at the Bangor. Humane society up in Bangor being when I went to college so he had a little bit of shelter experience and so at the time. Janet who is our volunteer coordinator. She said okay. You have experienced right downstairs and into our room at our quarantine room and I was like okay and I I like a challenge that I really like learning so for me. It was an opportunity to do that for cats who I had just recently discovered I loved so much and fell head over heels for shelter medicine working with cats and just really opened my eyes to a whole new world that I didn't know existed so you know it's sort of the rest is history as they say but cats and feline welfare are something that just so truly important to me. And that's why I'm here. So as you discovered the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society. Maybe share with folks a little bit about the organization and the programs and what makes it different from other organizations. That you've been around. Yes so when I started. I didn't have a great idea of on the animal welfare community and what was going on in other shelters but when I started at the MRI for us. I saw the cats that the shelter were taking care of and it really realized that these are animals that needed a lot of help in a lot of care and really had a wonderful chance to find home and the people who cared for them were so dedicated and committed to not only Finding these animals from home but rehabilitating them before they did that and so the more I worked at the time for us the more I realized that we took in animals stat. Maybe other shelters just didn't know a lot about or didn't have resources to care for. I had interactions early on with feline leukemia. Cats Feline Leukemia kittens. There was a Persian. Kitty named mugs. Who was so sick and he had a lot of problems and I just really realized that. There's a lot of animals and a lot of cats out there that need a lot of help. And that's why the morale for us Was Really special to me. Was that they were taking animals from our community other shelters rescue groups animals that without. Mr For us did not have much of a chance. And so that's really what ignited my passion for taking care of cats and kittens. That just really compromised in need a lot of help. But there's a light at the end of the tunnel that these animals can really live and thrive. So it's really amazing to see that journey and get them there and for us is really committed to helping them along that journey and that that is really super important and special to me so one thing that Mri France has done quite a bit over the years. As as you've mentioned the feline leukemia positive cats. What are the greatest challenges when dealing with feline leukemia positive cats and why is it important that we work so hard to try? Get them adopted. You know I kind of look at the challenges on two major fronts. One of them. Is that the cats are immuno-compromised so when they're coming into shelter which for the most healthy and robust of cats can be a really stressful experience. These kitties have compromised immune systems so that creates an even bigger challenge to keeping them healthy and then on the other side of it is adoption recognizing that we are not necessarily a sanctuary that we are in adoption program for these kitties so we need to work with a ball and work with members of the public to make sure people understand the disease and the disease process. Make sure they understand with these kids need but also show them that these cats look healthy and they look happy because they are when they are not showing signs of their disease and they're sort of in that middle point they look like a regular cat and so many people see that so. It's really nice to be able to show them. These animals have such great quality of life. Just like a regular cat and we can get them a home and you know a family and that they have the ability to live out their years whatever they have left happy and healthy just like a normal cat. So that's why it's really important to find these guys. Homes is their quality of life is typically very good. When they're not showing signs of the disease they just look like a regular cat and they deserve our love and our support just like the other kitties that we take in. Is it common? That many people when they adopt feline leukemia positive cats and then the kitty does pass away. They tend to come back to adopt more. Yeah absolutely we have repeat adopters. Feline Leukemia Cats. I usually tell people I see it. Go two ways. I see people that adopt the Feline Leukemia. Kitties and they lose their first one and they kind of say you know. This isn't for me. I'm GONNA come back and get another kitty but want you know a nonfeeling Kimmy Kitty and of course were sensitive to that but more often than that we get people that come back and they say okay now needs a home and those people really inspire me. Every day. We have a couple of people I can think of off hand to really focus on the feeling that Kimia kittens that don't have even as long a life span as the adults and they really are committed to taking these kittens and giving them a family a home for as long as they have and those people are really incredible to me. Telecom consultants is proud to offer all community cats podcast listeners. A complimentary telephone electric natural gas. Bill cost savings analysis for their businesses. Our main goal is to save money on these services for businesses on a monthly basis. We truly appreciate the opportunity to be a lead sponsor for this podcast as we support animal. Welfare please call six one seven to nine zero three three seven four for your complimentary analysis. Enjoy the show. Six months ago now I was in Chicago and I was able to visit the treehouse. New Big adoption center was Wonderful Tree House humane society and they have a cat cafe in their cat cafe. They have feline leukemia. Positive kitties if you could have anything in the world. Would that be something that would interest you absolutely like anything else? It's taking the stigma away from these animals that are labeled with a disease and being able to go into area for the public and see these cats running around playing being normal cats. I think that is an incredible way for people to understand. Feeling the Kimia and to remove that stigma that is attached to them. Sometimes I think the biggest most amazing thing for our volunteers and our staff is that they see the feline leukemia. Kitties happy and healthy an all admit when I first started at the shelter volunteering. I didn't understand fluke. I didn't know feeling a KIA and my husband was mortified to go in our feeling leukemia. Rome because he was afraid. Bring it to our cat and it's just over a short amount of time realizing that okay. The rest of the cats in this building aren't getting it and these cats really happy and healthy and just seeing it with your own eyes is really a truly powerful way to change people's minds. I think a cat cafe is a wonderful way to welcome people in to see the cats and see them thrive. And I think that's fantastic. Let's talk a little bit about the forest program at 'em are and what does it mean to the organization that how does it benefit? The community. Pharmacists are really important program that I help run. It's an amazing way to be able to keep loving owners and their cats together and I really over the years doing this work. I think everybody kind of goes in their field. Whatever it is with certain ideas in certain thoughts and I know I certainly did with feeling the welfare and over the years of really changed my mind and change the way I understand the human animal bond in the way people love their pets and the way their pets are just so much happier with them than going into a shelter or changing their whole life and so the forest program. It's this opportunity for our organization to help keep animals in their home. The point of the program is to help animals in owners when a cat has a disease or injury that would otherwise force and owner to give up the cat get care we can come in and help offer financial assistance so that the cat can stay with their owner and doing the shelter work for several years for so many years. You see the stress and the heartbreak that goes along with surrendering a pet on both sides for the people and for the animal so being able to prevent that he and keep people in their animals together is really really important in today's climate where we see a lot of people not being able to afford their own health care You think about okay. Then how can they possibly afford the health care for their animals? And so really. There is some assistance for people but the assistance for pets is. It's obviously getting better. But it's not guaranteed and it's not there so the farmers program fills a big void in it allows people and animals to stay together. I really feel strongly about it. I really think really positive thing and I always said I think it sort of the trajectory of the future of animal welfare is keeping people and animals together whenever possible. That's great she just sort of thinking about the two topics. We've just covered here feline leukemia as well. As far as I'M GONNA put my executive director hat on and say what? Wait a minute you know. These cats are GONNA cost US money as far as program is going to cost US money. Are these really expensive programs to run so for the feeling the keyboard and care for life program it is an expense but it is an astronomical because like we were talking about before a lot of the time the feline leukemia. Cats are pretty healthy until sort of the feline. Leukemia goes into that terminal stage. So you know. It's really dot a super huge undertaking. The forest is definitely a bigger undertaking. Because these are cases where cats might need dentals that are well into the thousands or they may have been hit by a car in need major orthopedic surgery but until I think as society in general we can come up with a better solution to these huge astronomical. Medical costs when animals are sick or injured. These animals lives matter. They matter to owners and they matter general to our organization so as much as I really think that morale for us is wonderful and major player in in a welfare as the big picture I think one of our major strengths is acknowledging the individual animal the individual cat or kitten and the individual person as well well said well said the other reality. Is that many of those fires? Cats are going to need the assistance anyway if they were being surrendered to the organization. Absolutely we'd be paying for that F. H. O. R. that amputation. Either way so it kind of washes in the end before I go on to. Actually talk about adoptions as shelter director that should be what you spend a lot of your time involved with etc this will be my own version of I Dunno Feline Disease Jeopardy. I'll give you one more one more topic to touch upon and you get to choose so there's F. I. P. Ringworm or Fiv. You can choose one of those topics if you have anything you want to share with our listeners. Do I just choose one of those topics. I could talk all day about all three of those topics. Let's see which one do. I feel strongly about well. I feel with the FIV. So I think I'm going to pick FIV because for a very long time. Mri FOR US has been on the forefront of taking these animals in sheltering them in finding them homes when for a long time especially early on in my career we had so many shelters asking us to take them as transfers. What is special about? Mr Processes that from the very beginning we've kind of said okay. Let's be open minded. Let's think out of the box and so with Fiv we had our FIV positive cats running loose with our regular cats and we adopted them out as regular cats and we talk to people about the FAA. Be Sort of the whole you know. They can be a little bit more prone to the dental disease and their immuno-compromised so having that conversation with adopters but knowing Fiv cats that have lived to twenty. We could send the cats into their homes with the best intentions knowing that. There's a very good chance they were going to be fine and live a long life. What I think is really incredible is that we are not getting those requests for Fiv transfers on any level that we were getting before. And I think again it's a testament to the fact that people see. Fiv cats out with the other cats they see. Fiv cats living long healthy lives. And I think that has changed the hearts and minds of many people many shelters many veterinarians. I think that's really power fall. And so of course we still get. Fiv POSITIVE KITTIES and they're still living out with all our other cats but you know I think it's a great example of sort of the way we have approached cats and kittens that are different and sort of found them outcomes that were really the same as normal cat and then seeing that was successful and worked out well and of course. There's I think there's a published study now about. Fiv Cats cohabitating with non FIV cats and no evidence of transmission. So I think that also helps a lot. You bring up a good point as a shelter director. You're dependent upon a lot of resources and support with regards to protocols cleaning various diseases. What are your resources that you turn to? We are really lucky to work with a couple of really incredible veterinarians who really strive to keep learning. They want to know the next thing. You know the next new research the next interesting thing that comes out and so for us. I think has been a huge resource because these veterans who work with are very very invested. Very very smart and love to learn new things. They're not stuck to some. You know sort of this is the way I learned it in vet school and this is the way it's always going to be. They're hungry for knowledge and they're eager to share that with us and help our cats in that way the UC Davis Corbett School of Veterinary Medicine. They have incredible resources. That kind of how I got kick started in sort of knowing what was going on around me. Were those resources from there but yeah for the most part just kind of on top of the new research coming out you and I share a lot of new findings and research together. But what really is key is her. Veterenarians are super enthusiastic about learning new things. That helps a lot. Let's talk a little. Bit About Adoptions your adoption team you have increased the adoptions quite substantially. I think over the last several years at Mar for us. Would you like to share with us? Any of the sort of special campaigns that you do over the course of the year we sort of chug along as normal but like everywhere else. We get really busy in the spring and in the summer we have had kind of pop up adoption events here there and we have found that fee waived is really the way to go anything sort of less than that is not very effective during the spring and summer months we sort of do those on an ad needed basis if the shelter population just gets higher than we're able to have capacity for but we do have one adoption event scheduled every year. We didn't call you black Friday. We tried it on Saturday this year. But it's the weekend following Thanksgiving and this past adoption event. We sent home thirty three percent of our population which is really good. We really have. Successful adoptions if the funny thing about it was the day before the adoption event we actually did. More adoptions of the day of the event I'm not sure what that was about. But it was just really awesome to see. We got homes for couples special kitties to during that time and that sort of is a big draw for us to do those events. It's an awesome opportunity to find homes for kitties that sort of need a little bit more supporter understanding if folks are interested in finding out more about the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society or if they had any follow up questions. How would they do that? Who We have a really nice website which is M. R. F. R. S. Dot Org the acronym for Our Name and that website is. It's like a treasure trove of resources and information and then we have sort of a general email address it's info at M. R. F. R. S. Dot Org and our shelter staff checks that and that sort of way to get in touch with US and We can kind of funnel increase wherever they need to go. That's great. Is there anything else you'd like to share with our listeners? Today you know. I think the biggest thing is that I really truly believe that the future of sort of animal welfare feeling welfare is trying to keep people and animals together while recognizing that. I think there's always going to be smaller place hopefully for sheltering but one that exists in animals always need a safe place to go. We definitely operate in our shelter whenever we can try to keep cats and people together we do. That's a huge part of our intake program. That's a huge part of what our option coordinator does but at the same time we recognize that there has to be a safe place for animals to go when people just can't keep them so our mindset has definitely changed over the years and I think it's what makes us a lot stronger. I think our staff is really all on board with trying to do the best thing for the animal. Whatever that might be so I really just think that's the direction that animal welfare is heading in general and I think that's the direction our organization is is kind of heading towards to and I know for today's show. We were really focusing in on the feline leukemia and Fars Programs. But when you say you know whatever that cat may need. Mr For us has a cat mobile program as well as also a spay neuter program once a month mash style teen arc clinic that is free. Feral cats so say neuter is also a huge topic within the organization. Absolutely I think we will be exploring. Sorta ways to be proactive and spay. Neuter is the most proactive thing. You can do and also helping owners day on top of medical staff for their cats. So what I mean by that is getting regular exams and having access to that medical care so that one thousand dollar dental doesn't have to wait and be that substantial of a process it can be that people are getting their animals seen sooner and so it's less so you know preventive medicine is really important and I think that's another direction that spay neuter our organization. Everything is going towards bread. I WanNa thank you so much for agreeing to be a guest on my show. Thank you for listening to community cats. Podcast really appreciate it. If you would go to I tunes leave a review of the show. It will help. Spread the word to help. Mark Minniti cats.
The Birth of Mass Production in America
"The old mill town of low was named for an industrial pioneer who helped give birth to Massachusetts and America's industrial age Lowell lies on the Merrimack river where it flows across the Pawtucket falls in the days before steam engines, falling water was the best means to power a mill in eighteen ten a man named Francis. Low return from a trip to Britain armed with details of the workings of the power loom. A cornerstone of England's industrial success. Lowell and his partners. Then built a mill of their own to turn cotton into thread and thread into cloth all under one roof. After his death. The new mill town of loaves established and named in his honor. Here. Nearly six miles of canals. Howard, forty Mils that turned out fifty thousand miles of cloth year. These mills and others throughout New England with the birth of mass production in America being able to produce cloth from scratch in a single factory was so revolutionary at the time. Many including Andrew Jackson, Davy Crockett and Charles Dickens came to marvel at Lowe's mills.
Welcome to The Show
"Uh-huh. You turned into the community cats podcast ready. Let's cal. Hello. My name is Stacey lebaron, and I would like to welcome you to the community cats podcast. I'm starting this podcast to better help you help them any free, roaming and potentially stray cats in your neighborhood. This podcast is for anyone who cares about cats and wants to make a difference small or large community. Cats is also for people who were part of an organizational ready, helping cats we will be providing tips at all levels, who am I of course, I am first and foremost a cat lover. But Secondly, I've been involved with helping cats and various nonprofit organizations for over twenty years. I ran the Merrimack river feline rescue society in Salisbury Massachusetts for sixteen years and helped grow that organization from very small group that was helping a colony of three hundred cats to a large organization that now assists almost ten thousand cats year. I've pretty much done everything from operations to fund raising to board management. I grew up with one cat. She was grumpy cat. Her name was Duncan. But she lived to be twenty years old. And she and I grew to appreciate one another in our own way. I still have some scars on the back of my hands from our conversations, but she taught me to respect her space, and I had mine we also had times where she would like my fiction once I was trained properly after Dunkin passed away when I was thirteen we adopted another cat Mandrake. He was four years old and was at a local animal control officers home. We were told she took him in because he was too old and would most likely be put to sleep. I was like four years old. That's crazy. We just lost our cat at twenty. So I convinced my mom to take him in. He was one of those dog like cats. He slept on my bed every night. I could do anything to him. He was my pal. Unfortunately, he died. Suddenly the age of ten from heart failure. I naively believed and expected all cats to live to be twenty. I learned early on that anything could happen. I'd headed off to college and I decided to adopt. Another kitty against college rules. I saw an ad for cats and local paper by on profit rescue. And I went to the location and it turned out. It was a woman's house and the rescue was in her windowless basement. She had about fifteen to twenty cats caged in the basement, it was pretty bad looking when I look back at it. I asked her who had been with her the longest as I wanted to rescue the most needy cats she had an older cat about eight. But she didn't seem to want me to take that cat. So she introduced me to rusty. He was eighteen months old and had been with her for six months. She felt really bad for him the family who surrendered him wanted to adopt a golden retriever and they decided they didn't want a cat. She said eighteen months was really old for catnip shelter and his chances at adoption were slim. I was like I just heard this a few years ago about a four year old cat what's up with this ageism stuff? Eighteen months is pretty young to me. So I adopted rusty, and he was a wonderful friend to me for another twelve years after a few years rusty, and I moved to Newburgh. Report mass where my husband to be Bruce lived, we rescued a sweet, but boisterous kitten and newburyport named Steffi. My husband really saved our in convinced me that we needed to keep her. So that was the beginning of us. Having more cats in our home and many more cat stories to come as you. Listen to this podcast in nineteen ninety four I had stopped by local veterinarian's office in Salisbury mass, and I picked up a brochure about the Merrimack river feline rescue society. It turned out their new adoptions. Enter was above the veterinarians new practice. I noticed they needed food and supplies. So I went out and I bought some food and cat litter and mailed in check. And when I went into the adoption center, I found that they were overwhelmed with cats needing a lot of help in the small space that they had they were well over fifty cats in it. It was pretty overwhelming to me. I received a mailing asking for candidates to be there secretary. I figured I could take notes, and I could do office type work. I wasn't really sure if I wanted to be hands on with the cats or not so I send in. A letter of interest with my resume and several members of the board met with me and voted me on the board. And the next year. I was vice president in the year after that, I became president of the organization. So let's fast forward about twenty years. I have fostered hundreds of cats and kittens, and I have failed at being a foster home. I've run many many many fundraisers I've worked with the MR us board as well as other boards to help be more efficient run more effectively recruit new board members, I've been exhausted been overwhelmed, and I've been frustrated, but I've also been pleasantly surprised at amazed at the changes that we have made over the last twenty years for the last four years of had the privilege of running a mentoring program where have been able to work with over eighty different groups across the United States to help them garner. The tools that they need to be able to help more cats in their community. It's been honor and a privilege to run that program and been a highlight of my career. I would say the. Merrimack river feline rescue society went from helping three hundred cats to over ten thousand cats a year, and since nineteen ninety two we have helped over one hundred ten thousand cats, I believe that I can help your group grow too. And if you're just an individual, I believe I can help you help to cats in your neighborhood. But it all goes back to the fact that when I started out I started out wanting to help one cat and one cat at a time. And that's where many of you may be at this point. And I can help you to help many more. I want to win power you with the tools to be able to make a difference in your community for cats. I want your community to be a safe place for cats. This podcast will be published five days a week. It'll be a combination of thirty minute interviews with people who have started out helping one cat at a time. And hearing their story about how they got involved. And then there were also be some one on one tips from me, I'll keep these daily podcast brief c can listen to them while commuting to work or you have a few minutes to sit. Down or even while you're out. Feeding a colony of feral cat say or waiting to catch that hard to catch feral cat with the Trump set. I hope you find this podcast. Interesting feel free to join our Facebook page at community cats podcast and comment there or send us an Email at community cats podcast at g mail dot com. I'd love to hear from you. And I would love to have any suggestions, it's all together on this. And I want to thank you for listening to this podcast and on behalf of the cats. I wanna thank you also for helping them. Thanks for listening to the community has caused the more information other podcasts or to find out. How you support the show? Visit WWW community cats podcast dot com. And thanks.
Tabitha Kucera, Chirrups & Chatter Cat Behavior Consulting and Education
"You tuned into the community cats podcast ready. Let's go Welcome to the community cats podcast. I'm your host Stacey Lebaron. I've been involved helping homeless cats for over twenty years with the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society. The goal of this podcast is to expose you to amazing people or improving the lives of cats. I hope these interviews will help you learn how you can turn your passion for cats into action today. We're speaking with Tabitha who Sarah Tabitha is a level three fear free and low stress Handling Certified Rv T. you see CBC and KP a Dash CTP. She's the owner of chirps and chatter behavior consulting and training and positively positive dog dog behavior consulting and training. She loves educating others through Writing Behavior Consulting and lecturing on all things cats including can socialization feline friendly the handling and more she enjoys the opportunity to help people better understand and relate to cats Tabitha. I'd like to welcome to the show. Thank you so much for having me so excited yeah yeah. No this is great. We're talking earlier and as I'm sure you've been on the show before and it turns out you haven't but you are part of our online cat conference and did a fantastic presentation there and it was great to meet you through the online Katkov France and it's great to have you on the show so I really appreciate you joining me today before we take take this deep dive into your specialties. Do you want to share with our listeners a little bit about how you developed a passion for cats. I'll try to be short and sweet is really hard. When I'm talking about cats anyone that knows me knows this but I grew up with animals. It was normal to have a turtle two cats a dog all this lovely saw and then as I got older. I wanted to be a veterinary technician. Thankfully I'm one of those people who knew what I wanted to do. When I was pretty young which also I became a registered veterinary technician so I could take care of animals literally on for a living as I was checking 'cause. I helped doubt at shelters but I also worked at hospitals. I saw a lot of disturbing patterns for example cats giving euthanized due to behavioral issues that could easily be prevented or could have been helped or a lot of clients coming in to the clinic with their cats and we would euthanize them on the same day we met them and it wasn't because these clients Heinsohn love their cats more than anything it was because a lot of people are unaware of cats subtle signs of pain so by the time they're noticing them. Lethargic anorexic sick visits aren't the normal cats by the time they bring them in the cats. Were so ill that humane euthanasia was the best and I saw this happened over and over again and then then I saw a lot of stereotypes and scapegoating of cats whether I was seeing it towards feral cats or a cat house wailing in someone telling me it was out of spite which cats that's not the case. That's got me more into behavior and then I realized there's very limited resources on cat behavior as veterinary technician. I could barely find any so it was like how in the heck is the general public and rescues binding accurate information on feline behavior so that's kind of got me into my my path to becoming coming as certified. Cabbie Abra consultant in starting to clicker training with cads and cooperative care with cats because I love my dogs and my other animals but unfortunately I feel cats are very stereotypes even by the people that love them so cat lovers are part of the people that say these things like my cat is a whole or my Mike. CATT doesn't learn like it's funny because I asked him to sit and he doesn't sit. Haha people don't realize that those stereotypes result in pretty serious things like if you feel lake your cat can't learn and you're being told that by Bennie professionals shelter professionals even if it's a joke when your cat starts being out of the box. You're going to say my cat spiteful. He can't learn and I'm just opening the door so that's what really got me into everything ads and I love humans cats and animals and one of those Unicorns so I then Dan started doing everything in my power to educate people about cats and it's been awesome people have been super receptive and I know so many people that now clicker train their cats ender enriching their cats dirk koetter living their lives. It's awesome so you just packed a ton of information in there. I have so many questions kind of rattling around. I'm ahead but first and foremost looking at your discovery period I look back at the Times that I've been involved in animal rescue and there are many moments that I can pinpoint very specifically thickly like I saw something and I said I don't want to ever see that again. One example being a dumpster full of twenty five kittens most of them with their eyes closed rosed with beer bottles splattered all over the place and I'm like you know we're just not having this again. No no this is just not right and it seems based on what you were talking about that. There are a lot of the things you're seeing. There was like a no no this is. There's there's another way and I wanna do what I can in order to make sure that we're not going to see this again. Am I putting words into your mouth or is that an accurate representation. That's pretty spot on. Unfortunately we all know in the rescue world in January worlds. I feel one of the biggest reasons why cats are euthanized or behavior and another this is another thing have recognized Anna recognize. There's limited resources and the things that are available aren't very friendly. He like for example a litterbox sold in pet store. Generally I would never recommend their entirely too small among other things so I noticed that humans aren't really set up for success as for cats so they love their cats. It's just don't have the education to do their best. which is why kind of like you said? I WANNA do everything in my power to prevent that from from happening and that goes along with what we're gonNA talk about with feline friendly handling because as a VAT tax I have to do things that cats may not like that may cause trusted Tim and none of us start in this field for money a ha ha we do it because we love animals and feeling friendly handling for your free handling whatever you WANNA call it it allows me to do everything everything in my power to limit fear anxiety and stress and cads which also helps them not have as many behavioral problems or not have as much stress than I feel better at the end of the day so I definitely league relate to what you're saying so we're GONNA take a deep dive into this. I'm going to ask you specifically what is feline friendly handling. What does that mean so so if I had to define it in a way it would basically be using a less is more approach so you would assess the cats language and use restraint methods that the cap prefers versus what I was taught. Veterinary technician school was literally. Just walk up to the cat. Grab it and do your thing now how by assessing cats body language. I can see what works revamped because we all have cats are individuals yet. I was taught to hold them all in the exact same way which unfortunately I don't think we're setting that technicians for success because one technique does not work for all cats and if you don't understand feel like communication which I did not learn in vetinary every technician school body language. I don't understand how we can accurately restrain them because we're going to not be able to read when they're saying please stop or a hate this and then we're going to say something something like. The bike came out of nowhere which is never the case. Can you give me some examples of where feline friendly handling would be like examples of what would would not be feeling friendly handling versus what would be if I say may give you a a serve up 10-week-old semi feral kitten okay so attend gold semi Carrollton. I commonly see people especially with smaller animals but I think not just cats but dogs too but especially hidden because they're so small even though they're exhibiting terrified behavior there cowering their eyes are completely dilated yours back there screaming we still approach them full frontally so for example if the cat within a trap or a carrier we would reach in grab their scruff and pull them out onto generally a cold medal table. That's honestly honestly what I was taught to do. In Tech School on don't ask just reach in grab reach into the scary box which is also very unsafe for us and what I would do now. How with feeling friendly handling techniques is for example that carrier track would be covered with issues towel which is a campfire mon.? I would have it on elevated service. Viscous most cats preferred to be elevated. It would either be on the exam table or elevated onto a chair. I would have a warm towel or yoga mat on the exam table because cool metal tables are no fun and they're slippery. I would have some high value food like tuna on Kiro Pace in toby pays a variety because I like different things and kittens all have different tastes as well and then I would actually take the carrier part because just reaching in. I don't know now now that I know more. It's just so unsafe first off. It's terrifying for the cat and it's literally we're not assessing anything just reaching in and I would understand if a cat if I was in possessing their body language and region. They're hiding cowering more. It's understandable inappropriate behavior for them to bite me so instead I would take the carrier apart and that I would most likely cover the kitten because the semi kin will most likely be fearful so I would use the towel in a Burrito robbing technique and I would most likely cover the is because most cats pervert a high hiding in natural coping mechanism and then I would pull the cat up and towards my chest and then you would be able to do whatever whatever you needed to do hold it cat kitten to help with socializing and I would assume you would be saying you're a semi feral feral behavior savior versus aggressive behaviors from cats. Take different approaches actually very similar approaches so I hear words like fractious allot which which I'm not a fan of that word because I think labeling is a big problem in the veterinarian and shelter worlds and I'll be honest ideal at the most fearful of fearful cats and I very reg- re-releasing a truly fractious cat by definition fractious just means on Hannibal but I'm also very comfortable with handling techniques so that's a whole nother thing because I feel like in our field we don't take handling serious as a skill which is really concerning because I'll be honest with you. I much rather have a skilled handler than a skillful the bottom as any day so to be fair again. I don't think we're sending each other success because a lot of people see videos where I'm like. I know it doesn't look like I'm I'm restraining this animal but I am and I can restrain very fearful animals which some people can see aggression due to fear but I still use the label fearful. They may be exhibiting aggressive behaviors but it's because they're fearful. Now that is not for everyone. That's why I always asked how long was your first spay and usually they say if he lowers hours which is appropriate and then I asked him. How long is your space now. Most of them say like fifteen to twenty minutes but when it comes to handling which is the biggest part of our job honestly honestly we don't practice and we use the same technique over and over and over again so I think we really need to practice it like anything else and in shelter older Annan bednarik clinics. I love it because there's so many different people with amazing skill sets like for example. I'm probably go to handler by. I may reach out to you you. Hey tag recall you the vampire. You're amazing We're going to set this up instead of trying to do everything ourselves which is a whole nother issue but I think in in summary basically feeling friendly handlings really important but it's not something that I can say hey stacy. I'm GonNa tell you how to do this in five minutes and you're going going to be able to do it so it's definitely something that we want to practice. When I first started with my handling techniques I practiced on studying animals because you don't want I start. I'M GONNA start with a really beautiful. Even though I am unsure what I'm hoping so you set yourself up for success now I have probably thirty to forty restraints just off the top of my head that I could just quickly change based on how that cat is doing versus what I had before which was one restraint which escalates fear anxiety and stress the you have all these different tricks of the trade that you've developed over time. You mentioned something about videos. So are there videos online that people can look at. I'm actually working on finally starting a YouTube channel. I have a lot of lovely jobs and I'm very thankful for them. So I'm working on starting a youtube channel which should be up in the next month or so but on chirps chatters facebook. I share a lot of feline friendly handling techniques in the real world. 'cause I do Cossack Zine clinics duty in our I work work with veterinary clinics so I share a lot of my examples in real life also on my personal facebook page as well as in my lectures because I think videos are really really important because I think some people like the idea of what I'm saying but what you have to realize when we've only been taught to scrap in stretch and that's all we know it's really important into always challenger selves and learn more but I know it can be difficult sometimes so when I have realized videos of hey I just drew blood on this cat and she just was standing the eating the whole time and her body language was relaxed. People start to get it which is awesome so I tried to get as many as I can. That's really great and really important. I mean even having this conversation. I'm like wish we had some visuals. You know. It's just because you know the things that you're describing. I'm sitting here going like I want to believe but since I haven't Zeenat seeing is believing right. Hey everyone who are here today to talk about Dr L. C.'s Cat Litter Dr L. C.'s cat litter here is known to be the best litter on the market and who agrees many of you know that hooch was a foster cat of mine that I adopted while at the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society we did use is the touch of outdoors litter as we transitioned him from being an indoor outdoor kitty to an indoor only kidding. I'm thrilled that who found his home with me but there were many times when folks would call me saying being there. Kitty didn't use the litterbox. I was also thrilled that Dr Elsies cat attract litter came out as it gave me a resource to share with others that was affordable and in most cases successful in keeping this kitty in their home as a special benefit to community cats podcast listeners. Dr. Llc's is offering rebate up to twenty dollars off your first bag back any Dr L. C.'s litter just visit Dr L. Sees Dot com forward slash community cats podcast to rebate or fill out the online form. Try Dr Dr L. C.'s Today and you won't regret it. I'd like to ask you couple of questions about clicker training. I'm not necessarily sure a lot of our listeners or are really aware aware of what clicker training is and how can clicker training be used in shelter environment or in any other sort of environment. Can you utilize it even an out you know in a feral cat colony environment or anything like that share with us. What clicker training is as it applies to cats and how you've seen it used clicker. Training is just a way to you. Teach animals new behaviors the click or clicker. We just call a marker. Some people use a verbal marker like they'll say yes. Some people use a clicker which makes a small all click sound. I'm a big fan of click because click sounds the same way from me that it does from a five-year-old from one hundred year old. I yes can sound a little different but again whatever your preferences for for example is. GonNa teach a cat a target behavior which I'm a huge fan of it's when you have them touch a target which I actually use clicker training with fearful cats a law and it makes a humongous August difference for example. I would use a pencil versus my hand because the animals fearful started want to put my hand in their face and win their nose touches. The eraser I click at that moment reinforce with food treat usually but reinforces can be putting play just like with us. There's lots of different reinforces. Food is just the easiest one to focus focus on and basically the click just serves as a way to communicate with the cat. That was the behavior I want. Versus just yelling sit or come a not really giving name criteria or helping them understand the click is a really cool thing because it helps us communicate with the animal like something. I do wear fearful cats with Kim socialization. I'm actually not a big fan of the whole holding them thing which is commonly used because I that actually a form of flooding which means if you were afraid of spiders I just dream in a room full of spiders so if you have a fearful or feral kitten and I go to grab them they're actually usually frozen in fear so instead head of that technique I usually start with target training and clicking entreating when they start to walk towards the cage or any behavior towards the cage page we call that cashiering which just means media capturing what you're doing it might be you just looking at me and then an era going towards me and then you walking out of the box I go at a pace your comfortable with the cat and I work with the cat positive program which is a wonderful program. It's actually supported and sponsored by the Jackson Galaxy Project and we literally teach shelters feeling body language and how to click or train and these cats who've been shut down for years come out of their shell in light weeks. This is life changing. I mean I'm pretty passionate but clicker training cats is amazing and I would love for more people to utilize it. It's just a way to teach them to communicate clearly a and you can teach fun tricks to spin and like my cats do agility and they jumped through hoops and stuff but I use it a lot more for behavior modification getting these fearful cads what's more comfortable and then I also do cooperative care which is where the animal plays a part in their medical cares for example. Mike Hat is trained to you. Go to a man I say meds. He goes to a specific place and he opens his mouth goodness while you have to realize like it's not that difficult to teach which is why I'm so passionate about it because as a vet tech animal losing lives because people can't medicate them and I'm not judging. It's a hard thing but it doesn't have to be and that's where clicker training meaning behavioral modification really come in clicker. Training cats is so fun and you can definitely find more information about that on my facebook page. I'm always sharing videos of clicker training raining hats and I actually have workshops on how to teach humans to click or train cats as well so let me ask you and ask you a question sort of a looking forward question knowing what you we know about rescue and it sounds like being involved with the cat positive program you've probably gotten some knowledge of other shelters and other programs around the country. Dan You've seen a lot. How would you look at a future shelter or adoption program is is there anything that organizations need to do structurally in order or to be able to have these cat behavior programs or is it something that can be just implemented like tomorrow after training a wonderful question. I'll be honest. I'm lucky because I do a lot of education and teaching so I get to travel to shelters all over the US and I'll be honest I've gone to ones with over sixty employees with a lot of binding and then I've gone to ones that are five people and volunteer base and the things they are doing are just amazing so honestly. I think that this is something that any shelter can do because I've worked with foster base. I've worked with like I said those really small rural shelters and then I've worked with a really large scale shelters. The biggest part is as as you can imagine consistency and setting up your team for success so for example. I'm not GonNa just say hey read this handout on clicker training and then you should do this and then get frustrated with the cat or the staff member so I'm going to empower my staff and have education for them and allow them to ask questions and practice and get better and look more into resources because there's so many great books and resources out there for them to learn more and it's a process every shelter is different as we all know even when it comes to feline friendly handling usually I'm working with a shelter or Vet Clinic. I teach them what it is. Why it's important and then we pick doc three things to start out with. 'CAUSE I need to set up my people for success too so we choose end. Those three. Things may literally be every cat has a box in their cage. Yes yes yes if I could scream that from the rooftops apricot. He's a hiding place on so every cat gets a box in their cage. We start to US feel away and we start star to give them one puzzle. Toy like that can be an example but then people since you're setting them up for success they kind of really go with it and I've seen I've seen shelters shelters who only actually been to a lecture of mine. I have gone to visit them in all of this enrichment your target training this is amazing. They're like I went to your lecture. I'm like how did you apply L. That you are genius so people are doing amazing things out there with very limited resources not that I'm not saying that money is important for shelters but I do feel like I've I seen the same results at the shelter with no money that are bouncier bees and shelters that have lots of money and staff so anyone can do it which is awesome and it means you can start sooner rather than later. You know you're not going to say well. We need to wait till we get our kitty. Cat Agility course setup. That's something that's not the priority. The process is more more of the institutional human behavior in how they interact with cats and understanding that word feline communication you share that in the beginning of the show and I think that's incredibly important is feeling communication and understanding how we interact with our cats and it may be in a different manner than what we have seen in the past. I totally agree with you because I always joke when I lecture. I'm not throwing shave guys but as attack I learned nothing about Feline Body language so you most likely didn't either right because with a lot of us feel like I'm always challenging myself. I never stop learning. I never think I know everything and I think that's part of the reason why have gone to the place in my career. I think it's really important to challenging ourselves and asking questions and I've done so many lectures where people were so wonderful and they're like I've had cats for twenty years. They come up to me after I didn't know anything about cats and I always joke. I've had a Harvard fifteen years guys. I still can't change my oil and I never will rose. I'm not saying the experience is important but if you're just doing the same thing at not progressing then important experience is so that a really good wait and to say staff members of success because sometimes I feel like sometimes we aren't very nice to each other from what I see and treat humans like I treat animals. I work with with positive reinforcement. I focus on the positive I try to set them up for success and the changes in even the way I've taught since I've gotten into behavior. I've seen so many so many improvements 'cause I'm always bettering myself and like you said someone will go to one lecture and Gordon. They're shelter in their stuff. They're doing. I'm like Oh my you've applied all of this yourself. All I did was give you a few books to read and give you a lecture so people are capable of doing amazing. Things for one person can totally make a difference. Tabitha if folks are interested in finding out more about the work that you're doing. How would they do that. They can go to my website which is true ups and chattered dot Com. I also have a terms in chatter facebook and an instagram at man positively positive facebook as well as my personal baseball. GotTa Love Social Media and I am always happy to Tair my resources with people. I have a lot of handouts and I have some webinars coming up. I actually have a fearful barrel. kitten socialization women are coming up in. September summer that I'm really excited about because as mentioned before unfortunately a lot of the techniques that we were traditionally taught was a lot of force in flooding holding grabbing with with socialization and there's a lot of really cool ways that we can use cleaner training and behavior modification to make things go a lot quicker so people can find me there and it's meals. He'd like to share with our listeners. There's Today. I would just say if you want to learn more about feeling friendly. Handling of course I'm GonNa say follow me but also international can't care fear for free low stress handling and cat bats dot com just hat friendly handling are all wonderful resources where you can literally go there and read articles falls on for example why we aren't scrapping anymore as well as videos and get more information and a lot of his three which is awesome excellent well. Thank you so much much for sharing that information. We'll make sure we get that in the show notes and I wanNA thank you Tabitha so much for agreeing to be a guest on my show and I hope we'll have again in the future. Thank you so much for having me and for everything everything you do. Education is so important as well as supporting each other so. Please keep doing what you're doing stacey. You're wonderful. Thanks thank you for listening to community cats podcast. I really appreciate it if you would go to. I Tunes Lever View of the show it will help spread the word to help more community cats yeah.
Kathy Black, Cat Fanciers Association Judge
"Tuned into the community cats podcast. Ready. Let's go. Welcome to the community cats podcast I'm your host Stacey Lebaron I've been involved helping a homeless cats for over twenty years with the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society. The goal of this podcast is to expose you to amazing people who are improving the lives of cats I. Hope these interviews will help you learn how you can turn your passion for cats into action. Today we're speaking with Cathy Black. Kathy is a CFA cat fanciers association, all breed judge, and she has been for nineteen years. She's bread and shown cats for thirty years. She's a current chairperson for CFA's companion cap world a program to celebrate our rescue and non pedigree cats around the World Kathy I'd like to welcome to the show. Thank you for having me is my pleasure to be here. So first and foremost if you WANNA share with our listeners and tell us how did you become passionate about cats? Well I have always been an animal lover from dogs, hamsters, birds, fish cats you doesn't matter I've always loved animals and I. Guess what I got out on my owned my landlady would not let me have a dog and saw she had a couple of Kittens as you gave me some caps and that led to another cab that looked like a coon and then when. That died I wanted to maintain. So then I got a Maine coon and then you know just one thing led to another ended up showing that cat falling in love with another breed called the Somali that upgrading Somalis for twenty five years then got into showing and judging and sandwiches it's been a progression but I've always been a big advocate for cats and all animals What was it about showing cats that really intrigued you. Well. I've always been super competitive. I played a lot of sports. My family likes to play Board Games. Card Games said we're all very super competitive. And when I got into showing I, think my competitive side came out in me. It's a fun thing to do I really had a life changing event happen right about that time and it just felt like I fell in love with a family family that loved cats as much as I did. and. They all became my friends and live long. France and so showing just became an whole nother aspect of my life and then the cats you know I love the we an so when the cat does well, then I feel like I've met my achievement because I put a lot of effort into grooming and the conditioning and the temperament and the different aspects that go into helping that cap be the. Best. It can be Tony a little bit about the cat fanciers association and what it's all about. It was founded in nineteen. Oh six I'm from Oklahoma Oklahoma became a state in one, thousand, nine, hundred, seven. So I always say this is a year older than even the Homa and it's while the world's largest registry pedigree cats in nineteen, sixty, nine, it started registering the random bred cats they called household pets. And we registered household pets almost all that time since nineteen, sixty nine. Until out. Two. Thousand. Fifteen that the board decided to let those cats are titles. So they become grant household pets they can be the top winning regional cats in their region. Or they could even be top national cat of the entire world CFA consist of member clubs. Those member clubs have been preserving and celebrating and protecting cats, and they could on catch shows which allow people to the income and exhibit their cats at the cat shows. That even though we are mostly registry pedigree cats, we've always been there to enhance the wellbeing all cats. And promote education responsible can't ownership and proper care for millions of cats worldwide only about two percent of the population of cats are pedigree cats. So there's ninety eight percent of the cat world do not know about C.. F. A. Do not know about lot of the pedigree breeds. So that's why we started this program a couple years ago called companion cat world to introduce people to see fa let them know who we are. If I say, AKC YOU'RE GONNA know what I'm talking about. You're going to know that C. American Kennel Club but if I say CFA to just anybody they're not going to know what I mean I haven't heard about us. They don't know who we are. So that's one of the goals that we started for a companion. Cat World is to reach out to the ninety eight percent of all the cat people out there that have never heard about us. Let them know who we are and what we stand for and what we work for and let them know that they're lovely can't that they have that maybe a rescue shelter astray, they can be part of our organization also so are. The people that register their cats do they all show their hats or do they register them for other reasons? Well, before we started this companion cat role program, el-sisi W, all the cats have registered pretty much where registered four showing purposes but not all cats are show cats I mean cats may not have the temperament maybe the owner doesn't have the temperament for showing it may not be something married in doing, and so we started CCW for all the cats whether you want to be a cat or not. Now of course, you can always take your cat. To a show because registration will earn you titles because of that being registered through cf but we are looking to do education to do fun events for people that may have a cab that may not qualify. For example, the Hasselbeck competition at cf show you cannot be declawed see if they does not promote decline of animals and so if you do happen to have a rescue shelter cab that has been declawed, then it will be eligible to come to our CCW fund shows. It just will be able to compete at a cf I shall as a household pet. Yeah that's great. That's wonderful because I mean many of us who've adopted cats from rescue you know is someone may have surrendered their cat that was already declawed. So if there's still an option for variety different cats to participate I can think of some very beautiful cats that I have owned, but they were semi ferals and they're not gonna be ready to show any time soon. But there beautiful beautiful cats. So if I registered them, do I get anything for that registry. It's a one time fee of thirteen dollars per cat, and that gives you your unique registration number hit you into the legacy of our database which has been around since one, thousand, nine, hundred, six. Also, you get lots of different discounts that are available to you from several of our vendors and you get a really cool card with your cats picture on it, and his has your name who the owner is. You can get luggage tags you can get key rings as Ed additional items to purchase, but everybody gets their membership card and you part of our program. So you're going to be getting newsletter that helps educate you about. Care and cat welfare as well as are pedigree breeds to introduce you to some of them you have sort of thoughts and ideas on the cat overpopulation situation in United States or across the World I mean ucf as it goes beyond the United States right? It's worldwide or is it just in the United States? Where worldwide, in fact, our number one breed rag doll is registered mostly out of China. We have shows in Malaysia. We have shows all across Europe Russia United States. Of course, we're not in Australia we promised Australia we would not compete against their organizations they have down. There were pretty much everywhere else in the world, and so when you think about the overpopulation, of course, we promoted SPAG neutering of your cats, but we also want to preserve are pedigree breeds when you look at the number of litters and kittens that are born with many of are pedigree breeds. They would be considered extinct or on the extinction list. The numbers are so small and these breeds deserve to be preserved. They've been around for many many years and so we want to recognize those braids and preserve those breeds responsibly. I like to call it intentional. We do intentional breathing's purposeful breathing's to better the breed and preserve that breed. But of course, we're going to promote spaying neutering any cats that are not to be used in a breeding program, and of course, any random bred cats well, and it's actually quite interesting. Now, this conversation it's coming up in. The rescue world because we are transporting a lot of cats around the country now because there are certain sections of the country where there's actually two few kittens available for adoption in those areas, and then there are parts of the country where there's too many cats and kittens that are up for adoption, and so there's become this sort of great shuffling of cats or I sort of call it cat solitaire that goes on where we're moving cats and kittens around the country to try and find the right supply and demand balance that's going on but now organizations you. are leading cats go to term to have their kittens. So they can adopt out the KITTENS, which is a different behavior that may have happened. You know several years ago when they were would spe them beforehand and it's just it's a fascinating question around breeding that's going on in the rescue world and I think we're GONNA have to have that conversation about how to provide our community with the pets that they want not even pedigree pets pets in general and I wish there was a magical solution out there I don't know if you have any thoughts on that issue. Well, that's an interesting concept. I think the covid everybody staying home i. know the shelters have been emptied out with dogs and cats because everybody's been home so much they thought well been considering getting a pet. Let's go get a pet that happened to me. I got a puppy 'cause I'm not traveling so much. So that's an interesting concept. Cf I, of course, is mostly about the pedigree cats but they've always been for the welfare of all cats and I think that everyone needs to be a responsible pet owner. And people that cats can just survive outdoors on their own. That's a very risky proposition. The average age of an outdoor cat is like nine months. The average age of an indoor cat is over nine years. So I think that you may have other issues that you're facing that I'm not familiar with in that part of the world where you're dealing with people looking for animals are looking for a cap is not available that this is something I'm not that familiar with. Yeah it's an interesting. Challenge that we have here in in New England and it's one that's you know we're trying to address it but we're seeing people putting kittens on craigslist for five or six hundred dollars. So it's showing that there's a market out there for them but it's interesting. We'll see how we all figure this out. We'll. We're all it one day at a time, and our first focus right now is making it through sort of Cova period. 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Simple cloud. We'd like to thank our sponsor the community cat coalition of Clark County Nevada in the decades since the group began see five has trapped over thirty seven thousand cats providing them with spay neuter vaccinations, and then returning them to call any caretakers in the greater. Las Vegas area. See Five is a volunteer organization that believes they can eliminate the senseless euthanasia feral and free roaming cats that live in the Las Vegas Valley they are a caring and dedicated group. Whose goal and purpose are the wellbeing a feral cats and their community they feel an obligation to provide Farrell and free roaming cats a better life. While at the same time humanely reducing overpopulation, they believe their actions will improve their community by reducing feline diseases. They have a passion and a belief in a cause that is morally right, and that will make a difference to learn more about C. Five them at www dot c five, dash t N. R dot org. HOW HAS COVA IMPACTED CFA? Well, it's really impacted us. We shut down all of the cat shows in March worldwide. The Board decided later on a couple of months later to open it up to each individual club if it's safe in their region, we were thinking that maybe some of the Asian countries might be able to come back to having shows, and in fact, we just had a show last weekend in Asaka, Japan. So. That was the first CFO. Since March. So most of the shows are not going on right now, another cat association were like religions. We all have our own idea of what the what the organization should be. So there's multiple cat organizations out there another organization did have a show a couple of weeks ago and I haven't heard a lot about it. They did everything social distancing and wearing masks and extra precautions, and so I think they kinda laid the groundwork that maybe some of the other clubs can look at what they did and we can try to think about moving forward but. A lot of people that are in the high risk either with age over the other underlying health complications, and so they're just kind of sitting back and not wanting to really risk going to show right now other people are chomping at the bit. They've got these beautiful cats. They've got kittens that are going to end up aging out kittens are anywhere between four months and the day before they turn eight months. So any kittens? That were born in the spring they're going to pretty much go you know those four months without ever seeing a cat show and getting kit is very important to let them know and experience. What can't show is when they're young, it can be a little more stressful on an older cat go into an environment where there's all these noises and a big high ceiling and a large room and lots of different sounds and smells. So, typically, we try to get our kittens to show a couple of times while there is still on a kitten class. To get them used to it so they're missing out on data. So we have a lot of people who really would like to have a show. That, you know with the local regulations and the laws and the number of people that are congregate and the facilities are very expensive. So if you can't get enough income from either the exhibitors and without spectators than the clubs really can't look at putting a show on Sunday. It's definitely impacted are showing and our ability to have shows and we're looking for the day when that all is over with and we can get back to seeing our friends and showing our cats again. So you haven't adapted in done like zoom virtual show or anything like that. Yes we have. We've had several fun shows through virtual means either the pictures were omitted and the judge the judges, the cats in the pictures I did a very interesting show for Moscow where they actually setup somehow a program with a video mix where they would patch me into the person's house the. Outer. Shell. Me Their cat I could speak to them and tell them what portions of the cats I wanted to see like you can show me the profile show me along the hair is you know different things like that? I can't see the color can you have the cat kind of look directly into the camera and so and of course, it was really fun because it all took place at two o'clock in the morning my time. But yeah, that was an interesting show of course, these virtual shows because you're not actually handling the cats just fan they're not really for any kind of titles or awards. But Yeah we've had several deals going on in fact club in. Florida. Put on a show and got over five hundred entries, and then there's been some lunden laughing London had show they put on the Berman owners are exhibitors or putting on a show with just Berman's right now. So, there's lots of different virtual shows that cropped up to try to keep everybody engaged. Let everybody gotTa have some fun. Do Little fundraising for your or for an event that you may have coming up and just try to keep everybody involved. But now see if I the only one show we've had is just last weekend in Japan. So you know many of your folks are breeders and I'm assuming that they're doing adoptions and it sounds like there may even be like a generation of Cats that have missed out on this training period or early show period when they're young getting them used to be around people and in the shows and everything. So you know I'm assuming that they'll be some adoptions happening in the rescue world. We've really adapted to contact lists or virtual adoptions where we use video to show the cats and pretty much folks are adopting cats sight unseen has. That been a conversation at the FA, not necessarily at cf I but I'm sure the individual breeders are having to find coping mechanisms to deal with this situation. I mean the cat have cats are if you've got a breeding program with pedigree cats, then they're going to need to be bread or at either spam or neuter them are or breed on. That's the only options you have and then There's going to be resulting kittens that need to find homes as pets. So I'm sure there's a breeders out there that are working on different ways of showing off their kittens and I know when I was breeding cats had a long waiting list. I was bred cats for me not for the general public, but I would always end up having pets that were available not enough to fill. The demand. So I always had this long waiting list of people that were waiting, and so I would contact them say okay and this is what I have now are you still interested and they'd say, yes, we blading two years you know or something like that. So when people are get their mind set on a particular look or particular breed than there, always going to be pretty much willing. To do whatever it takes to find that special cat adding to their life, and we definitely want to tap into those people that are involved in adopting a rescue and just WanNa bring up one point about CCW we had our member clubs identify a rescue shelter group. In each region, we have seven regions domestically in continental United States, and each of those seven regions identified one rescue. Shelter Group, and our CCW program is donating a portion of our registrations to that shelter group. So if I'm, let's say we have five hundred cats at are registered in the Arizona Southern California Utah Area than the rescue group that's been identified from that area. We'll get a portion of those proceeds and we may switch it around from year to year we may pick a different shelter or if. We have only one that we really identified. That's helping both tell their people that are risking cats about us and also enjoyed working with them then may stay with that one shelter group. But that's one of the ways they were giving back to the rescue group and the to the shelter groups by giving them a portion of our proceeds. That's great. Also I had the opportunity to go. To a a show, one point in time, and there were certainly quite a few rescue groups there, and also they often the rescue groups walked out the door with lots of food donations or product donations either from the vendors that were there or you know at the door, they were accepting donations of food. So the individual events are really quite supportive of of a variety of different groups. Yes, we really enjoy having a working relationship with the rescue organizations that's usually down to the club level, but it it not only wards off people that are anti pedigree or anti breeder because we show them how we do partnership with rescue groups and that local area but it also like you said, it people come to see the cats and they also come to see the the rescue cats and many of them get adopted. Right there at the show most the time, the breeders will not have kittens for sale a show either they're not old enough or didn't bring the ones that they're not showing. So the people that come to the show have the opportunity, meet the breeders and see their pedigree cats and not fall in love with a particular look of a breed, and then they can start the conversation with that breeder about a potential pedigree cat that when people come and they're ready to get a cat that day you know is nice to have the rescued. Cats, their summer skew groups won't even have cats present. They just had pictures because they have a vetting process they got through with the new owners, but we enjoy working with the local shelter groups, and that's one of the goals of our CCW. Program is also to start tracking that we've never really tracked those numbers. So I'm putting plans in place to actually get hard numbers of how many cats are adopted at our local shows because we have, you know, maybe three hundred shows in a year so it's hard to keep up with all that. So, we've started putting mechanisms in place to get those numbers. So when we go to people that we are living, be looking to sponsor s or something like that we need some hard numbers to prove to them. Kabir working with the local shelters and risky groups. So it folks are interested in finding out more about companion cat world and CFA, how would they do that? Well, the best way to go is to our website CFA dot org, and the CW program is available there under the drop down or you can type the ncfei dot org slash cw. and. There's lots of information about our breeds finding a breeder, you can read all about C C W if you have a beautiful cap that you would like to register and become part of our program, the link is right there with a big turquoise batances join now and for a one time fee of thirteen dollars, you get a pdf of your cats registration and you'll get your membership card and a couple of weeks make sure that you submit a really good picture make sure that it's a picture. That includes most all the cats. Sometimes, we get pictures of just feet or legs and things like that. So get a really Nice Picture and upload that picture in a couple of weeks you will get your beautiful CCW card, and then you'll get access to our newsletter our blogs, and you'll learn all about the different discounts that will be offering to you also, and that like I said, it's a one time fee thirteen dollars per cat cathy is there anything else you'd like to share with our listeners today? How Stacey, we've covered a lot of different mostly just that we are there for all the cats we are for the welfare of all the cats and we want your beautiful kitty at home to be a cartel member of our organization and we welcome you whether you could show your cat or not. We welcome you to become part of the FA Cathy I wanNA. Thank you so much for agreeing to be a guest on my show, and also I would like to do a shout out to CFA for sponsoring the online kitten conference and really appreciated their sponsorship. They were wonderful partner to work with and thank you so much and I look forward to having you on again in the future. Stacey enjoyed it. That's it for this week. Please head over to apple podcasts. Leave a review. We love to hear what you think at a five star review really helps others find the show. You can also join the conversation with listeners can't caretakers. On facebook and instagram and don't forget to hit follower subscribe on spotify Apple podcasts Kuka podcasts Youtube stitcher or wherever you listen to podcasts. Don't miss a single show. Thanks for listening and thank you for everything that you do to help create a safe and healthy world for cats.
Ashley Shoults, Animal Arts
"Tuned in. PODCAST. Let's go. Welcome to the community cats podcast. I'm your host Stacey Lebaron I've been involved helping homeless cats for over twenty years with the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society. The goal of this podcast is to expose you to amazing people who are improving the lives of cats I hope these interviews will help you learn how you can turn your passion for cats into action today. We're speaking with actually. Schultz Ashley Principal With Animal Arts and architecture firm in Boulder. Boulder Colorado that specializes exclusively in the design of animal care facilities. She has a very project portfolio managing animal shelter veterinary in boarding projects, including the thirty-five Thousand Square Foot Old Town at resort in Sterling Jinya and more than a dozen facilities for the Veterinary Emergency Group located from Boston. Mass to Encinitas California actually is currently working on the design of a new animal shelter for pause Seattle her expertise in every aspect of animal care designers. Book recently. Co authored practical guide to veterinary hospital design. Actually I'd like to welcome you to the show. Thanks for having me Stacey so before we dive into all things architecture, which is my passion, so I'm thrilled to have you on the show I. Let's share with our listeners. How did you become passionate about cats? It goes way back. I think my love of cats started all the way back when I was probably about five years old I. Remember we lived in Ohio, and this was during an era where animal welfare didn't have the significance that it does today and. And people weren't as educated about it then and I remember when I was five years old, we were out playing in the front yard, and my sister and I found two kittens living under a tree in our front yard, and there appeared to be no mother around, and so we decided to make them our own. They became our cats, and we brought them inside and into the house, and they became our pets in. We learned to grow in love and care for those cats, but again because the animal welfare education wasn't what it is now. We didn't spay neuter our. Our cats and so are female cat. They were indoor outdoor. Cats ended up having kittens, and so we went through that whole process of having kittens in the home again and all of that stuff, and so from a very young age we had cats in the house, and I watched the whole process in Ruta. Love them, and now today I have two cats of my own that have adopted from the local shelter here and I just love cats love who they are, and what they bring to us as pets so obviously, you went to architecture school. I will congratulate you. You for that his, I had desire to become an architect myself, and there were just too many architecture students staying up all night long working incredible hours that it really amazed me the amount of time that architects put into their work and I hope you're one of the ones that have figured out the work life balance, but it's a lot of time and effort that goes into that profession, so I had a great time when I was studying architecture and then also urban designed. My mom had adopted a kitten named the Kitten Corbu, so you can think about that. So it was a great time in my life I always think about design in anything whether it's just a small room in our adoption senator whether you're designing a feral cat feeding station, you know before we dive into the specifics of what's it like to design a cat facility? Why is it important for us to think about how we should design our spaces for the cats that we care for? It's usually critical from my perspective. I love doing it just in that. Most architects are strictly designing for humans, and that's great. We understand that because we're human, and so we can relate to Howard designing spaces. How might interact with those faces, but doing what we do? Do in getting to design for both the people and the animals that occupy space. It's just a fun way to look at the built environment in the world around us. We see in the work that we do and what kind of impact it has on the animals, poorly designed spaces cause more stress in cats and dogs, and that stress than leads to more illness and disease, and can be detrimental to the health and wellbeing of the animals that are in the space, and so we need to constantly be thinking about how the people use the space, and how the animals use the space, and how do we make it? An environment that the animals will also thrive in. So I think you've been at animal arts for about fourteen years now, and a lot has changed with regards to cats and the number of cats that are coming into shelters in the last fourteen years. How has that changed your thoughts around shelter design? Yeah, absolutely so the last decade or two. We've always said. Cats are the issue in the animal shelters, and they are in have been in that. Dogs were coming in and getting adopted much quicker and cats had a longer. Longer length of stay in the shelter, and so it became an issue of how to better house them in terms of keeping them healthy as well as how to feature them better and get them adopted, but that went on for awhile of just cats, having long length of stay, not getting adopted as quickly Gore, seeing that change, there's not as many cats coming into the shelter, and the cats that are in the shelter are usually getting adopted quicker now, and I think that's. That's a huge reason behind that is because of the education that shelters around the country are doing in educating people about adoption as well as how to care for animals in educating people that maybe are thinking about relinquishing their cat and how to work with them so that that doesn't happen, but we're just not seeing those numbers in the shelters anymore, and so what we're seeing now is there's a big paradigm shift that the cats that are coming in are actually typically community. Community caps that have a different path that they need to take within the shelter. A lot of the general public will find community cats thinking that they're doing the right thing by bringing them into the shelter because they think they're just a stray, or they're lost cap in that they should be a home, not knowing how community cats operate in what benefit they actually bring to the community, and so we're seeing more and more of that and again that has to change the. The way we think about cats in the shelter in what their process in the shelter looks like the US or path I think about the word flow. You know there's different flows, so you'll have the cat coming in the door to the facility and you know the question is. Does the cat become returned to field? Does cat get into a foster care track because it's a kitten, or because it's another situation that it needs to go to foster care for Rehab or is. Is it a cat that gets channeled into the adoption track all these different flow patterns for cats, and they're very different, and also I would say that if we're looking at a new model a for an organization that is becoming very cat centric, because that's the needs of the community, are we looking for a model that is less adoption, square foot oriented, and maybe more in that community wellness Diversion Clinic Space Return to Field Barn cat option something like that I mean what? What your vision of the hat shelter of the next generation, you touched on a lot of the things that come to mind for me to in terms of what we've experienced with different shelters with community. Cats like you said there's a variety of paths right so one. Let's think about it from the different types of cats that come in so kittens community kittens that come in if they're well socialized or can easily become socialized by having some time in a foster home or Or that sort of thing. That's great. Those are the cats that want to eventually go onto the adoption floor. Maybe they're old enough that they're ready to go straight to the adoption floor, or maybe they need some time in a foster home for a little bit, and then they can come back and go to adoption. So that's one example what am I seeing change related to? That is foster programs at shelters or having to grow significantly because of this and we're seeing that. It's awesome to see people step up in volunteer to help with fostering cats, but it's not without its challenges, either when we think about adult community cats that are coming in, there's again a variety of pass that they could take most of the time. They're going to be returned to feel in. What does that look like that probably means we need to think about the clinic space a bit more because they're gonNA. Come in in a trap. They're going to get spayed or neutered and vaccinated, and then they're going to be. Be Taken back to where they came from, and while they'll probably be ear tipped as well and then taken back to where they came from. But what does that look like? If we're seeing more and more of those numbers we have to think about where we housing those cats when they come in in their traps inner, waiting to be spayed and neutered vaccinated on all of that stuff, and I think that this is a big area for opportunity and growth in our shelters, because these casts are super stressed out, these are. Are Cats that typically just live outside their active at dusk, and when it's dark outside typically, and so they're being brought in in a trap, carry it around in this trap that they're feeling uneasy and unstable, and put into probably a bright room where they're being sitting in their trap, waiting for their turn, and then they recover. Go back in the trap and go back to where they came from and I. Think one of the big things here is. How do we house them? And how do we reduce the stress for? For them. There's simple things we can do. Like making sure that we have covers on the traps so that they feel it's darker which is more of the environment that they're used to. Because they're more active at night. And then they're also seeing all the other cats next to them, and then thinking about how we're transporting them. When a cat is in a trap, and they're being carried by the handle on the trap. Nobody likes that it's the same with someone's pet cat in a carrier. They feel unstable and uneasy. Uneasy and so maybe we think about different ways to get them into the facility I've seen clients use like bakery carts, and they placed the traps on the bakery carts, then wheel them in so that they at least feel a little bit more stable, and then once they get inside and warehousing them. We might think about ways to make that environment more like their natural environment. Are there ways to have an operable window in that space so that they're getting fresh air and hearing outside noises, other things to consider desirable light. Light, so maybe if we don't have covers for the traps that they're in, we have dim -able light so that it doesn't have to be these big bright lights, shining down on these cats in increasing their stress levels. So that's just again rattling off the top of my head. These are all things I think we need to think about. Some of them are little things that can have a big impact and other times we need to consider the built environment and having more physical space for these community casts that are. are coming in because we're seeing the numbers increase yet and I also thank temperature is another important consideration, and you talked about fresh air, and making sure that the noise that is coming into that space is pleasurable. Noise not dogs barking from the dog pen around the corner, so that also comes into the fact with regards to design to where I felt that it's extremely challenging to have dogs and cats or mixing a lot of different animals in one space, even if the dogs are in one wing and the cats are. Are In another wing. There's just still this feeling of stress there. So what are your thoughts when you're designing for clients that are mixed animals, or have you done design for a cat? Only facility where we've done both from a mixed animal perspective, where huge proponents of separation of species and I liked always think of it. You need to at least keep one room between every dog and cat room so that they're not sharing wall straight, so that's just one simple thing to help from annoys perspective, and then the smells. The dogs and cats can smell each other, and that can cause stress, and so having good HVAC systems in your facility to help with that odor control in them, not smelling each other you could, even if you have the luxury, consider having separate cat and dog clinic within the facility just to help eliminate the crossing of paths of those animals. Most people don't have that luxury, but if you're starting from scratch and have the ability to do it, I think that's always a nice thing to consider when we're doing cat. Only facilities in this is true when you're doing Caton doc facilities. Facilities. We also have to be careful about the size of the rooms. We don't WANNA put too many cats all in one room, because if cat has some sort of illness, that's not detected at that point, the more cats they're exposed to the more likely that is to spread in so if we can keep cats in smaller groupings or smaller pods, not have fifty cats all in one room, but maybe have a few small rooms of fifteen to twenty cats that goes a long way as well and helping to reduce stress as well as helping to control the spread of illness. As we emerge from the global pandemic of Covid, fostering is emerging as the normal in the animal welfare industry, but shelter management software doesn't provide the tools or the workflows for communicating with foster's at scale, so many organizations struggled to maintain hundreds of animals in foster homes. If only there was a system that was custom built specifically to solve this problem, introducing foster space powered by our friends at Uber. Foster space was custom built to. To allow you to manage hundreds of foster relationships to communicate with them via text email an even facebook messenger, your fosters have a portal where they can upload videos and photos and updates on their animals and organizations can schedule fosters for meet and greets adoption days or anything else they need. They're so much more to check out sign up for free at www, dubar. Dot Com and go to the foster stays tab to get started. Community podcast and Feline Leukemia Advocacy. Supporter Margaret. Tompkins are thrilled to announce I ever online. Feline Leukemia Educational Day to be held on July eighteenth from ten am to five PM. We will have a wonderful group of speakers sharing their expertise around Feline Leukemia Plan Speakers Include Amy Co. Becker from best friends animal. Society Dr. Julie Levy from the University of Florida for any Fox over from Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society Danielle, case from Tree House Humane Society Dr Heather. Kennedy from Casey PET PROJECT AND And Monica friend from Austin Pets Alive I. Really Hope you'll join us. On July eighteenth from ten am to five PM to register for just twenty five dollars go to www dot community, cats podcasts dot com and click on our virtual education tab and you'll be able to sign up today. Please join us. Please learn all that you need to learn about feline leukemia and make those adoptions happen once again, go to www dot community, cats podcasts dot com sign up today. We'll see there. So. What are your thoughts about? The cageless environment versus a caged environment and cage design has also changed dramatically over the last several years to, but I also think that they're sort of a camp out there that appreciate sort of the cage environment, and then there's a cageless environment group and I didn't know if you have thoughts on that. Honestly, my thought is that you need a little bit of. Of all of it, because not cats are the same. Some cats won't do well in a caged environment and do better in kind of a group housing, situation or a free roaming, situation and other cats do well on the opposite end of things in want to be in a cage where they have more defensible space in so I'm a big proponent of having a variety of housing so that you. You can cater to the needs of each individual cat. The thing that we needed to keep in mind is how to do that if there is caging, or if there is group housing how to do it properly in there are guidelines about what size cages should be for cats, cats are being housed long-term like on an adoption floor. We typically want a four foot wide cage at a bare minimum. Minimum of five foot wide cages preferred the idea. There is keeping that two foot triangle between litterbox food, and resting areas rate, and so having a wide enough caged to be able to do that is important for their health and wellbeing, and then from group housing, Cat perspective, the general rule of Thumb Best Practices is that you have eighteen square feet per cat, and so making sure that you have. Have the right amount of space even if they do thrive in group, housing environment as well as defensible space, so that they have resting benches to get up high and go remove themselves from the rest the cats in that environment, and that sort of thing another thing we're seeing that happening more and more often is kind of an in between those two people are taking what are typically used as. As dog runs pre manufacturer dog Kennel, type things and putting top on them, and then letting those be cages, but they're a larger cat cajun, so there's different levels in so it might be a five foot by five foot box. That's six feet tall. It's like a dog. Run that you would normally put a dog in, but you put to catch in there instead with the idea that you. You could have a bonded pair of cats or a mom and kittens in that space, and they have more space to have a bit of free roaming without being in a group House Cat Environment, so I'm a big proponent of having a variety of housing options. You can cater to the needs of each cab. What question and this is probably the million dollar question out? There is finding out what? What the magical ratios are like! How many cages or how much capacity do you want to provide for your intake room for an isolated room or sick room, and then for the adoption floor I mean that's always the question, because it seems like every adoption center that I've onto. There's too many cats in this section. That room is like has one cat in it, so there's always this challenging. That goes on and I don't know if you have had any experience and determining like. If you want to have thirty available cats on your adoption floor, you should have room for ten cats in your intake. Do you have any sense of what those ratios should be really hard to say? Every organization is different. The one thing I will say is that when we first start working with A. A client before we dive in and help them design their facility. We take a hard look at the numbers. We look at the number of cats coming in and going out for the past five years and understand what the trends are going up. Our number's going down where the cast coming from how many are adoptable? How many are returned to field and we analyze those numbers so that we? We can get a gut feeling of where we need to assign the space appropriately, but again it varies dinning on the organization so I. Don't know that there's one magic rule of thumb. The one thing I can say though, and it's kind of goes back to talk to you before is if you can create smaller pods of rooms that are all similar in nature in lay out that could. Could give you the flexibility depending on what the situation is to use those rooms differently. So maybe you have five rooms that can each house, fifteen cats, and during peak kitten season when kittens are old enough in adoptable, maybe three of those rooms are for adoption to our for intake or vice versa, depending on how quickly they're coming in, but during slow season when you're not getting in A. A lot of cats. You don't have a lot of intakes coming in, but you have several cats extra sitting on the option for maybe four of those five rooms or for adoption, just the idea being that. If you have a variety of smaller pods of rooms that are designed the same, you can change their function based on your needs. Death threats say it's multitasking the space, right or stacking. Stacking different multi purposing that's base and I can add to it and have a drop down desk or something in there and make that as an optional privacy workspace to for folks because I know that there also in this environment, a lot of people have a hard time finding a quiet place to work, and so if one of those rooms happens to be emptied, could almost act as A. A study room to agree I think providing that flexibility within the space especially when it comes to housing can go a long way in helping to meet your needs depending on what those seasonal fluctuations may be so before we sign off I have to bring up the topic of money. It takes a fair amount of money to build a new shelter. There's a lot of stress and anxiety there's. There's a lot of capital campaign work that goes on to raise money to build a new shelter or to buy a facility that you're going to renovate or something like that. What are your recommendations for organizations that are thinking of moving forward and embarking on a new shelter American mundane has to start early. The process will take longer than you think and it will cost more than you think. So start early. Get your ducks in a row and figure out what it is that you absolutely need out of the new space I and work with an architect or someone who understands that and can do that assessment for you so that you know what you're getting into once. You know what kind of capacities you need to have for housing, your animals that will inform how big the facility. Facility should be that will inform of course of budget then you can work towards, and then there of course are creative ways to try to accomplish these goals in small incremental steps. Maybe you don't have the budget to build a brand new facility start small. Little changes can go a long way in terms of increasing the welfare of the animals in your care helping to reduce their. Their stress and that sort of thing, so talk to someone who's been there done that. Maybe it's another shelter organization near Your community that recently did build out an architect or any of these resources we have in the animal welfare world. Talk to them and get ideas as to how you can improve your facility in a way that works with your budget. That's really great it folks that are. Are Interested in finding out more about animal arts and the work that you do. How would they do that? Step would be to just visit our website. It's www dot. Animal Arts Dot Com, and we have a bunch of photos in examples of past projects that we've done information on our design process, and what that looks like an there's also a contact for him to reach out to. To us if you're interested in finding out more and Ashley. Is there anything else you'd like to share with our listeners today I guess one last part of advice that I would challenge everybody to consider that I didn't get to touch on previously. I'll just do a quick bit here. Is that to think about the barn? Cats that may come through your facility. We didn't talk a lot about. About those, but that's another area I think we need to be thinking about. As we move towards the future of having more community cats coming in through our shelters. How do we properly design housing for those adult cats? That maybe can't be returned to feel. And how do we provide them a good comfortable life in our care in a barn type setting and I think we're GONNA see. See a lot more of that in the future, and so I challenge everyone to start brainstorming and thinking about what that might look like for your community and for your shelter. Yeah, and the other thing we didn't touch upon to is sort of how the Casio model can also play a role in a shelter designed to absolutely yeah, we're big proponents of that I. Love Finding Opportunities To. To let the cats get fresh air in a more natural environment in the Cavallo approaches a great way to do that. Well, actually, WanNa thank you so much for spending some time with me today, and for being a guest on my show and I hope we'll have you on again in the future. Thanks so much, Stacey I really appreciate it and I look forward to doing it again. Thank you for listening to community cats podcasts. I really appreciate it. If you would go to tunes, Lever View of the show, it will help spread the word to help. Mark Community Cats.
Will Zweigart, Flatbush Cats
"You tuned into the community cats podcast ready. Let's go welcome to the community cats podcast. I'm your host Stacey Lebaron. I've been involved helping homeless cats for over twenty years as with the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society. The goal of this podcast is to expose you to amazing people who are improving the lives of cats. I hope these interviews will help you learn how you you can turn your passion for cats into action today. We're speaking with will swaggart will is the founder of flatbush cats a five oh one C. three non profit focused on reducing the outdoor cat population in Central Brooklyn through tr and rescue work he began doing trap neuter return in late two thousand and sixteen gene after moving to the Flatbush neighborhood in Brooklyn and discovering cats everywhere. DNR led to fostering friendly's and before you know it he and his partner were over over their heads with mass trappings and Medical Emergencies will formed a nonprofit to better organize their efforts and begin bringing new volunteers into the fold today. Eh Flat Bush cats teaches tr classes and offer support and tools to newly certified volunteers including Trap Bank community foodbank facebook support group mentoring and rescue adoption support for friendlies they also recently launched their first mobile spay neuter clinic pilot program in partnership with the Toby Project to support low income residents and prevent more cats from being born on the street. Their goal is to help solve the outdoor cat population problem in New York by creating a sustainable model for how hyper local grassroots groups can serve on the frontlines in partnership with larger animal welfare organizations by day will is a brand strategist with an advertising advertising agency. He enjoys documenting his T. N. R. And rescue work through video photography and social media believes authentic. Storytelling is the key to rallying supporters reporters behind your 'cause. Well like to welcome you to the show. Thank you great to be here. You are just fantastic on instagram and the videos that you do. It's just I it's absolutely amazing and we're going to do a deep dive talking about the storytelling and the video work that you do and that you're you're just so excellent at but I you shared a little bit in your bio I about your interest and how you got involved with the kitties and Flatbush but tells a little bit before that have you always been a passionate cat person years of always been passionate cap person. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a household with cats in developed sort of a lifelong appreciation for them from early early moment. I kind of use myself. There's an example of someone who might WanNa talk to from an audience perspective because just a few years ago despite being a lifelong cat lover spite having cats for most of my life. I knew zero absolutely nothing about what was going on in New York and teen are any of that stuff so I try to use that as a reference this point remember that you could really love animals you could want to support them by. There's a lot of folks who we aren't really even reached yet. That's amazing we get stuck in our sort of in our world worlds and we talk about tr and we talk about community cats and we talk about rescue foster care this and that Blah Blah and we figure everybody knows what we're talking about about but really most people don't have any idea and is that something you look at when you're talking about storytelling and trying to share messaging with with your organization one hundred percent to your point. I think the longer you're involved in the space. The more you realize that we are sort of under resource to meet the challenge in any given large city so despite having a lot of very caring people who make great sacrifices to do their part. The problem is very large. That's the challenge is huge so realize pretty quickly. We're going to need a lot more people on the front lines and this can't be seen as some quirky. Obviously you guys talked about all. The old tropes before another episodes but this can't be seen as some weird thing. This has to be seen as community service. This has to be seen as civic engagement. Smith and doing your part and so I think it's our challenge. I think it's everyone's challenge to talk to that much much larger audience who maybe loves cats but doesn't know about any of these issues yet so I think that's a shared opportunity and responsibility for all animal ever groups. When you started flatbush cats what's is five. Oh One C. Three. Did you decide to go it alone. From the very beginning or did you research other organizations and just feel like they weren't covering covering the same topics that you were interested in. It's a great question I mean so set. The scene for our listeners because flatbush is just a tiny part of Brooklyn. If if you were looking at a map of the borough is right in the center. We've got over two point five million residents just in Brooklyn. That's not even all of New York. It's one the most populous cities in the country behind. La in Chicago just Brooklyn and the ZIP code has over eighty thousand people per square mile. That's that's the highest density of any SIP code in Brooklyn. Its highest densities of cousin country so when we got started definitely there was no. There's no way to really provide full. Oh coverage or a city that large join C. L. as well in other areas you could you could just we're. GonNa Small Area to really have the most impact possible and so when we originally got started it was a classic scenario moved to a new spots he gets everywhere we did of course contacts larger groups. We googled and contacted taxis. SPCA contacted the few shelters that we could find. That's still a little bit of a broken system hoping to maybe play a role in connecting people who who want to help with the right resources right now. You're kind of feels like you're digging through the yellow pages and you get a plenty groups you email them. All all groups get all all the same help requests so that's another topic but I really WanNa. Maybe contribute to solving that but after some searching we realized that we needed to get involved and do this ourselves later on we did meet some other groups work in up peripheral area like Brooklyn cast who was really helpful for us when I got started but again the with the city that large and that dense you really have to have focused resources in any given area to be able to make any kind of impact so so that you wanted to be able to really focus and work on a targeted area. Were you aware of that of the sort of targeted approach with regards to community cats or was that just your own personal decision. It took a lot of research. I mean I'm I try to be as solutions oriented person. I try to be inefficient person with our time. Obviously obviously when you're on the front lines doing tr rescue and you see this cycle firsthand at some point you step back and say there's gotta be a better way. There's got to be something we can do to it. Actually turned the water off as opposed scooping buckets out of the basement and so that research led me to a larger industry groups and associations actually found your article. Stacey believe it was for sheltering magazine really talked about the community cats pyramid. Do you want to give like a short overview of what that is sure sure yes animal sheltering magazine profiled the Community Cats Pyramid. You can find the blog post on the community. PODCAST DOT com website you just do community cats has pyramid and it'll come right up but basically it's a modeled after the food pyramid and it's the the triangle at at the base of the triangle is offering low cost or no cost spay neuter assistance for owned cats and then you go up and you have trap neuter return and then you go up and you have adoption and rescue and ideally early you get to the tippy tippy top. We're talking barn relocation or sanctuary or foster for life for something like that and that should be the smallest population of cats that we're assisting sustain if you want to really reduce your overpopulation situation in your community really need to have very easy access to either free or super super low cost spay neuter cats in the community for owned cats and that's really going to be one of your biggest game changers with tr being at that next level and I find many organizations that pyramid is upside down because there's doing so much more rescue and adoption and very little assistance in the owned Cap Communities Unity's so yeah. I'm glad you found an animal sheltering. I was wonderful that they they covered it and we also have it in Spanish too. It's out in a blog post out at a group in Spain yeah and I I would love to see more discussion about that especially again. As a maybe an outsider someone's new to the space. Maybe it's discussed in certain meetings or conferences ince's but that was a huge lightbulb for us because as much as we love this work. This is our spare time like were wrong tears. We have day jobs like this is nights and weekends operation. We need to know that our time is being spent efficiently and that was a huge eye opener that it's kind of kind of commonsense if you're just only doing rescue you're only pulling cats off the street. That's one hundred percent reactive while we're happy to help. Those cats were happy to tell the stories five to ten years from now I want to be able to look at my neighborhood which is huge and say that we've made a measurable impact and so the only way we can track that impact is either from the top down or the bottom autumn up and the bottom up method of saying we did X. Number of adoptions again wild very critical. That's like saying we scooped x number of buckets of water out and I really they WANNA say. Actually we canvas this entire area. We provided spay neuter awareness to people we had conversations. We made low cost spay neuter vaccination ax nation in bet care services available. Those are the kinds of impacts that we want to track and ultimately we also want to track the intake city shelters from our zip. Zip Code. Unfortunately we're having trouble men information down and also a lot of folks that our neighborhood don't even know about the city shelter they just put their cat outside but we're making progress towards getting our hands around the real metrics that matter and really focusing on them so that we can make sure we have a real impact over few years having groups being able able to share information and I know it can be sometimes challenging because the questions may be a little bit different but you know even if we can get a mini baseline line of some information that we're willing to share. I think is really helpful. We have in Massachusetts. There's a group called Boston. Homeless cats and we only get together once or twice a year but one of at those meetings revolves around data sharing for the groups in the Greater Boston area and I think it's incredibly helpful for everybody to be able to understand what's going on and what the challenges are and you know what people have seen for the previous year so you know I I really hope in any city or any area and regional area groups do take the time to put what a meeting together at least once or twice a year to maybe have some of those objective goals to be able to work together. Do you WANNA create amazing videos that get animals adopted then check out rescue tube where they've simplified the creation of adoption and fundraising videos volunteers and fosters simply upload raw video and rescue tube turns it into amazing stories set to music. They even posted on your social media for you. CHECK OUT RESCUE DOT tube to learn more well. You are just an incredible as she say I'm a systems guy and you're able to sort of look from the top down but you're also incredibly visually oriented and we'll have a link to a video that you put together. That's on your flatbush website being part of an advertising agency and with branding experience. Do you have any information you'd like to the share with our listeners about visual storytelling storytelling for different age groups you know some of your thoughts around what you've seen out there and what might help people make their visual work a little bit stronger yeah absolutely to make the most use of our time. I might jump around a little bit here here. I just want to provide as many tips as possible to folks you know sometimes. I'm listening to a Webinar conference a Mike get the good stuff like things that can use so our approach to visual began out of necessity. We were up to our neck in kittens who were getting bigger by the day in the middle of the summer in two thousand seventeen nineteen. We realized we don't have a network sounds like not too long ago but we didn't have any network at all. We don't have a physical space. No foot traffic no adoption events warn five zero one c three so it became a necessity to pay for nuclear options to pay for dental work to get adoption visits so I'll kind of skip over over the why this is important. I think everybody gets that. It's our first priority was. How do we make our weaknesses. Strength will are small size means. We get to spend a a lot of time with each cat. I think that's something that we try to to show that people here. Is that you know in a foster environment. You're able to really bring out the personality you're able to show oh the process like because we do a lot of St Rescue. We get to actually show that moment. That amazing is coming in from the cold or coming being in for medical care and we kind of keep the camera rolling from then on out. I think if you're really large shelter obviously there some scale challenges here. Maybe you don't you don't know the story very cat or point. You just have like a shelter environment to photograph the man but anything you can do to show the interaction between the cat and people is incredibly important one of the things that we always wonder when we're thinking about adopting a cat is are they gonna like me. Do they like people. Aren't they really friendly. I would never just say this cat is really sweet. I would say to the foster that photos great but can you send me a video of the cat getting some Chin scratches like can you send me a video of the cat in lounging in your lap. I want to show that relationship and Matt Dynamic and I think we do little kind of it's for our fosters we have to. I don't WANNA say train but we have to show each one of them. Individually why the documentation part is so important. I think most of you will find that the documenting side comes naturally for maybe a small percentage of your audience. You know some people who already take lots of photos of their cats may be more proactive but we try to show from the beginning. This is a key part of your responsibility as a foster. Is We need to document the progress. We need to keep people informed how the cats doing. I don't WanNa just show a photo at the very end and say this is teddy. He had a really rough time now now. He's great like try to do one post of a cat when they're all the way through everything they've been through. It's really hard to develop that emotional connection cat yet. You're using those visuals to to tell the story but you've got also a desire to use it to fundraise. I know you're very active instagram page. I understand a lot of people advocate advocated instagram because there's a lot of visuals but I feel like I get the sense that you've utilized it as a great fundraising source for support and I don't think we necessarily certainly think of Instagram as a avenue for fundraising and correct me if I'm wrong for twenty nine thousand nine hundred twenty twenty regardless of who you're you may think your target audience is first of all. Everyone loves stories. Everyone loves a powerful story. We have people of all ages giving feedback about how count at route one individual vigil story or another so that typically ends up being sort of the gateway to learning about organization. I mentioned the community cap here. Mid So ideally rescue is not the primary focus but it becomes the teaching moment it becomes the way that we can deliver information about everything else that we do. Every single cat teaches teaches us something so if I'm telling you about this cat Julius who is is really friendly now but he was really shy outside that becomes an opportunity for me to show how we use the the drop trap that becomes an opportunity for me to show why teen our skills really important to be a good rescuer that creates opportunity to talk about upper respiratory infections and and giving them time and space and socialization so you know it's way more than just adoption and it's way more than fundraising every time we're able to document one of these stories it gives us disadvant- tastic teaching moment and specific instagram one hundred percent. I could not overstate that digital and social strategy for my day job and I can just say instagram dominating everything right now. It's not even close. Things are always going to change platforms always. GonNa come and go course but that's that's where you need to be right now and kind of alongside that it is our fundraising strategy. We can do events. We could do newsletter things we could do. You know please. He's for help on a specific situation but we find it's way more beneficial to be proactive in storytelling all the time and then you never really need to get to the point where you're you're in an emergency and if they've seen the cat when it came in and they know the surgery's next week. It's nice to not have to ask. It's nice to tell people what's going on. Show them so they have a much more close connection. I think about the nonprofits that I support it through my own donations five ten years ago maybe would get a letter you know like. I'm not going to visit your website eight. No one's gonNA visit your website. Maybe I would get some updates somewhere but now people were following these rescue groups on instagram. They're getting daily updates and they're seeing the progress Chris. They're seeing where their money went. The other thing you're saying to as a small organization you are focusing where your own strengths are two and you're not allowing yourself to get distracted by different rabbit hole type scenarios like you say running events or doing that kind of stuff so I think the other thing too is knowing knowing what you have as a small organization from abandoned standpoint. You know obviously you're in an area. That's incredibly densely populated huge population huge number of cats and you know you touched on it earlier a desire to be able to communicate and network better looking forward will your new so I'm hoping you're going to be in this business for the next twenty to twenty five years so we have this whole overpopulation situation resolved and solved by them. You know what do you envision happening for community cats and for our organizations over the next five or ten years specifically to New York and I think that is representative of a lot of other area challenges and we have some structural improvements that we need to make I would urge all of you to watch the documentary the cat rescuers that you interviewed steven the other filmmakers prior that shows the deep isolation the deep sacrifice that individual rescuers are making right now and I think that's strictly unfair for the people who care the most goes to be bearing most of the burden so we're really grateful for the resources that we have at a city level but on a per capita basis. New York is currently under-funded. We're not putting dollars. There's into the programs that we need to make and the the employees at the large organizations are doing their best. They're pouring their hearts out but were simply not funding this challenge late we need to so. I think advocacy for all the larger in small groups to be working together and have a tighter network. They're focused on the problem actually discussing the problem. I've not ever heard anyone anyone say. Let's talk about the problem in New York. How do we fix it open discussion without fear of failure without fear of judgement but I think that's looking up I think looking at the broader population population the biggest change that we have to make is we have to be catalysts for everyone to understand the role that they can play. I I mentioned earlier that most people in New York when I talked to them they do not know about the population problem. Okay that's opportunity number one right there everyone if the people who live amongst us and have the resources to donate and have the weekends to spend time trapping in fostering if they don't even know about the problem that's our number one opportunity and that's why we spend so much time again on channels like instagram and you is because selfishly. We know we can't do this ourselves. We reach that realization a long time ago so who's GONNA help us. We've got to bring New People and we're GONNA bring lots of New People and so we have to create this welcoming inclusive positive aspirational space where people don't feel guilty to help. They don't feel guilty to donate instead. We talk about the joy that fostering brings we talk about the deep sense of filming the changing these cats lives bring us and we use that as a tool through social media to get more people involved in its working before we wrap up today. I WanNa ask you a little the question about your partnership with the Toby Project. Would you like to share bit with our listeners about that. Yeah so for folks not around the area. The Toby Project is a long-standing outstanding nonprofit in New York focused almost exclusively on providing spay neuter services to the area and I'm. I am so thrilled that we get a chance I work with them. The coolest Dad I've ever heard they have spayed or neutered over forty five thousand cats and dogs in the region and that's the kind of impact that we get really excited about. We reached out to them. pursuant to our community cap here made conversation. I reached out to them and said we WANNA educate. Our residents community members about spay neuter but we live in an underserved area. It's not fair to go and tell people they need to get their cats fixed. If you're not giving them a solution for that that doesn't work so so we need to be able to bring those services to the area. We're doing a pilot with them. This year to test that Al Michael is again. I don't know how we're GONNA do this. I think it's fine to share your goal out alowed without knowing how you're going to do it yet. Our goal is is to regularly have free or low cost spay neuter services. No questions asked for all residents residents in Flatbush and then Greater Brooklyn and so that's why I mentioned it'll take a lot of partnership with a lot of larger organizations make that happen but I think we have to be very vocal about the need and we have to be very vocal about how that actually supports us is individual rescuers so that we're not just scooping said cats and kittens off the street ten years from now so we'll if there there are folks interested in finding out more about flatbush. How would they reach out to you folks. I always tell people to follow me on instagram because you know if you go to a website you you might never come back or it might feel like a brochure to you so following us on. INSTAGRAM is the best way to see what we do day in day out. We have some great videos on our youtube channel. There are a mixture of of kind of education how to and storytelling but our website is at flatbush cats dot org well. That's excellent and we'll make sure we have links to all of these places on in the show notes and get it out in our social media to is there anything else you. WanNa share with our listeners today. I want to say you know. Having great photos and videos doesn't mean that you need big production budget. It doesn't need to feel commercial in fact when you're talking about social media something that looks heavily produced our brains read that as an ads so actually doesn't work in favor to have things like text overlays or things that look like posters or things like TV ads not only do not need that it can trigger sense that you're watching an ad that can kind of get people moving on more quickly so try to document the stories that you can with your phone. I teach a workshop on photo. The video and the workshop is based on your phone because I don't want people to think that they need some kind of crazy four k camera on equipment and studio to document the stories. If you look got our instagram I would say maybe eighty percent of that video is for my thought or from a fosters phone so yes things like good lighting and composition. Do make a the difference and yes you should try to improve your game and you know stick with it but also if you really don't love documenting your work. You do need to find in hire. Someone who does because photo and video requires a lot of time and commitment and passion but as we talked about earlier. It's not just about getting more followers. It's not just about adoption adoption. This is going to be the center of your fundraising. Efforts in the future is going to be the center of the direct relationship that you have with your doners and it's also going to be the number one source for finding new volunteers and people who can help you so it is worth the time and energy wow that's great so valuable information there and will. I want to thank you so much for spending time with it's made this morning and thank you again for to be a guest on the show and I hope we'll have you on again the future thank you stacey. It's been a pleasure. Thank you for listening to community cats. That's podcast. I really appreciate it if you would go to. I tunes leave a review of the show it will help spread the word to help more community cats.
Alisse Russell, Puff Cat Rescue, Inc.
"You tuned in minicabs podcasts reading. Let's go welcome to the community cats. Podcast I'm your host Stacey Lebaron. I've been involved helping homeless cats for over twenty years with the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society. The goal of this podcast is to expose you to amazing. People are improving the lives of cats. I hope these interviews will help you learn how you can turn your passion for cats into action today. We're speaking with a lease Russell. Alise is the founder and Executive Director of Puff Cat Rescue Inc. A recently launched grassroots rescue with an ambition to grow into a nationwide rescue network. They are dedicated to solving community cat. Overpopulation not only by participating in TR. Foster care but by preparing seminars and workshops designed to engage communities and get involved in the effort. Puff or pause up for felines is a small but mighty initiative born out of the instagram rescue community. Puff is designed to make connections with rescues across the country and increase rescue accessibility to underserved areas while also making a local impact and encouraging to do the same in their communities. Outside of Puff. Elise works in the mental health field with underprivileged people and is working toward certification as a humane education specialist and spends her nights watching. Hgtv marathons with her husband and her two cats Khloe embel- elise welcome to the show. Thank you so much for having me. Yeah so before. We JUMP INTO DETAILS ABOUT PUFF. Tell us a bit. How did you become a fan of felines? Well I think that probably plays a pretty common way for most of your guests. You know I grew up having cats in my house and I just fell in love with from the Gecko so as I got older and became more involved with the health of my cats in my home I started getting involved with municipal shelter. I learned how to trap neuter return early stages of this was back in the early. Two thousand love just kind of grew from there. I went to school to be a social worker and through my time working and mental health. I've realized that at underprivileged as the people are that I'm serving so are the homeless animals or the community cats in my local area. So that's kind of where that got started. After I graduated college I had put my community cat. Love not as off to the side but I guess kind of on the back burner a little bit to focus on my career and then I started following kitten lady on Instagram and it just reignited that flame right there. I got involved. I started getting more and more involved in the rescue community on instagram using the hash tags to connect with people who were needing someone come out and traffic or to foster a. Catholic showed up in their yard and really utilizing that platform to connect with people who needed the assistance. That's wonderful I mean we've had a couple of interviews with some organizations that have really taken advantage kitten. Lady obviously is one of them will zweig yard at flatbush. Cats has also really created very huge presence on instagram. You know what is it about instagram? I mean I understand their hold of visual. Everybody can take a million pictures of their cats and post that information up there but why instagram versus some of the other social media platforms. What is it that really you gravitated towards that so instagram seems to be more of an instantaneous Experience to me. So the connections there so far reaching it's a very very global network where the facebooks twitter's they are global but many of the group seemed to be more localized instagram. What I liked about it is that I can connect with somebody who is in California. I can connect with somebody who's an Indonesia or in London in help them connect to other resources. So Puff Cat. Did THAT START ON INSTAGRAM. Or was there something else on instagram. A different logo or name or just your own personal account. I'm trying to figure out how you went from instagram. To puff cat. Was there something specific in there? And I think I may be sharing my age right now on the podcast and the fact that I'm a little bit instagram ignorant. So I apologize. If I'm not understanding everything fully no so I did start originally with just my personal instagram and that was when I follow kitten lady and I started following other fosters and I realized as I was falling more and more that they were kind of taken up a whole fee so I created a separate account. I named it. Khloe and bell. After my cat's just why could have in instagram? We're on looking at the cats and then another one where I'm looking at my friends and then as I started following more so to get more involved. This isn't really my cats instagram anymore. This is for rescue. This is for foster and I renamed it to what it is. Now pitter-patter pause and that's kind of where puff was born. I have two separate instagram accounts. Now I have my pitcher powder pause and I have a cat rescue. We utilize both to to maximize reach. So tell me. What is Puff Cat Rescue? And what you hope that. It will grow into so puff. Cat Rescue is a volunteer foster based rescue. It's a grassroots effort building. It completely from the ground of we are a hundred percent donor-funded no investors new corporate interests and originally the idea was to focus on Massachusetts cats whereas where I'm based out of Massachusetts and we realize as we were growing that the resources are there but they're very hard for people to connect to especially for more rural areas. Underserved areas are having trouble connecting to rescues to help out with the community. Cats and their locales so we were still focusing on that direct care initiative with tr with the fostering but we really want to develop this network an actual network maybe like a social media kind of thing where rescues are members they can go on and any person in the country can go on and see a list of the resources in their area or resources that will come to them and help out even if there's none in their immediate area so how would this be different than some of them are regional programs. Best friends has like best friends network. And there is a Maddie's pet forum out there and then there's facebook pages for the Massachusetts Animal Coalition that you mentioned is this something that's even more grassroots than sort of what those larger organizations might be offering. Yes I would be bringing in mostly. The smaller rescues though is independently. Run one or two person just trying to make a difference really bringing them into it so that they cannot expand their own reach best friends. Aspca those are great organizations. And they're doing wonderful work but we still have a lot of grassroots rescues. That need support that. They're not quite getting so the aim for this is to get them the support that they need so that they can support the people in so when you're saying they're not getting the support is it money. Is it help volunteer help? Is it items stuff? You know food supplies. Do you have a specific list? Or that's to be determined by. The groups is to be determined by the groups. I mean I would think it's all encompassing. There's rescues at have great donors. They have that cash flow coming in but they don't necessarily have the volunteers to support the volume of cats in their area. So head of all encompassing you know it sounds like you did the foster care and rescue. I is that correct. That's correct and we are still doing that. So it sounds like based on that you felt like there was something lacking and that's why you're creating this next level and it's interesting because back in the late nineties for me. When I was answering the phone at the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society all the time with people wanting to surrender their cats or questions about cats etc. Yeah so many people outside of our local area wanted spay neuter assistance for community cats and everybody had to pay one hundred twenty five at that point in time per cat with a private jet to get a colony done and so you know. I knew we couldn't set up another adoption center. You know in all these different communities but I thought well we could certainly do some subsidized free spay neuter for any FERAL CAT. That came in trap needed to be spayed or neutered. So we would start. We started our mash style clinic. So it's basically based on experience you sort of our understanding what might be missing. And what's needed going forward? You know looking at this. Are you creating this network? How is the database being put together or? Is that just a very linear thing will be accessible to everybody. It is going to be designed to be accessible to everybody. The aim is going to be to create a whole new social network where people can get on an engaged maybe like facebook maybe similar to instagram. Where we can make individualize groups prestige lists prostate? We really want people to be able to directly contact each other not just through email or phone calls but instant messaging route chatting so that they can reach as many rescues at the same time as it can trying to streamline all of the connections that we try to make us rescues into one platform. Hi everybody early bird. Tickets are for sale for the two thousand Twenty Online Kitin conference which will be held on June twelfth through Fourteenth Twenty Twenty. It will start on Friday night and then it'll run all day through on Saturday and all day on Sunday speakers that the national kitten coalition have lined up our Chris. Roy Dr Cynthia Delaney. Emily Carl Dr Aaron Doyle Heather Svoboda Michelle Lynch Arden More Carolina key Dr Karen Ver- now Dr Linda Jacobson Kirsten Jenky Dr Mardi greer Miquel Delgado Monica friend. Nicky Harris Simone Kelham Taylor La brea or just a sampling of the folks that are going to be presenting during the weekend. So it's a huge lineup. It's a very exciting weekend. We have go to. Www DOT online kitten conference dot com. Get your tickets today. The early bird price of fifty dollars. This is a weekend not to be missed if you can't be there though it's okay because there will be recordings available. If you do buy your ticket early can get access to those recordings for about sixty days. After we released the recordings don't miss out join us for the online kitten conference. We'll have trivia fun. Lots of excitement online KITTEN CONFERENCE DOT COM. See you then. Technology animal rescue yes. There's an APP for that. Check OUT UBER. Dot Com where you can connect with over twelve hundred organizations and twenty seven thousand volunteers across the country. Do Burt is fully automated. So you can create transport requests for the animals that need a ride across town or across the country. The system automatically notifies the volunteers and manage the sign up process for you DUBAR even has powerful integrations like importing your animal profiles from shelter love and shelter buddy or automatically pushing your transport request to your facebook groups and pages but that's not all do bird has a fundraising module an online store and auction house. Where you can sell your items and even mobile APP on both android and apple for those people on the go check out DUBAR DOT COM to get signed up for free today and start saving more time. Well you save more animals. You're also talking about potentially doing some events. Are you thinking in person or virtual or you haven't thought that far yet or designing them to be more in person because there's going to be some hands on workshops really teaching people how to do? Tnn HOW TO SET UP A trap. How do this how to do that? I do see the potential for a virtual seminars virtual workshops to for sure yeah no. It sounds very exciting. Have you done any educational workshop up to this point in time up to this point we haven't launched any? We have been working on designing a couple of workshops so that when we are ready launched. We have a couple in our arsenal. Sounds good so you currently work in the mental health field and you sort of touched upon this. But I'd like to find out more wizar- something that in your experience in that field has also drawn you to the need for community cat. Spay neuter access as well as access to affordable spay neuter for cats anything from that field. I feel like we sometimes have a big gap between social services and animal welfare and I feel like they should meld closer together and I'm not sure if you get that impression too. Yeah I agree. One hundred percent many of the people that we work with are homeless individuals who still have a suspect spot in a heart for a furry friend. They may be homeless whether without their furry friend. There's a lot of crossover between human social services and animal welfare. And do you see a role for those agencies doing something in this network? I mean that's a really good question one that I hadn't actually thought about. I think there is a place for social services to get involved in animal welfare puzzled how much animals impact our lives. Everyone's lives yeah. It's been interesting. It's been frustrating on sort of the flip side win. Some organizations have dealt with wording situations and they've gone in and they've been able to really assist with regards to the animals but social services has not been able to assist that person. Say that houses condemned and they need to find housing and social services an effort to get to the house as timely. A manner as it is to deal with the cats and then the staff dealing with the animals also dealing with that person who's obviously extremely emotional in devastated. Her oftentimes their children. You know and you're going around in your trapping cats and it can be an emotional scene. And so then the Animal Welfare folks are also being social services to Intel. Social services can come and help that person so I think that that probably happens both ways in various scenarios. And so it's it's a challenge and I think we haven't crossed that bridge jetton bringing those two groups together in a very active basis yet. So you're a new group. You just started in January or you got incorporated in July of two thousand and nineteen. What's that been like in? Would you have any advice for someone? Who's thinking about starting a new group? Have you already run into any challenges or obstacles? Oh of course yes definitely run into any obstacles and challenges. The best advice I could give. People is stay organized. Go into it knowing that. You're probably going to be over your head if you go into it knowing that you're going to be over your head and you're going to be overwhelmed. You'RE GONNA be more inclined to be more organized and that's really going to help you get through all the application processes. There's a lot of background work. That goes into building a rescue that. I think maybe people aren't aware of when we started a rescue. We're doing it because we want to help the cats and we're not doing it because we want to do paperwork but the paperwork there and it needs to be done so being organized really going to be your best friend. Yeah and you can say that to me as I have here. You know planning a cat conference have about thirty stickies on my desk so I will take that suggestion to heart and try and clean up my sticky notes. Because that's probably the worst way to do. Things is by putting things on sticky notes that end up getting into piles and all that kind of stuff so lesson learned for me today. That's for sure. And it's a big challenge. Do you have a board of directors? Have you put a board of directors together yet? Yes we have a full board of directors we have all four officers plus a sitting board member and when I was recruiting board members are really left for people who are smarter than me in different areas that we have somebody who has experienced with nonprofit philanthropy. We HAVE SOMEBODY. Who's experienced with social media and marketing office management? We have a veterinary assistant. I come with nonprofit management experience in all of our experience together is what's GonNa make this a success. It's not just me running the show with a couple of board members behind me saying yeah go. That's great they back on me. They tell me when I have that idea. They don't mince words and I appreciate that so very much. You actually mentioned in the beginning of the show that you are a listener of the community cats podcast and not to like my own show but have you found it valuable to tune into the show. Yes absolutely wave managed to start developing a relationship with a former guest list whittaker by utilizing her software politics rebuilding our databases. We have really taken a lot of the episodes to heart as far as you had wills wider talking about videos. We're now making videos. Because of the advice that he was giving so there's a lot of great information that comes out of the show and it's really helped us build this pretty quickly past six months. That's great can you share with us what you're following on Instagram Yup. It's a Lotta Fosters people that I've developed relationships with using the instagram platform. We have some veterinarians following us as well a couple of wildlife sanctuaries that we have a pretty broad follower list. I guess you would call it. I mean there's plenty of individuals to who are coming onto the page. Do we have a facebook page as well. So they're coming onto the page. They're seeing the great posts. They're liking the page and then they're inviting their friends. So we're seeing a lot of organic growth that way so I'M GONNA ask a couple of the standard social media questions. How often do you post in? Do you post organically or do you use a scheduler. We try to post every day as we're such a small organization like I'm GonNa be real. We don't have the amount of content that getting ladies do so we're also engaging with other rescues kind of locally nationally and helping promote their animals that they have or adoption really helping them market that and do you use any special tools for your social media like any scheduling tools or do you just go on and post every day. We're just going on and posting every day. We're posting organically. Were commenting organically. This is a very personal rescue and I want the whole experience to be a very personalized one for everyone involved and tell me the difference between instagram's stories and the feed the instagram's stories. That's the twenty four hours that people can click on your profile and they see a little whatever picture video laying however you WanNa put it up in there. Those are temporary. Do come down. Instagram does have highlights feature where you can make them a permanent video or post on your page but the news feed is really where all the permanent posts. Oh that's where we're putting. The adoptions the updates all of that stuff is going into the newsfeed so we use the stories to kind of I guess. Hook people in to come to our main feed. I wouldn't say that the stories are the main focus when using instagram. So Elise if folks are interested in finding out. More about puff cat. How would they do that? We have several outlets where they can see us. We have a website. That's puff cat rescue dot. Org were also on instagram. At puff hat rescue and on facebook of cat rescue. It can also learn more coming to my personal instagram which is at pitter-patter underscore pause great. Is there anything else? You'd like to share with our listeners today. Yeah I'd really encourage all your listeners to engage with the grassroots organizations in their localities because these are organisms that are out there giving it their all and they don't have the community support necessarily that they mean whether that's financial material volunteer. There's always ways for people to get involved if you can't donate than maybe you can volunteer even just helping post on their social media so that it's one less thing that somebody has to worry about. There's so many ways that people can help local grassroots organizations like ours. At least that's awesome. Thank you so much for agreeing to be a guest on my show today and I hope. We'll have you on in the future when puff cat has grown a little bit more and for our listeners. Out there pleaseconsider sharing this podcast with others and if you feel real dynamic it'd be great if you can post a review wherever you listen to this podcast reviews or really so if you do have a few moments and would be willing to post review that would be great and at least thanks again and hopefully we'll be chatman soon. Thank you again so much for having me. It's been a real honor. Thank you for listening to community cats. Podcast I really appreciate it. If you would go to I tunes leave review of the show. It will help. Spread the word to help more community cats.
Carrie Lippert Gillaspie, Television & Podcast Host
"Tuned in. PODCAST. Let's go? Welcome to the community cats podcast I'm your host Stacey Lebron I've been involved helping homeless cats for over twenty years with the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society the goal of this podcast is to expose you to mazing. People who are improving the lives of cats I hope these interviews will help you learn how you can turn your passion for cats into action today we're speaking with. With Carrie lippert Gillespie Carey is a TV host and podcast host. We think huge passion for helping animals. Last summer she started noticing more and more barn, an outdoor cats in her rural central Wisconsin community. She called a nonprofit that specializes in high volume, low cost, Bay neuter and convince them to bring their mobile unit two warehouse to sterilize all the cats in her neighborhood. Her team and she also raised funds to make their surgeries completely free of charge to the neighbors. The event was such a huge success that is being used as a prototype for six other communities in central Wisconsin to host events, just like that this coming spring and summer. Carry it like to welcome you to the show. Thank you so much for having me on Stacey I am so happy to be here so before we jump into the details on your program and everything that you're doing. How did you become passionate for cats? Well, honestly, I still tell people to this day I'm not a huge cat person, but I am a huge animal person in general, and I'm very passionate about my dogs and I grew up riding horses, and we had a family cat growing up that I loved fluffy, and she lived for a long time, but I was gonNA myself more of a dog person, but as a general whole I'm. I'm just an animal lover, and I I think animals are beautiful creatures I have a connection with animals. I don't know what it is. It's kind of hard to describe, but I just have a lot of empathy towards them in I. Religious Connect with them, and so I don't even know if I would consider myself. A cat person per. Se, but I am just one hundred percent in animal person well. You're clearly passionate about helping the cats in your neighborhood based on your story, so tell me a little bit about. How did you encounter the cats in your neighborhood? And you know, take us through the steps a lot of people. It sounds so. In your bio as to what you should do, but how is it that all came together for you? Yeah, it does sound so obvious, but it's sometimes hard to connect those dots, and so, what happened was last summer. It's about yeah, probably around last summer it took a little bit to get it going. I just kind of was starting to notice more and more outdoor cats, feral cats in my community I live in. In a very rural area in central Wisconsin so outdoor cats are the norm, and there's a lot of farmers in my area, dairy farms or hobby farmers, and they all have cats, and they all enjoy their cats, but from time to time the population gets out of control, and they become annoyed with it, or they become upset, because they can't stop you know the overpopulation and the mass reproduction of them just noticing. Noticing, I was hearing more people kind of complaining about the amount of cats in that I was seeing them as well crossing the road and dodging traffic and things like that, and you know as I, said before I'm just a I'm a huge animal lover. I see something tonight. Here's something and I wanted to do something about it I'm definitely one of those people where I can only talk about the problem for so. So long before I'm like okay, we've established it. Let's move onto the solution. And in this case it's something I was passionate. Enough about that I took matters into my own hands so for me, what that looks like was calling and getting in touch with a nonprofit called the fixes in, and they are low cost, high volume, spay and neuter clinic in. They have a mobile unit that they travel all around Wisconsin and. Cats and dogs, too, but I had actually gotten my barn cat. I have a barn cat that just showed up at my house, and so he claimed me as his own. I'm so. I had gotten my cat. Cedric fixed through my local humane society partners with them to do the low cost fan news for the animals take it in, and so he had gotten fixed by the fixes in anti was just familiar with them through that, and so as soon as I heard rumblings of all the cats I sent them a random email just to their general account. was like basic like Hey, I know that you guys will come to people's houses, you know. They had sand on their site that said if you have thirty or more cats that they would come to your house in fix your entire colony, and so I sent them an email I said look I don't have thirty cats, but I bet between my neighbors and everyone around me. I could get thirty cats at my house. If I organized. You know to have all these people bring their cats in if I handled registration, did all this stuff if I paid for it or got raised the money to pay for it? Would you guys come to my house and offer these surgeries and sterilized these cats in my neighborhood, and I got a response from the woman who runs the fixes end. WHO's the founder? Carla bless her soul, amazing woman, doing amazing work, and I think she was kind of blown away at first that such an idea kind of came to her, and that I was just like. Yeah, I WANNA do this, so she was like. Why don't we get on the phone and talk about this small? And I was like okay, so we got on the phone, and she laid it all out for me and I think she kinda thought she was GonNa Scare me away, but I did the opposite I was like this is awesome. Let's do it, and so we just kinda started planning from there, and that's really how it started. was me sending an email? Saying I'll do this if you'll help me. Let's make this happen and it escalated from there. How did you find them? Did you find them through like posters that you saw or was it the old just googly thing so my bar cat? Cedric was fixed through them. Them through my local humane society, so my local humane society every once in a while when they have space, they will take cats from the community, and you know if that people contact them, and they will have them fixed through the people who fixed their cats that get adopted out so I'm good friends with humane society in my area, obviously because I'm just an animal lover, and so I know them well on I said Hey I had this I have this cabbages showed up at my barn and he's claimed we as his own and I'm starting to feed him, so that means I need to fix him I tell. Tell people! That's my cardinal rule if you feed them, you fix them so I said he's claiming his own, and I need them fixed. And they said we have a lot of cats going down to the fixes in next month. We'll get along so I met the fixes in through my humane society. Basically now I'm going to also talk about about money. Because sometimes, that's the stumbling block you know people will say the two things that are the stumbling block I find when folks come across the situation, and they feel like they just are overwhelmed and they don't know how to take that step forward is either. There's no. No available, affordable, spay neuter services, or there's no money and you know. I hear you say Oh, he reached out to neighbors and we did fundraising. What did that look like in terms of strategy for you? Yes, so for me, it started with assembly in a small team and I say small because I think when you too many people, it can be hard so I had to people. I had my best friend. WHO's really talented in marketing and writing news articles? She works for news outlet and then I also had my mother WHO's really good at nonprofit fundraising. She's done a lot of fundraising in her past. She's GonNa. Honing in on a message delivery, delivering it, so had those people we met once a week for coffee, and we strategized from there, and we kinda just picked off and went through. We racked our brains for local businesses that we thought their customers might resonate with this. Purpose in what we're trying to do. And we went out to them, so we've booked visits. I reached out to you know I pulled every string. Every connection I had, and my family is well known in my parents are well connected, and so they were able to just get in the door, and I just went to these businesses, and just pitched my idea, and I didn't. I didn't get all yeses. I people who thought it was a great idea, but were. Were leery about stepping their toe in this arena, and that was fine. Because you know when you're looking to change a paradigm, sometimes, it takes time and I think a lot of those people who maybe donate I I think they will. This event is really taking off and expanding and they're gonNA want to be in on it because we're changing the culture and were shifting how people are viewing. You know community cats in our area and they're gonNA WANNA. BE A. A part of that so for us, it was just a aligning and finding companies and brands that we could pitch idea to, and we could just get them to hear us out and say look. This is the issue. This is what we want to do to help. And we think your company weather. You sell gasoline to farmers whether you sell feed to farmers whether you are alone, you know a credit union that gives credit to farmers. Those are all businesses that. That are really closely associated with this issue. We're trying to tackle. We're trying to really address in change the environment in the living situation for outdoor barn cap, so we really honed in on those businesses, and we had some great success we funded at fully, and then we also made it an option that people there on the day of the event the surgeries were free, but we put out a bucket, and we said you know by the generosity of XYZ. This event is free, but if you have at your means to give anything and pay it forward for next clinic, we would appreciate that and just by doing that. We raise seven hundred dollars for our next clinic, so it's amazing a lot of these people. They couldn't afford if they're bringing eight cats. They couldn't afford to pay you know. It's forty dollars a cat. They couldn't afford that whole cost, but they could give something in that little bit added up. How many tasks did you do in that? First day we did sixty cats in one day, and is that about the capacity for the mobile vet for the day? That is one hundred percent capacity. Capacity and then some probably, but I mean to ask a few logistical question, so my assumption is at least the mobile vet clinic that Iran. There's not enough faith in the unit to do recovery. Did you do recovery in a secondary location? We did that was part of what Carla went through with me when I I emailed her, and I told her I wanted to do this event, she said okay, but you're gonNA. Need to provide a couple of things for us. One of that, was we. We needed in my clinic was in. November and this is Wisconsin so we needed someplace where we could all be Kinda warm. We didn't have to be you know shorts, but we needed to be able to keep the cats Lama. We needed all of our volunteers to be some comfortable, so and because I live on a farm. We have a number of buildings one of that we call it the man cave, so it's heated. It has a TV in couch, a kitchenette in a bathroom and And I'm like I have the perfect space and I told her about and she's like you're right. That is the perfect space, so we did. Logistically, we needed that. We need you know a space that we could keep temperature controlled. We needed access to water. We needed a bathroom, four volunteers and things like that, but other than that those were the big things. I needed on my part in terms of like providing to them, and we also went a little bit farther and we wanted to provide. Provide a meal for all of our wonderful volunteers and fix in so my parents actually sponsored a meal for everyone as well so those are kind of some of the things. That I had to have in order for her to even think about bringing to my place. I'M GONNA. Take a little step back to you were talking about the outreach within the community asking for their support. Now you're not a five. Oh One C. three organizations. So how were they able to donate to the effort it? It just wasn't a tax deductible donation. No, so they didn't donate to me. They donated to the fixes. which is the low cost high volume spay neuter clinic. The did the surgery, so none of the donations went to me, everyone who donated either donated cash, which is then distributed to the fixes them or if they wanted to write me a check, they wrote it directly to the fixes, and so it was tax deductible. None of it went to me I. Myself Am not a five oh one. One C. Three, but the fixing is, but that's part of that relationship, and developing it with the nonprofit, and oftentimes I will get emails from people saying. Oh, I want to do this, so I need to be a five. Oh, one C. Three, and did you ever think you wanted to be your own five? Oh, one C. Three, or did you just say hey, you know the folks at the fixes in you know I can i. just use your tax ID number so that I can get. Get donations. Yeah, I know that's something I've thought about in the future and I had people ask me that, but I made. I can't do what I'm doing without them so for my own five. Oh One C. Three. All the money that I would raise is going to them anyways, because I need their that services you know, so, that's what I'm pain for essentially so i. mean you don't need reinvent the wheel. You know you don't need to be five. Oh, one C. three to do this. This you just need to partner with with someone the fixes it has been my partner in s you know so I am really just like the boots on the ground for this, but I am pioneering this fourth and what they're doing. I ultimately believe in mission so much in the services they're providing. And I just knew that I had the personality in the connections and the gumption to Kinda. Do the legwork on it, but otherwise they are one hundred percent have been my partners in this. Providing a safe and nurturing environment is every cat caregivers top priority the American Association of Feline. Practitioners, understand your cats natural behaviors and aims to supply you with tips and resources to help you provide the very best care for your cat. Join our cat community by visiting cat friendly dot. COM and you can sign up for our newsletter. This website was designed to be a place where cat caregivers can receive credible and trustworthy information from veterinarians, a variety of topics just for cats learn ways to understand your cats unique characteristics. Characteristics and behaviors how to keep your cat healthy and the importance of routine veterinary care. Did you know that August twenty second is national. Take your cat to the vet day. Make sure you visit cat friendly dot com to find out why it is important to take your cat to the veterinarian for his or her annual checkup. GET TIPS on how to make it a less stressful experience for you and your cat. 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Check it out and sign up for free at www dot, dubar dot com where they make animal rescue simple. So you have done this one project sixty cats. Do you have any estimates? Are you targeting a specific area? And then estimating the number of cats that are going to need assistance I see expanded to? You're GONNA hit six other communities, but in terms of being impassable, you know how much of an impact will that be in the overall community? I'm not sure what the size of the county is the size of the population or what you think, the numbers of cats that are out there that need this kind of assistance. Yeah, so we don't have any hard and fast numbers. You know there's X. amount of cats that. That need fixing that needs sterilization. We don't have any hard and fast numbers on that. We're just trying to I. Guess go into communities and make enough of a difference that these people can tell that they can have healthier ecosystems on farms in terms of the cats that they do have, but we do have a goal. We launched me in the fixes in together. I've been working with them. I've been coming out since I met them through event. They have asked me to come on and to to help them. Turn this into my. That was kind of a prototype that we're taking to other communities. Now Siphon spearheaded getting. Into, other communities I believe in it so much, and so we launched an off. You're familiar, but the two thousand twenty is the Chinese Year of the rat, and so we coined it the year of the cat, so that's kind of our initiatives or the your the cap twenty twenty. We're trying to fix two thousand twenty cats between Spring and summer before you know this kitten kitten season kind of going on kittens season his usually usually. Usually they're a female can have two litters per year. Hopefully, not three here. It kind of depends, but we're having an early spring, so I'm hoping that does leave space for that possibly to happen, so it happens in the spring when the shelters are area are just inundated with kittens and cats were trying to get ahead of some of that here the spring, so that's really our initiative with the cat in two thousand twenty so you. You say that your shelters are inundated i. mean there's some parts of the Midwest? That aren't necessarily super inundated, or as inundated as they may have been in the past with the addition of return to field, programs or trap neuter return programs. Have you seen any evidence of that happening? Yes, OT NRA's huge and I believe wholeheartedly. NTN`er. There's some communities honestly where I am at where I live. The PNR's against you know. City Ordinance and. And it's considered abandoning an animal or things like that, so one of our goals is outreach on TNN are in letting them know that there is a place for this in. It can help some of these efforts, so that is something that we're kind of working on I definitely, believe in tr and believe in the positive that can have in terms of helping the shelters in terms of the shelter that am most familiar with here. To go through all in the winter months you know it calms down and they have less volume of cats, but in the spring come springtime in the summertime. They are at capacity again. It's kind of this roller coaster ride and I was just talking to the shelter manager. That I'm really close with, and she was saying they're gearing up. They're getting ready. They know they're going to be at capacity. It's only a matter of time, so it is a roller coaster. They're not always full, but they will get back up there every year. It happens, so we were chatting before we hit the record button you had mentioned that you are podcast or and. A little bit about your podcasting experience. Yeah I would love to. So I'm a TV host by trade I started in Sports, broadcasting and I started a podcast as well now. I do lifestyle TV hosting in kind of freelance work, but the pack is kind of my creative outlet when I'm on TV I'm I'm talking about things that other people want to talk? Talk about I'm reporting at a game. I'm hosting a program, and so I'm really following guidelines in kind of cultivating a conversation that way. My podcast is my way of cultivating my own conversations on my own time, and it's really fun I get to break I. Really Inspiring people whether it's in their career or just things that they're doing outside of their. Their career I. Just it's a place where I bring on people who have messages have stories to share, and we just share that story. You know I'm a journalist at heart so I I love storytelling, and so that's really what it s called candidly speaking, it's great. It's been a lot of fun I do. Talk about the bachelor every once in a while. While, we just recapped the bachelor finale. Because I do have a little bit of a pop culture. You know, love me from time to time, but for the most part it's just me hanging out with inspiring people and sharing their stories sounds like a lot of fun sounds very exciting. How long have you had it going about a year so excellent and Folks can find it on all of wherever you enjoy listening to podcasts you can't. It's everywhere. That's excellent excellent if folks are interested in finding out more about your podcast or the programs that you're doing in Wisconsin. How would they do that to find out more about me and get in touch with me? You can go to my website. CARRY GILLESPIE DOT com. I have a contact sheet on their anything in this interview has sparked your interest doing what been doing in my community with the. The cats tail at the contact form. They are night with love. Just chat with you. Give you guidance. If this is something that you're looking to do otherwise I'm on instagram. Carey Dot Gillespie I'm on twitter I'm also facebook carry Glaspie I'm in all the places is, and I would love to help you. This is something that you're looking to do so just reach out I'm very friendly I promise. That's great. Else. You'd like to share with our listeners today. I think stacy I just want everyone to get from this interview that I am no one special. I am not you know someone who has spent my whole life doing this? I literally am just an animal lover who saw me to my community and just decided to do something about it, and that's all you need to be. That's all you need to do. A lot of people have been saying. Oh, I don't know how you. You did this I. Wish I could do something like you're doing, but that's the thing stacey they can. Everyone can do something like I'm doing I literally just Scott on my computer and sent an email and it just kind of escalated from there, and all of the beautiful things in our world have started with something simple like that just someone seeing a need and then deciding that they're gonNA. Take that need into their own hands and made a solution for I think that's why. Why people from this, you don't need to be special. You don't have a grand plan. Just lead with your heart and do what you can to help the need in your community to help these cats to do what you can. That's all it takes. That's great. The wonderful thought to have our folks have at the end of the show here. I'm just looking at the numbers and I'm astonished you know here. He started out with helping sixty cats in one year. Then you're going. Going to help two thousand cats I just can't wait to see what you're. GonNa do during years three through five in terms of scaling up in terms of the number of cats you do have the passion for cats and your turning into action, so you embody all of the things that this show is really focused on, so i WanNa thank you and congratulate. You went all the work that you're doing and thank you for helping all of those cats that are in Wisconsin. Thank you so much stacey I really appreciate it I I'm officially a cat person. Look forward to having you on the show again so hopefully maybe in a year or so we'll be able to touch base and hear how things have gone over the last year. I would love that. Thank you for listening to community, cats podcast I really appreciate it. If you would go to items, leave a review of the show. It will help spread the word to help more community cats.
Lizz Whitacre, Pawlytics
"You tuned into the community cats podcast ready. Let's go Welcome to the community cats podcast. I'm your host Stacey Lebron. I've been involved helping homeless cats for over twenty years with Merrimack River Feline. Rescue Society. The goal of this podcast is to expose you to amazing people who are improving the lives of cats. I hope these interviews will help you learn how you can turn in your passion for cats into action today. We're speaking with Liz Whitaker. Liz is the founder and CEO of politics and easy to use technology solution. That helps rescues manage their paperwork and gain insights from their data with the push of a button. Politics is expanding into the TR community cat's face in an effort to use technology analogy data and innovation to drive lifesaving efforts for feral cats Liz. I'd like to welcome you to the show a low. Thank you so much for having me on the show. I'm I'm really excited to be here today. So Liz for we take that deep dive into politics we all have to know. How did you get passionate for animals passionate for our cats? Tell us your story that everybody has about all their animals and maybe share with us the animals you currently have if we have time yes absolutely. It's definitely a laundry list of a current zoo that I have but to my story I have always loved animals. The funny thing is I'm actually incredibly allergic to cats and dogs and so growing up I was not allowed to have avenue for a very long time but it started when I when I could pretty much pick up a book and read and go to the library I would rent out books on dogs and cats and knowing that I had to bring them back to the library I would write my own book reports on animals and wanted to soak up as much information as about them as I could since I couldn't really be around them and I just never really lost lost that passion but I got older and so the passion turned into okay. Now everything that I'm learning whether that's in school or at internships or with other jobs that I've had eh adult in the back of my mind. It was always well. How can I take this experience? Or the skills that I'm gathering and apply it to saving more animals and so that's really how so. I arrived at creating politics and getting to work on it. Full time to this day. You're still allergic to cats. Like Cross that bridge. Do you have of any pets at home. I do. I actually have four dogs and three cats. I also have two ferrets. And some salamanders and two horses petting zoo. It was funny when I used to run the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society. Im Luckily not allergic to cats. But one of the requirements for being a board member many people jokingly said whereas that you had to be allergic to cats to be on the board of directors because there were so many people who had cat allergies oh Jeez and had overcome that obstacle to have cats in their lives you know and then they were incredibly committed and they somehow made it onto our board of directors so I think at one point our highest rate rate of allergic board members was like eighty percent of our board was technically allergic to cats so I thought that was we always. That was really funny. It just shows you know how many people are out there that would be labeled allergic rush. But anyway I segue here. So let's talk about politic. So how did you first get into the whole realm of software and then how did you get into this whole thought process around actually creating a new software package when there's so many other software packages out there to answer your first question. I mean politics is is definitely a product of this relentless effort to want to find a way to make saving animals my full time job for the rest of my life and and so politics is actually. I would say the fourth company that I have attempted in order to create a business that is really going to be helping animals in every capacity and so oh about four or five years ago I had started my own foster based rescue through that through studying the data of my region. We recognize that cats was really an area that that needed some massive assistance in terms of of life saving and so from that foster based rescue. I'd turn my attention towards innovation and to me that was trying to create a a cat cafe here in Lincoln. Nebraska and Lincoln just wasn't super ready for a cat cafe at the time and so I started to turn my attention towards technology because because I was working at an e commerce website at the time and I was also working on a custom software development shop and so through. Having those two other jobs I started to recognize. Is that while. There's so much that can be done in technology that has yet to be applied to the animal welfare space and if no one's going to recognize it yet and I will be more than happy to take the lead in that capacity and so I started to look at all the things that were being requested of the customs offer shop and also the data that I was studying to improve improve the ECOMMERCE website and thought about how we could combine that into creating fantastic an easy to use software system that could provide a lot of the same insights for animal rescues news and when I went to look at the available software at the time it appeared to me that most of it was directed towards really large humane societies or the really large large private shelters that did have technical teams and they had paid staff and they had other people to take care of the administrative work for them and being that my background. What is more in foster based rescues? I mean I remember running my own rescue. I remember being on the leadership team of a number of rescues in the Midwest and we did not have access to powerful or updated technology and so I saw a really large gap in the software space for Animal Welfare and because foster based has such a special place in my heart because I see the value. You in the work that is done in that area. I wanted to create a system that was more tailored towards the demographic of people who are running the foster based rescues so what were the key metrics metrics are. What were the obstacles that you saw when you look at these other software packages just before we hit the record? I was talking about how you know. They're still so many a small organizations out. There and Trappers Tan are trappers that really still live in the excel spreadsheet world because they just are are afraid of making that leap. You get the sense that it's just so daunting just was there a lot in the shelter. The shelter information was different than the foster care information. And maybe how do those parameters differ from one another. What are the key elements in the foster package in politics? That you have that you know. Are there it but yet the shelter packages may have had a lot of unnecessary stuff. Yeah so that's exactly right so when we went out and decided that we wanted to apply technology. He in some capacity to the foster based space. We went on interviewed a little over four hundred organizations and just asked. Why haven't you switched to a system or if you are using a system and you have already gotten yourself of paper and spreadsheets? What do you like? What do you dislike and continuously? What we're finding is that for the ones that are on spreadsheets? Eighth which was about forty percent of everyone had interviewed We discovered that they had usually already tried to switch into a database at that point in time a lot all of these organizations had been around five to ten years and are really wanting to get off the spreadsheets to create this legacy of their organization that can be passed on to the next team or next generation ration- that's going to be running that rescue on a lot of the rescues. We spoke to had no intent of winding down the organization when they were going to retire from it and so all these people are becoming Ansi NC in wanting to get their records and data and processes into a database that can be easily packaged and passed on to the next group of leaders on what we were finding thing is that when they were trying to get into existing databases that they were incredibly hard to use. It was incredibly hard to move your data into the database and then on the top of that they had to take the time to train all of their team members into using the software. And when you're talking to a demographic or generation of people that generally don't feel less competent on computers we kept hearing the phrase that well we decided not to use the databases because we all felt that we had to have a master's degree in computer science to use it and that was really disheartening. To hear when we're in danger when you know it's twenty nineteen we have access to technology like facebook and Uber and lift all these APPs that work literally at the push of a button. And there's absolutely no reason that animal rescue software cannot come to the table in that capacity as well and so from day one. We wanted to really specialize in thinking talking about who the end user was our software and that tends to be an older generation that is focused on saving cats and so we said well. Let's focus on who's going to a using the software and let's make giant buttons that are easy to use and do the heavy lifting because we didn't want to recreate a spreadsheet that was just online we want on to create something. That's going to actually streamline your workflow that's not going to give you too many data points on the screen that you're not really using and I think that we're in a day and age animal welfare where you know. We don't need every data point under the sun necessarily. We're still trying to understand if it's black dogs or brown dogs that are getting euthanized. More at the shelter alter or is it black cats or only kittens. That are getting euthanize more. And I don't think it's necessary to have data points like does this dog have loppy ears or does it have pointy ears because we're just not there yet in terms of running that detailed reports to understand where the gaps in our life saving is and so we wanted to strip down all the parts the current existing databases that were making incredibly complicated and hard to us. Because it's important to collect even a small amount of accurate data that is going to be useful useful and so we kind of went the opposite direction and stripping down as much as we could to simplify the platform so that it could be accessible to anyone and used by anyone. Whether other that's someone in there who's maybe used a computer twice or a millennial grew up using computers with the software able to calculate things like live release rate the things that we often need for grant applications. Yes exactly right. What's special about politics? We're able to run all the typical reports that you're running now based on your Outcomes and your various intake types and to understand what you're live releases and then what kind of live release that is or what types of non live outcomes you're having as well and and what types of pets those are and where they're coming from so we're able to run all of those types of powerful reports even with the slimmed-down data set because again at the end of the day we're not necessarily running reports orthon floppy eared pets versus non floppy eared pets. Because we know that we're not really at that. Point were not as a nation above that ninety percent save rate to be able to start digging into those really refined data points. Hey Everybody Stacey here with the community cats podcast and I just wanted to let everybody know that early bird. Ticketing ticketing is open for our twenty twenty online cat conference which will be on January. Twenty four th through the twenty six so we will get together on the evening of the twenty four as with Chelsea White. Who has a youtube show? That's perfectly awesome and then we will be getting together on the twenty fifth and the twenty sixth for two full days of jam packed information all about community cats and community kept programs so this is a virtual convention for anyone who liked to help community. Cats tsk please go to on line. CAT CONFERENCE DOT COM to sign up today. Also if you'd like to become an affiliate as a fundraiser for your organization the information nations right there on the website as well as sponsorship opportunities so I hope you'll check it out go to. WWW DOT online conference dot com. And we look forward to seeing you then. Hey everyone who tonight are here today to talk about Dr L. C.'s cat litter. Dr Elsie Cat Litter is known to be the best litter on the market and agrees. Many of you know that hooch was a foster cat of mine that I adopted while at the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society. We did use the touch of outdoors litter as we transition transition him from being an indoor outdoor kitty to an indoor only kitty. I'm thrilled. That hooch found his home with me but there were many times when folks would call me saying they're kitty didn't use the LITTERBOX I. It was also thrilled. That Dr Elsie cat attract litter came out as it gave me a resource to share with others that was affordable and in most cases successful in keeping this kitty in their home as a special benefit to community cats podcast listeners. Dr Elsie is offering a rebate up to twenty dollars off your first bag of any doctor elsies litter just visit Dr L. Sees Dot com forward slash community cats podcast to pitcher rebate or. Fill out the online form. Try Dr Elsie today. And you won't regret it. ooh I know that politics at this point in time is really a operational software package for foster care for animals tracking your cats and dogs that are coming in and out in in my Roldan's about the cats but I'm going to hop up on my soapbox of angst. which is I have a very a bad relationship with all the multiple software packages? That are out there that handle your fundraising right if you have a spay neuter clinic or mobile clinic neck which Iran that. He's got another software package for that. Then you have your shelter software package then. You have your volunteer software package that is popular out there too. You so do you have advice for those of us out there like how to manage this software bombardment inefficient ineffective way are are. We still sort of very primitive. It is a tough time in terms of technology in the sense that there is such an abundance of technology that it actually creates a very very overwhelming atmosphere of trying to figure out what you need what you don't need and then if you are able to identify that while our organization desperately needs needs donation management software and we need volunteer software and then we need our shelter software then on top of deciding that you even need these various outwear packages. You'RE GONNA have to go through all the different competitors within each of those spaces and try to understand which ones are going to fit into your systems and processes as well and as well as your budget and and figure out if hopefully any of them will be able to speak to each other now or eventually. It's a very daunting process. And so I think in terms of how politics politics is trying to solve that problem as we talked all these organizations that are using these very separate systems. That's where we see a lot of the human error coming into play because there's absolutely. Yeah no reason that your vet clinic. Software should not be speaking to your animal shelter. Software considering ninety percent of those data points are going to be identical. You're right we're just tracking gang basic information on the animal and as well as their medical records and so politics is trying to create what we're calling these expansion packs that you would kind of purchase as you go and as you grow and so if you're an organization that started as a foster based rescue you might just be using our regular software and then let's say one day you expand into to having a privately held shelter with facility and you open up a spay neuter clinic than you would purchase honor spay neuter software and that would expand your data set of information and features and then. Let's say you're a cat rescue. That's been doing intake an adoption. And now you want to focus in on trap. neuter return focusing on feral and community cats than you would purchase purchase in our trap. NEUTER return expansion pack. And that's the same that we're planning for volunteer and donation management when we talk to organizations that are using a multitude of software packages. We find is that often. These volunteer donation management softwares have every feature under the sun again and are not really really tailored towards animal welfare. So I think that's where politics has an opportunity to come in and say well. We might not offer every feature under the sun as a typical typical volunteer management software or as a typical donation management software. But we're able to do is specialize in the very specific needs of these animal welfare welfare organizations and so if you are looking at separate software packages I would say that you should be reaching out to the support. Teams be suffered companies and really ask them you know our other animal welfare organizations using this and how are they using it. Are they happy using it because you might have talked to one software company. That's like oh well we don't have have anybody in animal welfare. That's using this and that's probably not a software package that you're going to want to go with them if they have no experience in the area because oftentimes these animal welfare groups are having to Jerry rig these platforms to fit their needs. And so they've not ever dealt with that before you don't WanNa be the Guinea pig definitely agreed because it's a huge leap to make this change range so yeah with politics. How do you make money with politics? How do you get paid? Yeah how do I feed my zoo. Basically being that I come from the foster bass background. I have a full understanding that in animal rescue. We are never ever making money off of animals right. We're always putting in more vetting and the cost of at work than we will ever see on an adoption fee. That is true for dogs and not as specially true for cats and so we wanted to make sure that we would be very accessible to organizations of any size no matter the resources and so we charge solely based on the number of adoptions and we charge only one dollar for every successful adoption. And so if you are an organization that's may be doing. Twenty adoptions in December then on January first that we would charge you twenty dollars how this grows to fit both our needs and the organizations that are going to be using politics needs is that you can buy the most limited feature set if if that's all you need but if you are an organization that's looking to grow and expand you can still use politics because you know as we build out the expansion packs we will continue to be a good fit for all of your needs so as I use the example. The floor if you're a cat. Rescue just doing adoptions and intake right now politics is a fantastic fit for you because we're getting off off of spreadsheets and paper and we're making the information centralized and very accessible to the rest of your team and then if you decide to get into trap neuter return you don't have to go back to spreadsheets now or you don't have to go find a separate offer system it will all be in one centralized location meaning that you don't have to worry about making another leap in the future when you do grow zero to that point of your organization now is politics only based on the computer. There's no APP that goes along with it. Is that correct correct. Yep We're solely web base right now so say a foster based organization is doing adoptions at one of the pet food chains that they do adoption day events they would would bring a laptop with them to input out the necessary data do the forms and all that stuff right then and there yet they can bring any device that has wi if I were an ability to access data from their phone or tablet or desktop computer or laptop anything that has access to the Internet they will be able to use. Politics would exxon most of the market based on what I know for folks listening to my show. Many people listen to my show. It's over fifty percent still listen to it either on a laptop or desktop up computer so interesting yes for podcasting Ramat. It shows that are crowd isn't super technologically savvy from that standpoint Ryan. Don't get me wrong everybody over there you guys are all superstars. You're focused on getting the drop drop. said that he the cat kittens the cats adds to the vet and getting everybody where they need to go. And so it's really hard to make time for technology well and that brings me to a good point to and I. I'm sorry to interrupt you but I often. When I talked to these smaller organizations they always tell me A? We're not a good fit for using technology because we're so small or we're not a good fit because you know our processes aren't broken and and I just want to everyone out there that it's not about having a broken process where all here to maximize our life saving potential for the animals and so if using spreadsheets red sheets is getting you the highest return on your time so that you can go out and save more animals than by all means continue spreadsheet but if there's technology out there that can help hope you save even a little bit of time on the administrative side of work or even on the side of creating your report so that you can show your donors or your board and go out and get grant funding then you should absolutely do it. The return on your investment for making the leap and they return on your investment for having to input that data at all is going to be so much larger if you're using a technology solution versus using spreadsheets and so I really hope to get everybody out of the mindset that while we're so small that we only want to save ten cats a year her lo why not maximize your life saving potential knowing that there are so many out there that need our help. I have two questions there that just sprung when you were talking does politics work with social media and also if you have back information so you've got information from US five or ten years. Are you able to upload in any past information mation or do you have to start from scratch so we do not work with facebook or twitter or any social media yet. We do integrate with a lot of the typical frontward facing adoption websites such as pet finder and adopt a pet and rescue groups. And no you do not have to start from scratch. We definitely are able to upload previous data into the database we. Actually they have worked with a number of people we've actually gotten people off of paper into a spreadsheet that can actually be uploaded into the database. And so no you never have to worry about starting from scratch with US list. We understand the value of your previous data and so we will absolutely work with you to get that input it accurately into the system to save you time. You don't have just sit there and do it from scratch or you don't have to sit there and start with nothing because we want you to be able to start gaining insights from even your old data. I don't know if you can expand even farther are a little bit your community cat project that you have a wonder some of the components around that that you think would be important to have to leave so there's a number of pieces that we're really excited about for the trap neuter return expansion And I think at the top of what the excitement is really all about is the ability to share a lot of these resources. That trappers are dealing with right now and so we talked to so many organizations and one trappers that have their own traps they have their own education system that they're introducing more people into the TR in community cat space. They have their vet clinic appointments and they have you know their human resources sources and we talked to so many people that are like well if we could partner with so and so and Fine Maurice Resources that are just walks away from us. We have an even bigger impact. And so we thought while we're already creating a map to show where these colonies are located or where individual cats are located and we're traps are being placed. There's absolutely no reason. We cannot add ad in there the resources that each organization is inputting so whether that is a clinic that's willing to work with you know in a welfare organizations and offer low cost spay neuter her whether that is a human resource such as a caretaker or a trapper or whether those are Vet Clinic appointments that need to be shared between one another so that organization organization takes up ten slots but was only able to capture eight cats. They might WANNA share those last two slots with another close by trapper or t in our organization. Relation to make sure that we're again maximizing our return on the time that we're putting into create these appointments and the time that the vets are going to spend as well doing doing this work for us us and so we're really excited about the ability to share these resources so that as a community we can have a much bigger impact on the feral cat community I think we're also really excited. Ended about being able to run reports and tidies reports back to typical intake. Numbers that we can see in in various regions And then we're really excited to save. Leave time for the trappers that are having to you know. Pardon my French. But they're really in logistics. Hell between figuring out. WHO's laying the traps? Who's going going to check on the traps? Who is bringing him to the vet? Who's WHO's figuring out recovery? And then who's dropping them back off so we were creating processes that can help streamline a lot of the current processes excessive that are happening manually today or happening over facebook or Yahoo Groups. That's excellent. Well you'll have to keep us updated on how is developed. I'm sure that there'd be quite a few organizations out there in interested in checking out the software as it gets developed in a Beta test mode or anything like that. Yeah Liz a folks are interested stood in finding out more about politics or signing up. How would they do that? So you can visit our website at politics. P. A. W. L. Y. T. I. C. S. DOT COM COM and. You can actually sign up for a free trial from our website. We also do have a chat bubble right on the website. So if you're interested in talking to one of us right away you can just start a chat and we'll be air to answer any of your questions. If you are a cat rescue or an organization that does trap neuter return. I would absolutely love to speak to you as we build out this. Tr expansion expansion and get more feedback and advice on how we're building it because we really are passionate about making sure that we have the highest impact with our technology as possible and so the more input put the more brains. We can put together to create this. I think the more powerful piece of software will be able to create to help out the trappers out there anything else. You'd like to share with our listeners. Today I know I think we covered everything so I'm just really excited to be part of the community and really find my little space where I can help and save as many animals as possible bowl and so I just cannot thank the rescuers enough that are on. You know boots on the ground doing it. Because I remember being the one doing it I remember having to be the decision and maker for these animals lives. And it is absolutely a thankless job and so I do WANNA thank everybody that has had their hands in the community and has helped save any number of animals else. That's great and we'll also. I think that we really want to encourage folks to take a look at software options out there and I do think that it'll be a time saver. Especially where the grant. If you're going to do any grant writing you need something that's GonNa come up with reports easily and I think anyone ization that's out there should be doing grant writing being for those of you that haven't done any grant work. We do have the community. Cats grants program and you can check that out at the community cats PODCAST DOT com website. And it's a great way to you get started in the beginning process of just trying to get that first grant getting comfortable that grant process the application process the information that you might need so I highly highly recommend folks. You can certainly reach out to me if you have any questions at Stacey community has podcast dot com. Because it's really important to have have grants Sandy really he said that every group should have ten grants a year even a small organization. It's good to do easy to do. And it's healthy for the organization to do it too. So the Liz I wanna what a thank you so very much for agreeing to be a guest on my show today and I hope we'll have you on again in the future. I'm sure we will. Once the software is up for the community cats and TR. Yes absolutely thank you so much for having me. Thank you for letting me share more about politics and it was great getting a talk to you today. Thank you for listening to community cats podcasts. I really appreciate it if you would go. Titans leave a review of the show. It will help spread the word to help more community cats.
I Am Moshow the Cat Rapper and Double Duty
"Tuned into podcast ready. Let's go <music>. Welcome to the community cats podcast. I'm your host stacey lebron. I've been involved helping homeless scouts over twenty years. There's with the merrimack river feline recipes society. The goal of this podcast is to expose you to amazing people who are improving the lives of cats. I hope these interviews we'll help you learn how you can turn your passion for cats into action today. We're speaking with moshe o. The cat rapper mo show has been with us before on the community cats podcast and the online chat conference but i'd like to welcome you to the show show. Hey thank you so much forever me. How are you today. I am doing well. Thank you so much etched for asking just wanted to touch base with you. Find out how things are going so what you've been up to. I understand that you have a new video now out call double duty. You wanna tell us a little bit about that. Oh yes well if you didn't know we <hes> last year we did a video called slide and with that video video we were able to raise a million news in six weeks and we were able to donate ten thousand dollars to catch harry because of the video so this year we wanted to come back bigger bigger stronger and better than ever and released the double duty because it's just more empowering the people they really really enjoyed themselves. They love seeing all of the cats and they love the kitty. Literally kitty litter has been getting very abusive. People love it so we wanted to drop this new video and we said hey why not we double down on this thing and if we were to get you million oh you've use by the end of october we were going to donate ten thousand dollars apiece so twenty thousand altogether ten thousand to act silly and ten thousand dollars to get adoption team is well to help save the kiddies if we get those views on it and it's just to give back the love to all the cat people and to empower for them and we're just really excited to be back in to be able to do this new double duty city video so the theme of this one <hes> you know focusing on litter and keeping your litterbox can actually be easy and okay. I understand your are litterbox fanatic. You're always cleaning up after the cats. Yes yes yes so what i'm looking for. I have four cats. I had five cats recently. One just passed away but five cats and with me. I need the litter and the crumbs was to be solid because i have a lot of cats. I have to do a lot of cleaning so it's all about for me is making sure i get a guarantee fresh kitty litter and something that's going to stick together because is <hes> a lot of duty to handle when you got five cats. How how many litter boxes do you have. In the house. I have three really is it may sound own the cat kind of have a schedule of how they go to the bathroom. I've noticed so <hes> i can. I can get through a solid day <hes> just cleaning the litter box at at least one day making sure that that's pretty much hold that over but i have three. I'm thinking about adding the fourth because <hes> i think extra could probably help me out a little bit. Yeah yeah one thing you were just talking about how you like the armand hammer litter because everything clumps really well is that i mean i wouldn't even use the litter of the she and auto especially especially with the hairless cats with very popular litter that they use absolutely so <hes> with the slide a lot of the dust particles would never get on their skin because because it does free so that was like a really really big thing for me because i have a pretty much a white cat with no hair and every time she would use the kitty realtors when she would get out. She would just have powder kinda residue all over her skin. Because <hes> you know are using the bathroom. It was really nice to have that product and <hes> i also look for products that just keeps the house smelling fresh. A lot of people walk into my place and they say i can't believe that you have five cats because you can't smell anything. It always smells fresh in here and i'm always looking for the quality of product so that's why i really liked him a lot well. I know you've mentioned that. One of your kiddies passed away recently kelly and i expressed my sympathies. I i think we all do all of us. That are the fans that follow you out there on facebook and social media and everything and i'm very very sorry about tallies passing but <hes> it sounds like you you have pretty comfortable talking about it and sharing your thoughts with moving forward after having kelly in your life and you shared some memories with me about tally. I don't know if you'd be willing to those memories with us today. <hes> well i named tallied a lover and it's all my coloring book and everything like that and the reason why i named to that is because tally was the type of cat. We rescued her. She have been treated very badly and she was the type of cat that loves you. Regardless of it'd be treated. I mean she never gave up on with love like if soon as a new person will come into our house tally would be the first one to greet them to be all over them. I've never seen a cat likes that before she he's like a little mini human in my eyes and you know she's the mother to mega man and sushi and she's no longer here and when you leave the cat you just you you gotta let it out. You got to let people know how you feel. Don't hold it in and go through the motions but tally never wanted never thought with love and i know she wouldn't want me to stop with my love <hes> and to be who i am so i'm continuing to carry the torch <hes> every sunday i did a thing called tally on sunday and it was the celebrate just tally and i'm going don't let that move on and i'm going to embrace the world with love and dedicate everything that i do now in memory because <hes> she made me a better man and her passing away has opened my eyes up to a lie and i need to love more and i need to take more risk and that's that's what i'm gonna do in on a tally. I commend you for the way that you're approaching this. It's grief and compassion. Fatigue and depression are ever present and this and <hes> just what what you're doing is so incredibly healthy and good to do and hopefully others will follow and do the same because we all experience loss and you're doing a great way of handling handling it so you had mentioned a coloring book. Could you share a little bit about the coloring books that you have out yes i have. I am osho. The cat rapper official color in book is dedicated to all of my cat family out there who support me and i love all the things that we do if you wanna color d._j. Ravioli or tally in queens sushi black savage or mega man yeah the cats you can call them. There's beings like adopt a cat in them. They're seeing celebrating cat ladies i do this thing called beautiful lady wednesday eh celebrate all cat ladies so i <hes> i had that in the book and it's just all types of cat runs in all cool pitches into cats and you can color us so we'll be in your house forever and to make it even better. I guess i double down on it as well and i just released my second official coloring book the cat tastic edition so now there's just to mo- show the cat rapper coloring books available for you to purchase on amazon right now. If you like coloring it's for adults and children. It's very kid friendly and i hope people out there enjoy awesome. That's great. You're doing that in addition. You also putting out some albums and you have songs about adopting the cats and not oh you're cast. You know it's totally awesome. It we are approaching is black cat appreciation day. I know you you've got a special place in your heart for blackouts a little bit about why is that so important to you. Black caj or one of the leads to cash in humane society be adopted just due to like bass stereotypes various types like how hollywood has shown them over the years how people feel like because the cat is so dark. They won't be able to take a great selfie. They all feel like black black. Cats look the same so they have always been at least to be adopted. Because you see a ginger cat or you see a cat cool patterns. They're more likely to head in that direction direction and <hes> what people need to understand is <hes>. I call them mini house. Panthers black cats are very magical. This actually touch me so much hearing about out that you know with my albums and stuff like only people understand all these things are available and june spotify any streaming service. I heard about the cats being not adopted so i created a song <hes> adopt a cat is available to listen to you now and it was all because i wanted to get more cats adopted and help black cats when when i first released the song and released a music video was able to get over two hundred cats adopted within that first we putting out that song i wanted to dedicate that into all the the cats that are not being adopted and with that being said i also went to the organs may society and i adopted blackout as well and his name black savage. That's excellent one such good news and i i think tremendous black cat appreciation day as well as international homeless animals days on august eighth and august a tough time of the year shelters authors tend to be overwhelmed with a lot of cats and there are certain promotions out there. I know in new england. There's one that's called clear the shelters that's during the month magas guess working to really promote adopting cats and kittens and getting them into homes and not having them secondly shelters and that kind of thing so you know the more that we can do to help promote amount the better. What's on your schedules the next year. What do you have coming up. I expect more books for me so i got a lot of surprises happening with that. Expect ex new music. I'm currently working on new material right now a lot of things and tallies memory. I have new socks out. I have socks that support black cats as well. They call black cat loves stocks and kelly loves socks. I'm just expect more positively from me more cat love and just i guess more tastic mastic things. I'm currently working right now to give all of my cat family. <hes> the best i can and i got a lot of big surprises coming up. That's great and it seems like every big city. Now is trying to put on like a cat convention and i've seen your name out there. I think he's done a lot of traveling this year. You know better than i do but i bet you you'll be out traveling around. The different cat conventions twenty nineteen and twenty twenty. That's for sure to oh yeah expect. The cat rapid via cat town because they know how it's going now is there. Is there a website where people can find out where you're going to be visiting. Yes <hes> you know. There's i emotional dot com. The cat rapper dot com has all of my facebook so he got facebook instagram twitter youtube and it's all i i emotional and you can follow me on my social media's you could put i am also on your eye to spotify google. Play all your streaming services and i promise you the space will pop up and i'll keep you updated on where i'll be next. That's excellent so i just wanna come back to the double duty and make sure that everybody understands that they should should go to youtube and we'll certainly have this link in the show notes. They should go to youtube and search double duty. I in the name <hes> mo- show the cat rapper also so in a popped right up in my speed and everybody should share and watch the video as many times as possible so that you can reach the two million views by october thirty first. That's correct right. Yes box over and if we do that church into white which is on hammer. We're going to donate twenty thousand dollars pinch valve to actively and going to donate ten thousand two cat adoption teams. I support them here in portland oregon and if we can get those us up we can make those dreams happen abishai. We can save more and i appreciate your cat family. Everything that you do us most show. You have any less things that you wanna share with our listeners before we close today. Just follow me on all of my social media's i._m._o. Show love your cats. Hug him and honestly besides cats if you feel certain way about someone and if you love them please please people know that you love them because we don't know how long they'll be here. I appreciate all the cats hugs for me. Love cats adopted cat in bless. You all thank you so much coach. Moshe i wanna thank you so much for green to be a guest on the show today really appreciate it on a special episode of the community cats podcast and look forward to <hes> following knowing you and hopefully crossing paths with you at some place during the course of the year and again. I'm just amazed by all that you do to help. Pass the art that you create as as well as getting out there and trying to bring us some joy some happiness while we're all out here working hard to try and make lives better for the cats in our world so thank you again so much for being a guest on the show. Thank you very much appreciate you for having me. Thank you for listening to community cats podcasts. I i really appreciate it if you would go to. I tunes lever view of the show. It will help spread the word to help mark community cats uh.
Elena Battles, Shelterluv
"In getting. You turned into the community cats podcast ready. Let's cal. Welcome to the community cats podcast. I am your host. Stacey lebaron. I have been involved helping homeless cats for over twenty years with the Merrimack river feline rescue society. The goal of this podcast is to expose you to amazing people who are improving the lives of cats. I hope these interviews will help you learn how you can turn your passion for cats into action today. We're speaking with Elena battles Elena has been working for animals since nineteen ninety nine the year. She found Trini the wonder beagle. Her shelter and rescue work has taken her from rescue volunteer adoptions manager in Texas to shelter manager. And Florida to chief operating officer of humane society Silicon Valley in California, she received her MBA from Stanford graduate school of business in two thousand and four now she works at shelter love, which allows her to provide the technology. She wishes she had access to when she was working in shelter operate. She especially loves the opportunity to be a no-nonsense source of advice for her colleagues today. She lives with her two legged family and Nora. The cattle dog shepherd who is the most well mannered and best looking of the group Elena. Welcome to the show. Thanks so much as it's great to be here. So you gave us a little bit of background in your bio here. But what was it that really tipped you to work with animals and to really be passionate and focus your career around animals. Gosh, it really was trendy. You know, I've found a stray dog, and she changed everything for me. It's I'm sure that's something that a lot of your listeners have experienced as well in. How many of us got into animal welfare was one animal. I was a physical therapist at that time. I had been doing physical therapy for about eight years and came home from work, and there was a stray dog in the parking lot of my apartment complex. And so I went through that process with her trying to find her owners taking her to the local animal services to make sure. That if someone was looking for her that they could find her and then learning that they didn't want her back in the docking her as I went through that I was real wakened to the problems of animal overpopulation at that time in the late nineties, what was happening in our shelters, and I thought well, I can really help here and I wanna help. And that's what started the journey. I started volunteering to make sure that I really wanted to do the work. And I did I loved it more every day felt like being of service every day that I went in and training with me for fifteen years after that every step of the way shoes pretty special shoes responsible for a lot of change in my life. I'm really grateful for that. So tells like you have a passion for animals, but you also have a passion for technology. Did you develop that passion when you were at Stanford getting your MBA? I think my passion around technology comes from generation X person who is who's getting used to the way the world is changing so quickly. You're not being a native to phones and apps and all these things. And having been in a position in my work life to not have access to the data that I wanted and being not quite sure how to use it to drive my decisions. So that's really what made me excited about the tools that are available to people today working in operations in animal author because that work is so complex. It's not just about taking care of animals, right? As many people think when they're thinking about sheltering in rescue. It's so many complex nudity issues that you're dealing with and complex medical issues with animals and all sorts of things and the tools don't really have to be that complex. It's just the work. That is so now I'm excited to help people make the work easier get out from behind the computer, and and be able to get in front of people and animals more. I'm gonna wear the hat of an old school rescuer of it who has had the system that has worked for years. Sure. And if it ain't broke don't fix it. Why would I want to change my system? I guess I'll give. A step up. There are some organizations that still do everything just with pen and paper organizations as well as individuals. And then there's also the group that love excel spreadsheets just stay with those excel spreadsheets or maybe go into Google docs, a little bit. But why should I take that? Next step. I will say that. I agree with that question. If it ain't broke don't fix it. Because if it's something that truly works for the organization in for the folks that are doing the work than don't change just because there are shining new tools out there. However, what I've learned is that people do often start looking for something more, and they are sort of feeling uncomfortable with the way that they are tracking things, and that's really what starts them on this journey of should I look for software. I like to give folks chance to think of things in the three questions is sort of where to start because often we think about all the features that software has, but really when we're thinking about change or potentially making that change really starts with some questions about our own organization number one. Asking what's the most important thing to us as an organization that sounds obvious. But it's not always right? So this is the date broke part. Are we at steady state? Are we fine? Do we have the information that we need now to make decisions? Or is there more that we wanna do more that we wish we could do or more tracking wish we could do. And I've learned along the way that we will always do more work, and we value our time at the bottom of the pile. Right. The animals come first the people that were serving our right there. Also are volunteers our staff. Everybody else comes first in value, the time it takes us to do something at the bottom about pile. And I really encourage folks to as they're thinking about that. What do we do? We wanna grow. Can we keep doing things the way that we're doing them and also reach our goals? And then I'd like to ask people to think about this assistant that we're looking at fit armies today or today and tomorrow as we grow, and that's another important consideration. Because sometimes we wanna add new programs. We know we're going. Adnew pieces as we as we get bigger and have more resources than we wanna make sure that that a tool could accommodate that. Whether it's a tool that we're using that we've built through excel or Google docs, or at our own homegrown system or something that we get from a provider. And then the third question is something that we all think about which is what the cost right? The suction is everyone has a tight budget that is a given. So it's really important for us to think about what the setup costs are for any software that we bring were thinking about what are the ongoing costs. And how does that compare to what we are? What's what's it costing us? Now, even if it's a free tool or something that we've already built in our staff time or volunteer time great question, so three just very small questions. Right. One thing that I used to always worry about in taking steps with new technology was how long is this going to stay with us. Are we gonna lose her data at the macrey feeling rescue society? So we did paper than we were. Into XL for awhile. Then we went into file maker for awhile yester-, a long long time. And that was a period where we skipped all the upgrades. So we stayed with the same thing for a long time. And that was because I was bound and determined to have one software package for everything. So I wanted my donors adopters surrenders eilly wanted to type one name once was my thing. I was in charge of data entry as well as being in charge of fundraising an operations, and everything, you know, who's in those early days when you're in charge of everything if you do it all you don't wanna type stand Smith ten times lives wanna do it once. And so that's why I had gotten into foam acre, and I felt like, oh, well, I can design something that works for everything. And then we moved into other systems that tied in with microchips, and in that kind of thing, and then we went to another sort of homegrown system with quick base back on my determination to be an all in one system. Because we were cat group to when we found a lot of the software packages, really weren't very friendly to kenley organizations. There were so many fields. We had to get rid of that only pertained to dogs and also like animal control services in all of that stuff. So maybe using shelter love as an example. You know, how does the software work with our various niche type organizations in is it flexible, or what would you recommend as an adviser technology advisor to group that may not be more of your traditional organization, but more Nici or unique doing ten our foster air fundraising small organization hundred thousand dollars a year. What would you what would you recommend just sort of thinking outside of the box there? So that's a great question. Because like you said as we grow we have so many organizations now there are able to focus on one type of animal or one piece of animal welfare and not have to do everything necessarily. And so one of the things that I've learned as I've learned more about. Software. Specifically is that there's this concept of configure ability versus customisation, I'm going to get into the weeds a little bit. But I think it'll be helpful. So configure ability means that you can change something to fit your needs it will flex but the data structure stays the same with. That means is we're gonna put something in you can trust. What you get out. Right. We probably all heard that garbage in garbage out. Right. When it comes to software. And so we don't want that. Because you're gonna take the time to put information in. You wanna get usable information out and customisation is something that does allow folks to change that structure that underlying data structure and can unless you have a really sophisticated data engineer or someone that's really great data on your team. It can be a little more challenging to trust. What gets spit out on the other end of the reporting. And so on that love, we do take the configure ability route. And that's what allows us to serve a wide variety of customer. So we have organizations using that are. TR focused or transfer focused. Right. Not adoptions. They're they're really moving animals out to transfer all the way to the other end of the spectrum where there's folks that are doing eight to ten thousand adoptions a year. So that configure -bility really allows for that range of customers. And what that means really goes back to that. First question that we started with in our three questions, which is what is most important to us as an organization. So if I'm talking to someone like you who really knows what you need from any sort of product like I need to be able to get information out if we switch or do something in the future. How would that happen or I have donors? I wanna be able to track them has that work in your system. Or does it work in your system? Then we have all those conversations up front. So we know what your priorities are. I think that in the bigger picture of we kinda go up to that thirty thousand feet and look at technology as a industry as animal welfare that there is a ton of room for improvement there. Right. I think of it in a similar vein to healthcare. Where there's so many specialties, and you have to have system that allows for those specialties, but also a patient is moving from one place to another to another, and they don't want to write their name down twenty seven times when they have different appointments that here there everywhere. Right. The challenge without of course, is that it's really hard to be good at everything. So their specialties in fundraising specialties in accounting specialties, in in medical tracking what I've seen happening as an industry is that animal welfare readers are getting together and talking about how we manage data as big groups, and how information can be shared more quickly and in the right way to protect privacy in portent ways that we need to protect privacy for both organizations and their customers in their donors. But also be able to share information when needed for transfers and other things that that can be seamless in digital. And so what we're trying to figure out now or trying to do is replicate look at some of these industries like healthcare and how they've done it and make that happen. So. Oh that there are two different systems. They can speak to each other, quote, unquote, speak to each other in the right way. Which makes it easier for you as the person using software and also all the back end stuff works. There's the magic that happens there. I call it the magic it's actually really smart engineers if you're all that out. But that's where I see us going as an industry, we can get there. It'll take some time, of course. But you're right. It's very important because the groups and our consumers need it customers don't care about the back end stuff. They just wanna be able to adopt an interact with shelters and rescues in have it easy for them. Today's episode is sponsored by space. Kitty express your one stop shop for exotic cat drugs. Everyone's heard of catnip, but what about Valerian root -tarian honeysuckle or silver vine space. Kitty express specializes in offering these hard to find catnip alternatives. Both in their herbal form and stuffed into a variety of usable toys, their herbs are one hundred percent pure, not like those quote, unquote, catnip blends you might find in a pet store. There are -tarian honeysuckle would is cut fresh and kept frozen to lock in citrusy sent their silver vine exudes a menace that tingles nostrils their organic Larry route is so Muskie that they've had to blend it with organic lemongrass. So that human noses can tolerate it. Cats can definitely tell the difference between these quality herbs and that stale catnip from the big box store, visit space kitty, express dot com and watch videos from satisfied feline customers use coupon code community. Cats all one word at checkout to receive ten percents off your purchase that. Space. Kitty expressed dot com with coupon code community. Cats doesn't your cat deserve the best spoil them today at space kitty, express dot com. Pro vet logic based in Scots, bro, Alabama provides educational support and product solutions to professional pet care providers and pet parents throughout the country as a licensed veterinary medical continuing education provider, pro vet logic provides a variety of educational tools designed to help care providers. Create a cleaner and safer environment for both the cats in their care and the care providers to learn more about pro vet logic. Please visit WWW dot pro vet logic dot com or call eight hundred eight six nine four seven eight nine. Another question that always will come up to is expense. I can't consider software because it's going to be just incredibly expensive. Is that true? No, not true. So one of the good things about there being a lot of options available that there's a wide range of choices for folks. And so I feel confident that if someone wants to find the right software, they're gonna find something that fits their budget. And that's where when I'm talking with folks giving advice when I talk about cost. It's it's about the mechanics of the cost. I is it per user per station is it in the cloud is annually or by month, or how what are those charges are there setup charges sometime softwares free. And then there's a maybe a requirement to purchase certain products or something from that software provider to make up for that free cost. So it's just looking at the whole picture. So that the consumer can be really informed on what their total cost is. And also balancing that against any time saved by using software versus doing things by hand or in their own system. And so that's the the first piece of. Of like to think about it. You have to go level deeper, right? Just direct costs. But it's also what the indirect costs might be. And what and what you're paying? Now. That's the good news. Again, shelters rescues of all sizes all budgets be able to make it work. We always say here. We don't wanna let cost in a way of people using a tool that they think will promote their life saving programs. So we're going to find a way to make it work. And and I think that's something that folks should have in mind when they start looking that there's going to be an action there for them about a month ago. We had the online cat conference in. We had Chris ROY do presentation on transplant. This is great yet do Bert dot com. And he was very clear to mention that shelter love against we say what speaks to the site. So I think that's great that there's compatibility. I don't know if you have anything more share on that. But it sounded pretty cool. I love what Chris doing. And I think it's incredible. What he's been able to build as a human being at his house creating this tool and building it to what it is today. It's saved a lot of lies and made transport in life. A lot easier for the folks on the ground, and that's really his incredible guy. Been so impressed with him. You're right at shelter. We really try to get we're not gonna try to be experts in transport because we haven't expert out there in that's Chris in. So the ability to make this connection with Dubar allows folks that use those services to make the logistics easier. So they can focus on the people in the animals in frost, really what it's all about does shelter love interact with any other software packages. We do we wanna give people choice around things like microchips. So we have auto uploads to the big microchip companies to make. Things easier. So that don't have to always do that manually to our big adoption aggregated pet finder. Adopt a pet rescue groups and as well as bird. It's really our customers that drive that that will tell us. Hey, we really use x and we would love to see you connect with them. That's how we get our product feature upgrades. It's really customer driven which is one thing that I love about shelter loved one of the benefits of just being a software company in quotation marks. Because as I said it takes enough work to make rates off winter. That's our sole focus is a really hard job in. We love doing it. But we then are able to connect with other software that our customers recommend to make things easier for them rather than built at ourselves or trying to run a separate companies. Are there any specific features of shelter love that you would like to share with our listeners today will I'll tell you what our customers love is. They're the ones out there using every day and number one they love our medical tracking built by. Shelter veterinarian trained at Cornell who actually has fulltime shelter vet she's gone back. Tebas took a little time to to build this module in design it for with the shelter rescue environment in mind, but is still living the operations of being a high volume clinic, which people tell us they can really see in how easy it is to to us. And I would say that's the other. The second piece is that ease of use that we get great feedback from our customers on we recognize that we have a wide variety of volunteers and staff that use systems and track animals and help us out during the day. And so we want shelter love to be as intuitive and easy to use as any of the apps that we use on our own our own home, use right? Nobody has to come and train us how to use Email. Although I kind of sometimes wish that somebody would come train meals some of these things, but I think that it's something that's intuitive. And we get great feedback about that that all types of people with all types. Of comfort level, not in technology are successful to use it. And then the third piece that folks love that's relevant for people who use do adoptions is that we allow we have a process where customers can check out while they're at the shelter or the adoption events or wherever they can check out and do all their adoption contract on the mobile phone and customers love this adoption counters love it because we're no longer having to print out forty seven pieces of paper and having people sign them. And instead it can be all digital. And then when the person gets home, and they can finally remember it now what that person tell me I was supposed to do. Or when that vaccine was was do. I don't remember because I was at my kitty cat in the carrier in my kids were running in four different directions. It's Ogle easily accessible to them. I so that's been in addition to those other two pieces the mobile Dopp Shen feature we get great feedback on. So folks were just in finding out more about shelter love or reaching out to you with any questions that they might have about making that critical leap into the. Rome of software. How would they find you? I'd love to talk to people, and I should give them with the caveat that they should feel totally comfortable. I'm really fortunate. I've been given a lot of freedom here. Sometimes I recommend shelter love. And sometimes not if it's not the right fit. Then that's absolutely, okay. It's important to have a resource to go to and just get real advice. And that's what I'm here for Elena at shelter. Love dot com. Shelter. Love is L U. These that's important to know. We can find me on our website to WWW shelter, love dot com. And usually at conferences as well. Still will have a table at the HFS US expo this year will be at conferences well summer lane. Is there anything else you'd like to share with our listeners today? Just thank you. I know how hard it is when you're grinding every day at no hard. The folks listening are working, and I'm so appreciative of that work at any way that I can help I want to excellent I have to say this show, probably dovetails quite nicely with the show that I did previously couple. Months ago with Sarah can't when we were talking about shelter animals count where she's talking about the data on the what's getting spit out. And we're talking here about through the architecture that prepares that data. So that then you can also review your performance every year or even every quarter, you're able to hopefully with the push of a button, yet a snapshot of some of the work that you're doing and help us really understand what your organization is doing. And so I know that she's a fan of having software. Capture information some words that I've used also have been data hygiene, making sure you get your information in at a high quality level because then the information that comes out is going to be high quality. But try not to feel overwhelmed by it. I have definitely felt overwhelmed by this whole and just really try to persevere ask questions reach out to Elena. She'll help you feel not quite as overwhelmed in deaf. The technology is growing expanding quickly. I also think that Maddie's pet forum may have some technology groups in there too. So that's another resource to reach out to for ideas. But just don't be shy feel free to ask a lot of questions where all starting to do things on our mobile phones now. So I think we are going to have to make shift. I dunno lane. A few alas fought on that. No. You said it perfectly there, so many great resources. I agreed start small. You can always start small and grow from there. So just reach out in ask for help as needed for. Sure. Elena. Thank you again for green to be a guest on my show. And I hope we'll have you on again in the future. I'd love that. Thank stacy. Join us for webinar on March. Twenty third two thousand nineteen at two pm eastern standard time for trapping tips. And tricks presented by neighborhood cats drawing from almost twenty years of experience working with feral cats. The folks that neighborhood cats have gathered together their favorite ways of catching the wiliest felines. Whether it's putting in a clear rear door using spam? As bait wrapping your trap with green garden netting or training, a cat to enter a trap. You're bound to learn something new that will improve your trapping success. Come prepared to share your secret tips and tricks to after registering you'll receive a confirmation Email containing information about joining the webinar, please check it out at WWW dot community cats, podcast dot com and sign up today.
Sarah Moore & Dr. Teri Kidd, Animal Protective League
"Tuned into the community cats podcast. Ready. Let's go. Welcome to the Community Cat Podcast, I'm your host Stacey Lebaron I've been involved helping homeless Cath for over twenty years with the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society. The goal of this podcast is to expose you to amazing people who improving the lives of cats I. Hope these interviews we'll help you learn how you can turn your passion for cats into action. Today, we are speaking with two fantastic guests we have Sarah. Moore. Who is a clinic manager for the Animal Protective League Clinic and Dr Terry Kid who is a veterinarian there there I'd like to welcome you to the show. Thanks for having us. and Dr Kit to the show yourself. Thank you. So before we dive into the deep infrastructure, talking about the animal protectively, can you just share with me a little bit about why you became passionate for cats I come from a long line of Cat Lady. So. Maybe genetic. We've had cats my whole life. So. That's the simple answer that you have out there Dr Kid you have a follow up to why are you passionate about cats lions probably similar to Sarah's an I. Don't know that there was a long line, but I've definitely been into cats for many many years and I was pretty heavily involved in animal race where it became a veterinarian and then that kind of morphed into doing a lot of t NPR and then I got involved with a local shelter and decided that I needed to go back to school and get my veterinary degree. Because at that time, there weren't that many vets that seemed focused on shelter work and undoing trap neuter return. The cats are mention. So how did you learn about T VR? Well, I used to work at a food bank in Peoria and in the alley behind the food bank there was a colony of cats and I went down there one day and saw that somebody had had three kittens that she dropped looked on the run because they were scattered and I thought somebody needs to get these guys spayed and neutered, and this was back in eighty. Nine allocate didn't even exist yet and tr was not well known at all. So I got a couple of live traps I- skirted around the local animal control facility that was trying to catch them and take them in to have them killed and got started that way and when I was in DC I was good friends with Becky Robinson and Louise Holton. This was before they started ACA and so once they start alley cat allies, we traded stories and stuff, and just it was it was out of necessity more than anything it seems like our only. Option, back then when I got involved with the group, the Merrimack River Feline Rescue, society that Iran for quite a while I I got involved with them in ninety four but they started in nineteen ninety two and he had our was just seemed like it was the only option on the table for those that did not want to do euthanasia or trap and remove and kill, or however you want to phrase it but that was just not an option for the folks that were feeding the cats down on the waterfront and so it just seemed like. The one thing that just made a lot of sense and it seemed like that was our only option. So Dr King You are veteran I would say with regards to tm Vr when did you become a? Volume high quality, spay neuter veterinarian I graduated at school in two thousand thirteen and work with shelter medicine program over there as veterinary intern or twenty months, and in came here to AP L. in July of Twenty fifteen. So I've been doing it full time for about five years and over the last five years working in the clinic have you seen the results of your efforts in the community? Do you get a sense that you feel like the overpopulation waters are receding or do you still feel that sense of population pressure I'm GonNa let Sarah Answer that one because she's got all the statistics on what they were seeing with the local animal control because were. Over to Sarah. So I've been here since two, thousand six, the opened just a few months before I started and tracking numbers at our county animal control facility. So we'll keep an eye on intakes adoptions. Euthanasia's we have seen a seventy percent decrease in euthanasia's since we opened in two, thousand six, it goes down almost every year. There's a couple of years in there where it goes up a little bit but the impact that it's had on cat intakes and euthanasia's just immense. That's That's great. So you have good statistics and you do you just said you do pet cats as well as community cats return to field. Yes. about forty percent of the cats we do our return field cats tr, and then the rest are cats and we do dogs but not nearly as many as we do cats this question for Sarah to over the years. Did, you always offer services for owned cats or was there period of time that you only did return to fielder t and our cats before our clinic opened we had a t on our program that we did like one weekend a month, and that was only for community cats and one-star clinic opened. The goal was to do all animals. So owned animals, barrel cats shelter. Animals and the number of community cats that we've been doing was fairly low when we first opened but it increased quite a bit within the first year, and now it's a big portion of what we do and for our listeners Sarah, where's your clinic located in Springfield Illinois, and so we're GONNA go fast forward. Here's appreciate you giving the background and it sounds like. You have a wonderful history wonderful tradition they at your clinic and I wanNA apply both of you for your heart efforts on everything that you're doing for community cats. Let's fast forward a little bit and we're entering into world of corona virus and you know how did your or Asian and this'll be a question for for Sarah from a management side. What was the thought? About how your operations we're going to be when the corona virus hit. So maybe sort of take us back to the early winter when people were starting to talk about corona virus and what were the conversations like that you had at your clinic. So we hadn't really considered it to a whole lot until it became clear that a shutdown was quite imminent, basically the same week. Of, the shutdown I think we were already booked out a number of weeks on cat surgeries and even longer than that for doc is. So our big concern was, are we going to have to close entirely or will we be able to stay open for all patients? Will we only be able to see a specific patients may be patients based on need? So our goal was. To stay open and do as many surgeries as we could knowing that if we closed at all that, we may very well feel the impact of all the unwanted litters that would be warring. So I think it was a maybe a Friday when the governor announced that things would be shutting down but the governor did permit veterinary clinics to stay open in his shutdown order so. That Friday we knew that that we would be here the following Monday doing surgeries. So how did that get translated I know that some organizations that were able to stay open throughout the shutdown period they you know did fifty percent of their normal capacity did you operate as normal or how did you adjust your your protocols and policies in their everybody was talking me no PP and You know social distancing and all that comes up head. How did those protocols get adapted and changed and how did that impact your numbers? So about seven out of ten of our transports canceled. So every day we go to another county and pick up animals and bring them back here for surgery. A lot of those groups are run by people and so seventy percent of our transports canceled because we. Were booked out so far with individual appointments like people bringing their pets in we were able to fill most of those spots with people on a wait list, and so we had a few short days in March and April. We closed entirely from one day. But for the most part, we did regular days throughout the entire shutdown period the transport groups, things like curves I drop off and having people. Bay over the phone here we limited the number of people that can come in our lobby. We sanitized everything like clipboards and pens in between clients we walk masks we have our shelter building is next door. So we tried to limit how much back and forth between the buildings I think that's pretty much covers. It actually probably worked in your favor or to have two separate buildings to that sort. Of that the team's concept did did you adopt teams concept where you had you know one veterinarian with some technicians and the veteran working in separate shifts where you worried about a staff member getting corona virus, and then you know how that would impact the program overall we didn't really have the ability to do teams. So we all just came in every day hoax to God that nobody got Corona Virus We. Knew that if someone did that, we would all have to take a couple of weeks off. So urgently, everybody when he was in good health during time, we had a couple of shelter staff that had to stay home for a couple of weeks but nobody ended up being affected. So you were not at all affected by a staff member coming. Down with corona virus or even someone who brought a pet in that then ended up coming up positive. Did you ever hear anything like that Sarah? We didn't I only know one person who had a family member that got sick and one of the local nursing homes was responsible I think for a huge proportion of cases in our county. That makes sense. So very hot spot there was a hot spot that you didn't necessarily have in your community. Did you have any shortages with materials? Did you have to recycle supplies anything? Did you have a hard time accessing supplies that you need it? So for for a couple of months, we re sterilized gloves, which was a bit of a tedious process but in. Addition, to covering central shortages of both surgical exam gloves. It had the added benefit of being much more environmentally sound although none of the vets really like doing it. So I I don't know that anybody's really interested in the the whole process of how he did it. If they are when you give our contact information at the end, we can certainly share. But as far as drugs, we did not have a shortage I. I was a bit concerned for awhile about Ketamine availability, we never did run out and we were always able to get replacement as a new supply morphine kept coming through fine. We have cloth masks. So you know disposal mass were not an issue, and I, feel that we were pretty lucky not having any supply issues because that was always in the back of reminded at one point we were a little bit worried that we wouldn't be able to get isoflurane but none of that ever happened. Just. For Perspective Dr. Kit how many surgeries you do in a typical day? We do sixty to sixty five majority cats probably fifteen ish dogs and the rest cats and it fluctuates you know we'll have a set number on our schedule and people can walk in with up to barrels per person unscheduled. So if we have somebody not somebody but A. Group of people that come in, we have texter barrels, it can shoot her numbers up close to seventy, but usually it's around sixty and I wanted to touch on this topic. So we've heard about the concerns about big kitten explosion, lots of cats being out there as you are continuing to do your surgeries and working throughout these months where other facilities were. Usually totally shutdown. Were you saying a lot of pregnant cats. Absolutely we have our numbers from this year so. March April, and May of this year we had hundred and seventy nine pregnant cats that's out of a total of one thousand and fifty seven female cats and in those pregnancies were eight hundred and one vide. So. We prevented eight hundred and one birth. We will always prioritize if somebody calls and they're not on our schedule and we're book full but they say my cat is pregnant we will always prioritize getting them in and the same thing with Farrell's. Almost, all the ferals are either. Male we we see a cycle they start in heat in January, and then they we see our first pregnancy is like, February march and now we're seeing so many post-partum ones that we didn't get to I and and the results. The kittens are now popping in but will always always prioritize you know especially with Farrell's because we could be their only option and just you don't have to. Have the statistics but Dr, could you remember seeing you know a lot of complications that's always been a great worry about the the leave them out there theory which was shared at a national level, which was leave them out. Let them have their kittens and do their thing as if they're in a nice protective bubbled environment. But I am under the impression that there are a lot of risks. Out there and there's certainly a lotta complications for female cat having birth. Did you see some of those potential complications that would have happened if they had been allowed to go to term just not really complications but you know you get Farrell's in pretty poor body condition. So going through a pregnancy birth in nursing for however long the kittens live, you know if they make it to winning. Age is certainly harder on the female that would be the biggest thing. I would think would be an issue would be just if they're not in the greatest body condition to begin with, they've had litter after letter after letter, we do see a fair number of piles, not not a ton but pyo major certainly would be something they were hoping to avoid as well and by Spain these guys. Starting off any any possibility that they will have a pyo the biggest complication I would see was just be the influx of kittens have then and kittens the ones who make it because as we know, a lot of feral kittens don't make it with the Queen is unhealthy over if they're exposed to something either viral bacterial Predator in the wild. So just preventing those kittens from being warned to begin with I think is just incredibly important. Boulder, realistic that believes the future is feline for far too long cats have been treated like small dogs doctor. Angie knows that now more than ever our kitties rely on our ability to better understand them empowering parents all over the globe through our online courses, blogs, live talks and supplements available through her online store. Doctor Angie is here to help cats and cap parents no matter your location learn more about Dr. Angie Andrew Practice at www dot. Boulder Listrik, DOT COM, and don't forget to use the coupon. 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Here we're recording in the middle of the summer. Almost July has this. Is Seen any substantial impact with regards to intake Yeah it's been a weird year as the weekend. Before the shutdown became official, we were able to get a whole bunch of the animals out into foster to sort of ease the burden on our shelter staff. We weren't sure what things would bring how how many people would end up sick. So we were able to reduce the number of animals in our shelter by quite a bit that first weekend we switched to doing adoptions. Wait a minute. So we didn't have like the flow of clients in like we normally would and then things were kind of slow intake was kinda slow. I think that a lot of people just kind of assumed we were closed I think people were going out as much. So they weren't finding stray cats in finding kittens as much. We do pull annals in from other animal control facilities so that they're not euthanize there and I. Think a lot of the animal control facilities we work with had kind of limited hours as well. I RUN OUR BARN CAT program and I had a lot of doctors and not a lot of demand for us to take cats from other shelters like we normally do and now things are kind of getting back to normal. It's really ramped up our clinic is incredibly busy. Our shelter is incredibly busy. We're getting more phone calls. Than I think we've ever gotten in the thirteen years that I've been here. We're still having a lot of adoptions but burst tons and tons of Kittens, and it's just I think delayed a little bit this year not because the kittens are coming late but because people are coming late with the kittens. So we've talked about whether we're GONNA in animal sheltering arena have a new normal or are we going back to normal? And Sarah. What do you think you're seeing with regards to any future changes in animal sheltering I think things are or were hoping to get things back to normal we were on a a successful run there. I. Think with being able to continue to do as many space invaders as we do in seeing those euthanasia numbers at our local shelter go down. So I would hope that we don't have any like major long lasting changes once is all kinda blows over and from the standpoint of the clinic you are just focused on getting as many cats in the building and Are you scheduling way out or are you all caught? You had to wait list but you never had a specific weightless due to being closed but you may have had a wait list because others around you other clinics. If there were clinics around you that are that people might have used, you might have had greater demand has that sort of leveled off and how long do people have to wait to get into your clinic these days it's not leveled off at all. It just seems to stay about the same level of busy every week for the last several weeks at least. A. Lot of the private clinics were not seeing new patients, and so we were getting a lot of calls from people with new pets because a lot of people were getting new pets during the shutdown as well, and now that the clinics are back open their full and so we're continuing to get calls from people who can't get in with a regular vet clinic. This shelters that did have to cancel their Spanish transport there now backed up. So some of our groups that we work with about fifteen groups to do spay neuter transports. Some of them have got openings within a month or two some of them are booked out into September we are currently. Booking into the middle of August for cats and into November and December dots, which is the longtime to wait were spay or neuter for cats we are running into a lot of people who cats had kittens since they made the appointment or the cats are now pregnant and they don't want to bring them into get paid. So I think it's it's a pretty big backlog. It's pretty daunting, but we're just kind of coming in and plugging through every day. Wow. That's amazing. We're talking like seven weeks for cats and like five months for dogs on the wait list there that is incredible and I dare ask this question. Sarah. But what your no show rate. It some days? It's really bad some days. We may have fifteen people on the schedule in two of them show up other days like today every single person shows up what we have noticed historically as the springtime is are slower time. So may is always our lowest month of the year for whatever reason, and then once June hits, we get busier and busier until October and part of that is that there are just more no shows in the spring and so even though we're booked out really far the clients are more likely to show up this time of year we do reminder. Calls a couple of days in advance to try to reduce the no shows. But any of the no shows that we have are typically offset by the walk in feral cats we take. So today every single person on the schedule showed up plus thirteen or fourteen extra feral cats. So we're sitting close to seventy surgeries today when we originally booked at I, think fifty six. Yeah. That's the vicious cycle of running a spay neuter clinic is that you wanna be able to anticipate precisely how many cats you're gonNA show up and it never works out that way. Fortunately, our vets are very flexible. That's a beautiful beautiful thing. So Dr Kid before we finish up on time I, WanNa ask you what are your thoughts or advice for other veterinarians that may be working in high volume, high quality, spay neuter clinics. You know if we do encounter a second way, you know, what do we think about our Spain neuter services going forward as we have future challenges in being able to keep open and keep these services going why is it important for us to have stayed open through this whole process I think that veterinary medicine in general and stay neuter in particular are essential services and I think to have been advocating for. Shutdown coming from from our our leaders those with a lot of high volume standard knowledge during the midst of kittens season was short-sighted and reactionary, and rather than issuing a Fiat that everybody needs to shut down now and donate all of your supplies i. think it would have been much better if they had all said, we know that there are different circumstances around the country, and if you can stay open, we would love to be able to help you do that in the safest way possible and for those of you who do feel you need to close because you're innocent hotspot. Then here are some ideas on what you. Can do when you eventually re open but to just say that everybody and all high volumes being there to clinics or low binds vineyard clinics or shelters need to come to a screeching halt I. Think was absolutely the wrong thing to do. It would have been so much better if they had formed some kind of like group chat or not a database, but but like a I, don't know webinars or anything where everybody could be in communication with one another and share ideas like here's how we're sterilizing gloves. Here's where we're getting ketamine. Here's what you can do. You know here's where you can get some cloth masks that you. Don't have to take throwaway masseter needed elsewhere. So they could they could put out many good ideas of how people could stay open and not end up with this backlog of cats who are now needing sterilized and a bunch of kittens wouldn't the interim instead of just saying you all must shut down and it feels almost like they a guilt trip on people. If you didn't shut down, you were endangering the entire country. So I think that the lesson at the end of the day is if challenges come ahead of us in this whole process or in some other scenario, we have another pandemic with another disease of some kind. We just take a bit of a moment and look at the big picture as well as looking at your own backyard and really making a decision as an individual consulting, your own local Veterinary Association and whatever rules and regulations are out there around. Your. Business. But just make sure you're representing the interests of your own organization in your own community rather than listening necessarily just doing blindly what is being you know was being presented across the country. So I think that's a very excellent idea which is everybody has the right to their own opinion, but it's it's an opinion it's not a must do thing right? Absolutely. I couldn't agree more and you know when taking in the interests of everybody. Your own community and everything inches of the cats have to be thrown in there too I think the cats are a big factor in what we have to consider Great Point Grey Point Sarah. If folks are interested in finding out more about your clinic or the organization that you work with, how can people find you our website is AP L. Dash Shelter Dot Org, and we are also on facebook and twitter and instagram. But I'm. Not. Sure. What are handles are yeah I'm sure people can find you. Is there anything else you'd like to share with our listeners Sarah I would like to add that as I understand it there were some states that did not deem veterinary services as essential or that just weren't permitting Zviad Neuter as I understand it some of the national animal author organizations were in talks with our governor win it became clear that there would be. A shutdown and they were aiming to ensure that veterinary services would be deemed essential and without that, you know if the governor won't let you stay open, there's nothing you can do about it. So I think it's important in those states where those services were forced to close by the governor that they maybe have a plan for that. If this should happen again, that's an excellent idea and I did do a pop-up women are with Bryan. Curtis and he has a flow chart handout that helps organizations figure out whether or not. The state has deemed veterinary services as essential or not. They're sort of a flow chart that you can go through with the various different departments and we'll make sure we get that attached into the show notes so that then if you need to go through that to ensure, you're following the appropriate rules for your state. It's a great resource and We had a couple of organizations, do it as a practice and so they could see sort of how they ended up at the end. You know are they essential? Are They not essential? Can they do spay neuter? Can they not that kind of thing and it worked out really well so that's a great idea and obviously we WanNa make sure that folks are following the rules and but we also are learning we may have. To become advocates in many ways to ensure that, we're able to keep the spay neuter services going in our communities. So Dr Kid and Sarah I would really like to thank you so much for spending some time with me today and to share your experiences with regards to Corona Virus Dr Kid. Do you have any last thoughts you'd like to share with the listeners know. So it's been great chatting with you again keep on doing. What you're doing, I can't believe the amount of surgeries you're doing on a daily basis and the numbers that you have looking ahead of you but I know you will put your head down and you'll persevere I want to thank you again for agreeing to be guests on my show and I hope you on again, get in the future maybe Sarah can reach out to me when you're weightless is all caught up we'll have a party. Bring. That's it for this week. Please head over to apple podcasts and leave a review. We love to hear what you think. A five star review really helps others find the show. You can also join the conversation with listeners, caretakers and me on facebook and Instagram, and don't forget to hit follower subscribe on spotify apple podcast Google, podcast Youtube Stitcher, or wherever you listen to. You don't miss a single show. Thanks for listening and thank you for everything that you do to help create a safe and healthy world for cats.
Siri Zwemke, Author, Executive Director of Siamese Cat Rescue Center
"You tuned into the community cats podcast ready. Let's go <music>. Welcome to the community cats podcast. I'm your host stacey lebron. I've been involved helping homeless cats for over twenty years with the the merrimack river feline rescue society. The goal of this podcast is to expose you to amazing. People were improving the lives of cats. I have these interviews. We'll help you learn how you can turn your passion for cats into action today. We are speaking with series whimpy. Siri brings us a refreshing work of creative nonfiction fiction and her first book rescue me's finding herself midlife collecting way too many cats amongst other animals siri decides to switch careers overnight from special education teacher to director of a nonprofit cat rescue group a decision that quickly snowballed as the rescue organization siamese cat rescue center gained national attention <music> over the next twenty years with the help of steady team of nine hundred volunteers rescued over thirteen thousand cats making every mistake in the book series pokes. It's fun herself in a light-hearted manner. She learned the lessons of animal rescue the hard way from handling rifle wielding hillbillies in the mountains of virginia to doing the dance the dead mouse you'll laugh you'll cry and you'll learn something about cats and rescue currently residing in virginia with her husband daryl whom she met through the rescue. Several cats is anti dog enjoys gardening reading and is working towards her black belt in martial arts siri. Welcome to the show. Thank you thank you for having me stacey. I'm so oh throw a dashing with lots of questions here to ask you. A siamese cat rescue has been on my radar for many many years and so i'm very very thankful that you joined the organization and has been working with it over the last twenty years or so first and foremost tell us how did you become incredibly passionate about cats and why siamese cats will. I think it was one of those things that i grew up with siamese cats. My mother had siamese cats when she was younger and it just sort of automatically came to me that i would get a siamese cat as a teenager that turned out to be my first soulmate if you will and it kerr became a passion from that point forward so it was in the family and the tradition was passed on yep yep that's it and so so i'm really interested in diving into siamese cat rescue but first. Let's talk about rescue me's. Why did you decide to write a book will after twenty years of doing siamese diomede cat rescue we sort of looked back on all of the experiences and how much we learned and all the different chats and people we met and things things we went through and i thought wow this really would make a great book not only in a sort of an educational way to help people who are either interested in risky skew or cats or siamese but also just in a funny funny stories that maybe at the time were so funny looking backer aca really quite humorous as i stumbled along and learned everything the hard way so many of these stories were drawn upon your experiences running the siamese cat rescue center yep. So what sort of role do you play for. Siamese cat rescue. Are you on the board of directors the executive director. I'm the executive director. I'm an founder of the rescue program which started in nineteen ninety eight kind of by mistake <hes> when i was looking to adopt a siamese cat having recently recently lost one had several cats but didn't have a siamese at the time and went out to try to find one got on the internet and actually found out out in kansas by a woman who had a small rescue organization out there that she was adopting out cats and so i thought wow there's a siamese in kansas and maybe could figure out how to get the cat from kansas virginia and then it sort of occurred to me wow maybe there are siamese cats in shelters in virginia so i made the i don't wanna say mistake mistake but i called up all of the local shelters within probably one hundred mile radius which was quite a few and sort of said hey. I'm looking for a siamese cat. Do you guys get siamese. Cats in everybody took my name and then the next thing you knew i got started getting all these phone calls. Hey hey we know about a siamese cat or we have a siamese cat. Can you come look at the siamese cat and the first lesson rescue which had not yet learned was you can't can't take them all and and so i did i took them all and kind of became the crazy cat lady with way too many cats and shortly after that i sort of realized wow this this isn't gonna work and maybe i need to turn this into you know a profession or an activity that i'm going to do and start a rescue organization and so it kinda snowballed into this career change as as you said i was teaching full time i was raising my daughter already had a super busy life and then all of a sudden you know ahead twenty cats at my house my goodness though but siamese cat rescue does not have a physical building other than foster homes correct we actually do. We put up a small shelter on our property. That's actually carnival long funny story which is detailed in the book but i had so many cat cages in the house that it was becoming really overwhelming and i again it sort of snowballed. I didn't realize it would become super-popular very very quickly playing so very rapidly. I had people showing up on my driveway all days of the year on thanksgiving afternoon wanting to come and play with the cats listen people knocking on my door at all times and the phone was always ringing in every room in the house was filled with cat cages and cats and very quickly. I realized this isn't gonna working so we actually put up a second building on our property that we where we could house the cats and so that's kind of the center or the mothership is we call it and and then from there we grew into a lot of foster homes throughout the various states that we cover nine hundred volunteers. That is an amazing number volunteers. How do you manage such a large group. It's crazy. <hes> we were just were so lucky to tap into a resource of siamese cat lovers which we did primarily over the internet nat word of mouth grabbing every adopter who adopted from us in convincing them to get involved in offering a lot of different volunteer positions so it wasn't just fosters that we needed but we needed interviewers and we needed crafters. Emily started a transport system so that we could move the cats from place to place a starting starting with a cat out in kansas that needed to come to virginia. We started what was called the measor express and do who was that cat was the first rider of the measor express which basically works as a relay system where different volunteers take different sections of the trip and they pick up the cat say at the foster home and they drive. Maybe an hour and a half and then passed the cat onto the next dry rude drives an hour and a half and passes cannot and so on and so forth and this is allowed us to replace the cats up and down the east coast throughout our coverage area most weekends. We have transports going in many different directions. Have you found that changes in the impacts with regards to the reductions of the numbers of cats going into shelters especially in the northeast and northwest and smother other pockets in the country. Are you finding business a little bit less busy than it was like ten years ago. Yes absolutely and i think that's great right. That's that's wonderful. Foia actually just had a conversation with our local animal control officer last week and we're talking about you know hey it's june and the shelter is not full. You know what's going on and every year and we track all sorts of statistics for ourselves anyway. Every year. We found that busy season or kitten season as you want to call. It gets later on so it used to be. We'd see it in april and then we see it in. May you know this year. It's been mid to late june and so i think spain owner is working in you know i think there is that reduction of homeless pets which is wonderful so that would bring us to in another part of the conversation which we sort of touched upon a little bit before i hit the record button which is this relationship between shelters and breeders and the fact that because you deal with siamese cats you're working with breeders as well as working with shelters. There's and you're not seeing huge spikes of these specialty breeds because of breeders continuing to breed you know and i think it's an interesting bridge. Your organization plays between the two camps because i i really think that shelters and rescues would have a hard time sitting in the same room with some breeders or readers in general general feeling that they're not on the same mission but in a way they may have the same mission because at the end of the day we just want the best possible homes for these cats are best possible environment for these these cats as they live. Do you have any thoughts about this. I think you're exactly right. I think the bottom line and particularly when you're talking about a purebred cat so the siamese cat <hes> you know has a personality that doesn't mesh with everybody and of course within the breed just like with any breed. There's going to be a real variation in the personality so oh i think the the bottom line is that you really have to match what the adoptive family needs and is looking for with the cat and if you don't do that i'm afraid that you're sort of contributing to this recycle of animals that get adopted from a shelter and go home and don't work in the home and then get returned turned or turned into someplace else so i think it's really really key to do a lot of matchmaking and that means that you know not every home or or adoptive parent is going to necessarily find what they need. In rescue and breeders play a very important function to you know not only perpetuate patch. Wait the breed but also there are a lot of i think adoptive homes that what they're looking for is maybe more reader specific end that may be a more appropriate appropriate venue for them so again we use the word breeder though in in rescue you run into a lot of situations which are not necessarily good breeding situations right so you have somebody who is backyard breeding and you know maybe the animals aren't receiving the vetting care and there isn't the supervision of the adults of the parents that their breeding together and stuff so you know it depends. I think that rescues shelters breeders all really have to work together for the benefit of the cat in question so that you get the good hohmann. It works the other way round too. We've had a lotta breeders. Approach us less cats that maybe they couldn't. It's find an adoptive home for for whatever reason maybe the cat was older retired breeder you know everybody was adopting their kittens but they had this older cat and leave welcomed about cat into our to our system been able to find a home for it so i think it works both ways. Do you wanna create amazing videos that get animals adopted then check out rescue tube where they've simplified the creation of adoption and fundraising videos volunteers and foster simply upload raw video and rescue youtube it turns it into amazing stories set to music. They even posted on your social media for you. Check out rescue dot tube to learn more going back to the days when i was running the merrimack river feline rescue society and we would get in a siamese get a seal point. You know the various different rent type of siamese cats and they're chatting away with us and stuff at that point in time. Yeah are doc fee was seventy five dollars or something which in our world now in new england is actually quite low but there was always huge demand for those tapes of cats so is it important or is it. I don't know i would always think about oh well. We should make this cat's adoption fee three hundred dollars to be able to help offset the dental for the next cat that walks through the door or whatever but are there things that as shelters shelters we need to know about with regards to specific breed of siamese that the breed specific rescues are better equipped to handle. I think the knowledge of the breed is is really key so if we look at siamese specifically you've got to have the right home for a siamese cat in general your typical siamese personality is talkative given active and dog like an involved in smart and curious and they're not really suited for somebody who wants you know a cat. That's just going to hang down on the couch and the person leaves a very busy lifestyle and they're not home that much and they travel on the weekends but they wanna come home and have a cat. That's great but that's probably not a siamese cat and so you know i think it goes back to again the matchmaking you have to educate your general public what the siamese cat is all about if they don't know and then you've gotta right and make sure that the person who's adopting the cat in again. Each cat is going to be different of course but are they going to be okay with the cat whose standing outside the closed bathroom door you know yelling at the top of their lungs so i have a question for you in terms of the trends that you've seen over the last twenty years or so years ago. It wasn't wasn't uncommon to see many of these special cats. Come into us declawed. Has that trend changed by that has changed <hes> we still see some of the older cats come in you know and that's typically the thirteen fourteen fifteen year old cat whose owner has passed away and they may be declawed but you're correct act. We don't see nearly as much of that anymore. Thank goodness because the declawed cats that we do get almost always have some behavior issues from that declaw claw and what would those types of behavior issues we see a lot of declawed cats who are biters our neighbors so they have learned that they need to to defend themselves or if they're put in a scary position or whatever they don't have their claws anymore so they use their teeth and we also see a lot of declawed cats. Come in with litterbox the boxes shoes as a matter of fact. I have the nicest cat. I mean almost ever that we've had over at the center and she has been returned four times and dan. She uses litterbox fine here but every time she goes home. We've tried all sorts of different homes for her. It hasn't worked. She's had litterbox. Issue is a night you know have to attribute attribute that to her declaw. We've certainly seen quite a few. I mean any cat. That's been declawed is at risk of having behavioral issues but yeah we definitely would see that in siamese and persian cats at came into us to do you have a relationship with the other breed specific rescues that are out there and are there organizations that are as big as siamese cat rescue center. You know i'm not really aware of other ones that have the longevity that we've had there have been over the years. There was a persian asian rescue for a while there have been a couple of other siamese and other breed rescues but typically we focused just on the siamese and if someone comes comes to us in our website talks a lot about what is the siamese cat. What kind of behavior you should you expect. What are you looking for in your cat and does it match with the siamese and and you know if someone says to us say we're looking for. You know very quiet cat. That's just going to be a meatloaf on the couch. You know we may say well. We are probably not the breed free. You know many years ago i think there was a maine coon rescue that we had utilized a couple of times you know they're very active and and they actually like to be outside a lot and they they get upset if they're not we've used them for barn placements on occasion and that kind of thing too though it's it's interesting. It's interesting to learn the ins and outs of the different organizations and and you know as you develop a nonprofit you're also thinking about. What's my niche or don't feel like you have to be all things to all people. It's how do we serve ourself the best efforts. I'd like to go back to rescue. Me is just a little bit talking about your book. Basically it sounds like there's different stories that you're sharing for myself as a shelter or rescue or community cat oriented mantis person if i'm reading that book what is it that i'm going to end up taking away from it will first of all. I worked really hard to make it very lighthearted. I think a lot of people are sort of worried. Oh it's gonna be really sad. All these rescue stories. It's gonna make me cry and stuff. I really worked hard to make it light hearted by poking fun at myself and all of the naievty that i had going into this just not really understanding about rescue in how the rescue environment works and the types of situations i would run into and stuff so i think that people will come away with a real sort of a good feeling that hey you can make a lot of mistakes in life and you can correct them and learn from them. Um and actually develop something. That's really pretty cool. I think they'll learn a lot. There's a lot of cat behavior. There's a lotta matchmaking in there. There's a lot certainly about siamese cats hats but i think also just cats in general and then there's quite a bit about just running a non profit animal rescue in what goes on behind the scenes i mean there's dead admires under your clothes and all sorts of things that you don't expect it to happen as you said you had cages in your house and it was getting a bit overwhelming. Did you talk at all about like sort of your home and it seems like one of the biggest challenges is being able to know your limits and being able to say no at times or i say not right now or say. Here's somebody else. Did you have that learning curve. They certainly did and i had a lot of moments in different areas teja moments in handling the volunteers. I had a moment since you said saying no to the cats coming in. I had a ha moments when i stood but at the end of my very rural driveway trying to eliminate or whatever to make money and realized this isn't gonna cut it you know so there was a lot of a lot of that and i do you detail a lot of that. I kind of learned like i said the hard way for sure so folks are interested in finding out more about rescue. Me's how would they do that. It certainly certainly for sale on amazon earns noble as paperback e book. I have a facebook page under my name series lemke author which gives a little excerpt from it talks about it some and then it's of course intricately tied to the siamese cat rescue. You can find me through that as well which is on has its own website so i of course also on facebook and then there's rescue. Me's that measor dot org the email says well yes excellent excellent series or anything i think else you'd like to share with our listeners today. You know it encourage anybody to contact us if you are interested in adopting if you wanna know more about siamese cats chats in general if you have an issue the siamese cat we're very interested in trying to get out into the community via cyberspace to try to help to work hard to keep these cats in their homes to provide some mentoring and advice and support in different ways so i hope that you know as we look at that changing changing rescue environment we look at possibly some new directions that siamese rescue may head in that people think to contact us if they need help and if we can it just talk to them about what's going on with their cat or is a siamese cat suited to them. Excellent will syria. I wanna thank you so much for agreeing to be a guest on my show and i hope to have you on again in the future. I really enjoyed it stacey. Thank you very much for having me. I really appreciate the opportunity. Thank you for listening to community cats podcast. I really appreciate it if you would go to. I tunes leave a review of the show. It will help spread the word to help mark community cats yeah.
Ep69 Amanda Arrington
"Yeah. You turned into the community cats podcast ready. Let's cal. Welcome to the community cats podcast. I'm your host. Stacey lebaron. I have been involved helping homeless cats for over twenty years with the Merrimack river feline rescue society. The goal of this podcast is to expose you to amazing people were improving the lives of cats. I hope these interviews will help you learn how you can turn your passion for cats into action today. We're speaking with Amanda Errington. Amanda is the director of the pets for life program at the humane society of the United States and previously served as the North Carolina State director for the HFS US lobbying for humane state legislation in our current role. Amanda leads initiatives that increase access to critical pet wellness care services and information for people and pets living in underserved communities. Amanda is also the founder and executive director of the coalition to unchain dogs a group based in. Durham North Carolina. The organization builds relationships in communities by providing free spay, neuter, fences Pet Supplies and medical care. Amanda, welcome to the show. Thanks for having me. So how did you get involved in animal welfare? I personally started work in animal welfare whenever I was living. Where I grew up in rural east, Texas, and was helping an issue that was pretty prevalent there, which is street dogs. Even though is a rural area that there are a lot of dogs that you see on the side of the road that for a variety of different reasons didn't have homes, and so that was sort of the the beginning of being in that world for me. And then whatever I moved to North Carolina. There were a lot more opportunities to get involved officially in so volunteering with with local groups, and my career, I guess you could say started officially when I began my own nonprofit in North Carolina about ten years ago, and then not long after that whenever. Was hired as the North Carolina State director for the H S U US and somewhat connected to the work that currently with pets for life being service to people in addition to animals, my interest in social Justice really started. When I was very young. Were you concerned about people? Did you see things happening that you may made you wanna be able to change the situation that that people were in in their communities a did where where I grew up again, it was very rural in east, Texas and saw a lot of issues with access not having the ability to obtain services for yourself or for your pets. There's a lot of difficulty with the ideas of equality and a lot of different ways. And so it was something that was just kind of part of the narrative in the world that I grew up in and for whatever reason, I remember it from being very very young. Something that I had a concern for and that I saw there is a lot of need for people to to recognize that there was injustice that was happening around them you notice that certain things seemed to bit unfair. And that it was it needed to change. Exactly. And then you took that energy in brought it into wellness programs. Outreach 'em, actually, the sort of the essence in the bedrock of pets for life. So eager to talk about this program with you today. I think I'm gonna sort of just jump right into it. Can you tell me a little bit about pets for life? And how was started in the essence of the program? Really is sure it is really all about connecting people in pets in underserved areas to services and information, and what that means for underserved areas. What we focus on our communities that have high rates of poverty in little to no access to to pet wellness services. And not surprisingly the the. Areas aren't just under served on the animal side, but they also under served in many different ways for the people. And so we provide free spay neuter, vaccinations, medical care supplies, essentially, whatever is needed for people in pets to stay together until live happy. Healthy lives are approaches unique in that were Riveria proactive in we utilize sort of the traditional grassroots organizing methodology literally going door to door street by street to build trust in relationships with people who have had either very little interaction with animal welfare providers before or the interaction they have had has been largely negative or punitive. There's not a community in the United States that doesn't have a segment of it that is underserved. And so it's a really important issue for us in animal welfare to be aware of for us to talk about and for us to really start kind of incorporating into. Our our missions than the program right now, we are in thirty four markets across the country. Four of those locations are operated directly by the Jess US. So we have our own team in staff that's out in the community, everyday doing the work, and then the other thirty supported through thunders like PetSmart charities, and we call them, our mentorship. Markets where we work with local shelters animal control agencies spay neuter clinics in even rescued groups bringing pets for life into their organizational structure and mission. I surf was trying to think of the analogy we've heard with regards to food referencing food deserts, we kind of reference these may be spay neuter or community medicine desert's, we use that comparison all the time, and we call them animals service desert's, and the the parallel is is usually the same in every community where food desserts are identified. They are. Animal service desert's. Well, so there are not veterinary clinics that are in those communities. There are not pet supply stores, even big bucks retailers. And so it's extremely difficult for people to access spay neuter and just simple things like fleeing tick medication or just sort of like preventative care, or maybe minor medical issues really is just out of reach for people both geographically but oftentimes financially as well. So those communities where you do have sort of spe neuter lack of availability for any spay neuter resources, how do you help resolve that issue? So it depends on what is available on each of the market that we work in every place is different. And so we put together a strategy. Some have maybe a for profit veterinarian that were able to work with. It's only a few miles away men. Some places we are working with. Ryder. That's forty five minutes from the community that we serve end. So transportation becomes a big part of connecting the people in pets with the services in. So we do in the program a lot of transporting dogs and cats too in from their Spaniard or appointments to other medical appointments, in some cases, there are mobile units that that are working in an area. And so we're able to bring them into the community, and even in a few places we have veterinarians that go out into the community with us can you touch upon some of your greatest challenges and greatest successes from the program. I think that one of the most prevalent most common challenges that we faced his been really from within our own field, much more. So than a challenge from the community side, you know, when we first started pets for life in having these conversations about the issue of people pets. Poverty. There are a lot of misconceptions in animal welfare. You know, we have believed for a long time that certain communities or certain segment of pet owners on were opposed to Spain neuter or on their cultural differences that impact someone's decision to spay neuter their their cat or dog in what we have found is that that just isn't true that it's almost always about access and about affordability, men's I think that challenge was a big one in the beginning that we still see we start in each new community is with ourselves in having a very honest conversation about maybe some of the judgements that we've made in how to get past them in order to to really connect with the people that need to services the most in the same vein. Think that's one of our biggest successes is really impacting the entire field in sort of the conversation. That's being. Had on the last frontier. So to speak of people in pets that need to be connected to us as the service providers, and the people who really hold the information so just trying to capture late this in thinking about, you know, it's not our place to make decisions for others. And so we need to go out and provide information, but not be the actual come with our biases too sort of pre decide what direction someone's going to go in. He can sum it up. I think with some terminology uses ensure you've heard and have probably used as have I the term education. You know, that were we need to be out educating people providing education to community, and that was something that as we began really doing the work in collecting data in seeing the results murder like, okay, wait, a second education. Implies that there's a imbalance that you have a teacher in you have a student, and that's really not at all what we see in the community it. It's about information sharing because we have as much to learn as we have to give. And I think that that sort of represents what the program is about what you were just saying that we're not trying to convince people were not trying to strong arm. Anybody really wanna share information make services available in a very easy way for people? And when that happens the majority of folks make the absolute best decision for their pets. And now, let's take a moment. Listen to a few words from our sponsors ready to make a big difference for cats in your community. We've got an exciting opportunity that can jump. Start your efforts. The community cats podcast has launched community cats grants when you qualify for this innovative program, you'll gain valuable knowledge about how to raise funds for your spay neuter efforts plus will match the funds you raise up two thousand dollars. Doubling your -bility to make a difference for cats fundraising doesn't have to be scary. We'll be with you every step of the way check it out. You can find all of the details on the community cats podcast website under our education menu. Let's join forces to make the world better place for community cats. Who is the brainchild of the pets for life program? Was it you was it a group of people. How did it get started? I started with the coalition unchain dogs many years before getting hired by ages US. And that's where I learned a lot of lessons where I really have my eyes opened to the reality for so many people who were living in struggling with poverty every day in how that impacts the decisions that they make him what they have available to them as far as options for their pets in. So through that learning I was able to sort of recognize other people who had an interest in these issues who had some experience knowledge that they could share and from there really became a collaboration of how do we make this a larger program? Once I started working with the issue as the North Carolina State director, I was able to have a lot more connections. And in a lot more. Interactions with with people who could help make it happen. Thank you so much for making this a national program. I mean taking a small idea with a small organization, and then being able to grow it to be able to help so many different communities across the country. It you said the total number was thirty four is that what's currently going on? Or is that the total number of communities that have been involved with pets for life so far. So that's what's currently going on. And that's very direct in official. So where we either doing the work ourselves. We've provided the financial support and training for a local group to do. But it's obviously the the philosophy is much broader than that in in through the pets for life community outreach tool kit that we have available for free online. A just a ton of groups there's thousands that have taken advantage of that in in some way, whether it's just pieces or it's kind of in full with the program. Really started to utilize these ideas and change how they're delivering services and what they are doing in their community. So we've seen in the last few years just the idea of it, which is what the most important piece is really taking off of how much need there is, unfortunately, this is issued that isn't going to be going away anytime soon because the income inequality in our country is greater than it's ever been. And there are one in six Americans now, and it seems to be increasing. Every census that's done or living below the federal poverty line. And so again, you know, any community that anybody listening is working in. There's gonna be people in pets that they will probably say, yes this fits, you know, there's this certain area certain neighborhood that really need services doesn't have them. So in the past for life program, can you touch on the specific ways that it helps? Community cats in an area yet the program right now we serve about fifty percent dogs. Fifty percent cats which surprises a lot of people for some reason. A lot of folks started thinking that the program was mainly about dogs in it definitely is not a large number of those cats are community cats that that we we serve we work from within the community to identify the people who love in care for the cats in offer free services. Just like we do in general, free speech, nude or medical care. And I think on the surface we've seen folks think that cats in certain neighborhoods are not cared for or or not connected to people. But what we found is that most are in some way or another. But it takes us engaging with people in having conversations in listening investing the time to create that trust. And then when we do, you know, they're usually at least one per. Oftentimes, many that are caring for these mainly outdoor cats in varying degrees of social behavior in in friendliness. But that have people who really are looking out for them in love them. It's funny. I keep on thinking about community Katzen actually surprised you would say people think they're more dogs for I would think it'd be much more on the cat Rome than the dog room. Just because I have over the years. I've often referenced cats being pets of the poor. Yeah. Because I had a statistical reference once that said as your income levels go up the number of dogs. You have go up as your income level goes down the number of cats. You have goes up. So there's this inverse relationship, and therefore it provides a much greater impact on your local shelter on your community in general. So I would have anticipated almost sixty forty or seventy thirty relationship. But maybe that's because I'm pretty cat Centric. You know? But I, but I think that you have an inside in that probably a lot of people don't I still think there's a a large segment of just the general public who view community cats as less than a pet. And so maybe that's why a lot of people see dogs as more connected to the people in the cats as being less individual in more communities that might, but you having the experience in sort of information that you do you understand that most of those cats have people? So Amanda, I mean ask you what what would think would be a simple question. But maybe it's not so simple. If you saw a stray cat on the street. What would you do? We know I kind of answer that from the perspective of pets for life in in what our approaches in. We obviously see cats that are loose outside all the time. And the way that we handle is to start talking to people in the area in vine. Finding out the full story of who may know the cat who is carrying for the cat either individually or potentially multiple people the cat is more independent or part of a colony. And then once we are able to get that information offer the appropriate services. That's really how we go about it. And sometimes we're able to gather those details within a couple of minutes. Sometimes it might take us a couple of days in knocking on many doors or using folks that we know to tell others that were not there to get them into trouble in they can trust us. That's what we work hard to make sure that we are doing that. We exhaust every possible option to identify the humans that are involved. And then start talking to people in saying this is what we have to offer. You know, does the cat need to be spayed. Is there an issue with a medical condition that we can help with sometimes food is really really helpful. And then just sharing information on what the benefits are two different services in a lot of the communities. We work in the majority of animals are not spayed or neutered less than ten percent actually nationwide, which is pretty staggering in underserved areas. And so folks have never had an altered pep before. And so they don't always know what that means or they might have misconceptions about it or with cats specifically how we utilize the traps in what the processes in people have questions on. Does it hurt them? You know, how when do they come back so really just talking to people and and kind of shining allied on what we're able to to do in how're able to help them be of service. And in the rare case if it's a true. Stray to us. That means no connection to a person than we notified the groups who handle those issue. So as pets for life. We are not bear to to trap and remove or anything of that nature. So whether it's animal services or local rescue group. That's when we use our relationships in connections, and let others get involved sounds grew. Amanda, if people are listed in finding out more about pets for life. You'd mentioned that handbook earlier which will try and get a link for show notes today. How can they find you to find out more about that or to be part of the mentoring program? So everything can be connected to from our main web page, which is humane society dot org backslash pets for life. There's a linked to the community outreach tool kit from there. There's a link to information on mentorship. And how to get up to be notified when the grant process is open. So from that main page, there's all sorts of information that people can. Get access to in. In learn read more if they would like is there anything else you'd like to share with our listeners today. You know, I think just sort of reiterating what we've talked about that in the pets for life work in very much from from what we've learned we believed that it's important to have seen success in treating cats as part of the overall community in not ostracizing the issue or approaching people any differently than we do on other issues. And we recognize of course, there are logistical nuances to each situation in each community. But the philosophy really is always the same as to engage people with respect in understanding and be of service in in the most comprehensive way, we can with emphasizing the resources in in using our resources to keep people in pets together in that that very much includes community cats. Manda thank you again for green be guest on my show. And I hope we'll have you on in the future. Thank you. A pleasure. Thank you for listening to community cats podcast. I really appreciate it. If you would go to items lever review of the show. It will help spread the word to help more community cats.
Jeff Parks, Author of "You Know Your Cat Loves You Because..."
"The you tuned into community cats podcast. Ready let's go. Welcome to the community cats podcast. I'm your host Stacey Lebaron. I've been involved helping homeless cats for over twenty years with the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society. The goal of this podcast is to expose you to amazing people who are improving the lives of cats. I hope these interviews will help you learn how you can turn your passion for cats into action. Today we're speaking with Jeff Parks. Jeff is a comedy writer from Temecula. California he grew up with dogs in his life and it wasn't until he was in his thirties that he was introduced to the wonderful world of owning cats however wasn't long after meeting his two cats windows and Mac that he he fell in love with both and officially became a cat person he was inspired by the deep bond. He had with his cats to see if there was research on how cats showed their love for their human companions. He was amazed to find that there were countless articles about the subject. It occurred to him that this question of obvious interest to cat lovers utilizing his comedy background. He started to write out the funny ways. Cats show love to their owners. That wouldn't be found in any official studies eventually. He decided to pursue the idea. Yeah as an illustrated book featuring captions underneath each panel he found a co writer and an illustrator who shared his vision and it was off to the races. The the resulting book. You know your cat loves you because the sweet silly and scientific ways are cats. Show us how much they love. US is available now on Amazon. Jeff Welcome to the show. Hey thank you stacey. I know. I'm not your typical guest but I really appreciate the. I think that a lot hopefully to to offer your listeners. And I'm happy to be here. Thank you again for joining me. And thank you for sending me a copy to review so I have my book sitting here and I believe you have your copy of your book sitting right in front of you did. So we may have you. Read one or two of your favorite passages as we get going in the show but before that you mentioned in your bio a little bit about how you became a cat person and congratulations on that. Can you tell me a little bit about the specifics around on how you found windows and Mac. Yeah it's it's an interesting story. So first of all it is windows and MAC which a lot of people automatically go to the computers but the actual back story is that it had nothing to do with the computers essentially back in two thousand four. My girlfriend at the time moved in with with me and she had windows and that was the first time I'd really been introduced to a cat. We were a little wary of each other. He was a big fan of eating my plants and banging on cards words and everything and weirdly enough after few months we really warmed up to each other and it was a couple months after that I decided to get him a companion so he went out amount and adopted mack. who was a kitten at the time and windows was about two years old fast forward? A few years later we broke up amicably and I was working from home at the time and she thought that I would be better caretaker and I had to admit I was I was very happy that she wanted to do that. And so from there might bond with. Both of cats became very strong just because I was on them so much. It's Kinda hard to describe. I'd always been sort of the dog person and it kind of took me by surprise but but I became an official cap and I was the guy showing videos to friends of the cats and pictures and everything. So that's kind of a little background air. And our kitties dog lake. AAC Or catlike so windows was in fact. I didn't know that can growl like a dog when we introduced MAC to Windows. He growled like a dog which took me. By surprise he was affectionate in some of the ways that a dog was. But you know I was never somebody who thought you had to be dog Kherson Ara Katherine rappers and I always respected the differences between animals. And so I wasn't really looking so much for windows or Mac or cats janelle tavern be like dachshund intact. It was the way they showed their affection. It was so different than the doctor that had led me towards research for the book and the idea for the book and I read through your book just sort of one of those feel feel good books and I just kept sitting there and I'll be like Oh yeah I agree with that. Oh yeah that happened. Oh Yeah I can see and so you know as I was enjoying enjoying it. The one thing that came to my mind was sometimes in this business. Especially when you're in the rescue world and you're fostering a lot of cats or kittens and you Own a lot of cats and you're out there trapping. A lot of cats is that our profession can be extremely overwhelming and emotionally draining. I one thing this book brings forward is levity and joy and some warmth was that your original inspiration for the book yeah. I'm glad you asked that because the original idea for the book Tuck was in two thousand fifteen. I noticed for whatever reason I just noticed that Balkhash in different ways like Mac was less atypical. He was the cat in the beginning. If I approached him he would get up and walk away and that lasted for about seven years but he would come to you and he wouldn't kind of but his head on on you and his tail around you and do other things and so I picked up on the way both catch showed affection windows was a lap cat. He join me pretty pretty much everywhere and so the idea kind of hit me. How do you know if your cat loves you and I thought okay to Google and I was curious to see if I would find? Some of the things is it. I recognize in both cats in different articles and surprise came when they were seven hundred million results. How do you have your cat loves you? So the biggest surprise is there a Lotta articles that mention that may be cats had learned behavior to show affection but didn't really love their owners which I immediately thought that well. That's not right. I don't believe that I don't think any cat owner caliber believes that because we know we live with our cats. We understand their behavior pretty well but the main thing is I thought well you know. Maybe I'm onto something new here. So many people are asking this question that I had so with the comedy writing background. I started to to kind of come up with different ideas that I thought would be funny in terms of how cat which show their love and I quickly paired that with the idea of how doc show their love so the original originally. It was kind of a counterpoint. Where you would have you know your cat loves you because the minute you get home? They're nowhere to be seen. They know you need your downtime. It's been a long today at work. And then the counterpoint would be. Your Dad loves you. Because they're right their core once you get home from work they know you need love and support and so I kinda sat with that idea for a few years it kind of language I go back to and I really couldn't figure out how to form it but in two thousand nine hundred ninety finally hit upon it that it didn't need to be this alternate thing and I also recognize the. It needs to be a lot more than a comedy book that I really wanted to be sincere and heartfelt in sweet and funny and I didn't WanNA traffic in the same stereotypes that you would see in this kind of book where cats are always aloof the old sort of stereotype that the cats trying to plot to kill you in your sleep and I was determined to do something that really showed the joys delays of pet ownership but also bounce some truth and some of the different situations you would find yourself and with your cats. I wanted to be a book that was full of joy and we wanted to mix it up too so it wasn't just one kind of panel. You use the word. We you want to share a little bit about your collaborators. Yeah and actually. It's very important. That couldn't didn't really write the dog lines the way that I wanted to. And so after coming up at the Pew I needed to find someone that I trusted who right well and also be someone I could balance of it and I had work with an actress. Nina brisy on a short comedy film that I had done a few years ago. I saw that she was always posting pictures of her dog. Bruce and updates on how now he was doing and I thought that she would be a good partner for something like this and so I contacted her and told her about the idea for what the book would be. Because I always knew it had to be illustrated with captions. I always knew exactly the type of book that I wanted to be in so I wanted to make sure that she understood why it was that we were going to be doing because the process isis took nine months just to do the Cap Book and we actually have a companion book involving dogs with the same subject coming out in a few months by she really loved it to her credit she. She actually loved it more than I did beginning. She's like let's get to. Let's do it right now. So he set deadlines which was probably the key deadlines for when the actual lines could be written in for sorting through them deadlines for finding an illustrator and our illustrator. Who is amazing? Mark Sean Wilson. He's been published. I in the New Yorker is kind of line of children books out and it was tough finding somebody who could really capture exactly what we were trying to intimate intimate with the captions. Because you have a specific caption and we hid describe each image when we gave it to the illustrate. This is what we wanted to look like. But it's a really hard thing to do still to give somebody a caption and the here's a description. Have them come up with the exact thing you want. And he was amazing we were very fortunate undefined him and he worked with us and still has worked with US hand in hand on everything without his involvement. Actually the book wouldn't be what it is so I'm GonNa have that you brought that got up. I WANNA make sure he gets his due credit because it was a true collaboration in the sense that everything that was written went through between Nina. And why you're here and I didn't realize how intense it was going to be. In terms of the time we spent We would have three and four hour sessions just reviewing maybe seven to ten new sketches. They came in from art to talk about. Where is this cat is? Is this the profile we want. Is this the look we want doing. Need to show them another model. What do we want revises? Perfect all the minutia that you need to look at if you want the birth. You're writing to come through. We did the work for and it shut up on. Hey as a licensed board of veterinary medicine. Continuing Education provider. Private logic understands the importance of proper disease prevention and odor odor control in that cat care environment. Private logic is a leading provider of educational support and product solutions that are designed specifically for Disease Prevention and odor control in the home and professional cat care environments to learn more about our cattery products please visit. WWW dot pro logic dot com or call eight hundred it eight six nine four seven eight nine checkout pro vet logic today. Join the community podcast on Saturday February eighth from ten. Am to five five PM eastern standard time for an online behavior. Day featuring Dr Rachel Geller and Tabitha. Who Sarah Rachel? Tabitha will offer a variety of workshops on common cap behavior behavior issues and concerns from vet visits and enrichment to litterbox and multi-cap household issues. There will even be a kitten. Kindergarten workshop sign up today for just twenty ninety five dollars and be sure to bring your questions on February eighth. If he can't make it that day it's okay. Sign up anyway. So you can view the recordings of the presentations at a later date. It just go to community cats PODCAST DOT COM and sign up today. So you talked about this nine month process when you started out wrote the product you finished with that what you anticipated or did things change in that evolution of the nine months. It did a little bit one of the things that we realized quickly. It was at Nina and I was at didn't want it to be like scatalogical stuff in there in the sense that there was gross stuff so to speak. We want it to be real. There are things that would you know talk about litter boxes and things like that but we wanted to make sure it was probably more comedic than anything and and I hid went through an experience a really horrible experience where Mica Windows who I'd had for fifteen years and he was seventeen at the time had gone through enumerate problems. He'd had diabetes and thyroid issues and he got very very sick. A few months into writing the book in May early May They found a big mass in his stomach. And I had to make the decision to let them go and put them down and it was by far the hardest thing I've ever it had to do and to this day. It's still hard to even think about but the thing is that after that happened the book was already special to me because a lot of it was inspired by both cats but it took on a different a different dimension. And what was important for me was that the book resonates with every cat owner out there. That would really important according to me because I I had become a campus and I knew what it was like to be to a door and to really bond with your cat in a way that you'll do anything for them and you just love them that much so getting the vision out for what the book was. It's very rare for that to happen. I can tell you from having stage comedy where I'd written sketches and produce awesome and doing a short films very to have a vision. For something out creatively. Actually come out and this is the first time it actually happened. I'm so proud of a book that is in front of me because I know that the people who buy it. The cat lovers the from the responses that I've done and the feedback and and everything else. I knew I did what I had set out to do. In collaboration with my other partners. It's it's something else to have that happen. I'm extremely extremely proud of the book. So in combination. With your your vision. You really had some intense determination to pull it through and you pulled it through with in a very difficult difficult time but it wasn't something that said. Hey let's stop this project because you lost windows it was no. We need to keep pushing forward even more so. And you mentioned a little bit more than I won't Belabor it but there's even a bit of a memorial a remembering for him so even though there's joy away there's happiness there's laughter there's funniness there's life to the book too and that's I think important for folks to sort of understand too. Yeah I I took a couple of days off afterwards I was in a pretty bad state. I'd never grieved that hard before and so I told my writing partner in Ireland that I needed a little time off but I also recognize that I needed to go back into it and one of the things that I was able to do. Being one of the was included both Mac and windows in in the book giving pictures illustrator and saying okay. This caption was inspired by. When does this one was inspired by Mack? Able to place them side by side in the book which is is extremely meaningful. Because I I looked at the book quite a bit. See Him there on my computer where he used to always lay and it brings a smile to me and it was tough to deal with them in the beginning especially because you're reading lines that were directly inspired by him but it was more meaningful for me to honor honor him by finishing the book in a way that I knew I knew is inspired by him quite frankly and wanting that same joy that I got for him to be spread to people who are going to read the book and the best part of the entire processes feeling I have a book it wasn't written because I got this great idea idea I think calibers will spend money on it. It was it was like I got this great idea. The cat lovers are GONNA love hike. I can't believe this ideas never been done. You know especially with the -tario type of cats being a Lou preachers. I thought well we know that. That's not right and in fact this was a way to have fun with it but also say hey. Cats are incredible in yearly. EERILY missing out if you don't get that since the release of the book but how has the reception been and have you gone to bookstores or are you like out pounding. The payment or are you primarily using Amazon as your distribution network. Well we have a facebook page if anyone wants to find it just type in your cat lousy because and you'll oh find it so on the facebook page response been great. We've had people who have bought the book and sent pictures of the book of them with the cats that they have which is is great. We've had just basic responses in terms of people writing to US telling us they loved the book and actually that's the biggest thrill so far far I mean we want to earn money obviously but to me to hear that it hit the heart. The way that I wanted is by far the most thrilling part about it as far as selling the book right now. We're exclusive on Amazon. But the idea that we had is we're GONNA go to different that clinics and we're going to try to team up with them where they would sell the book in their clinics and we will donate a portion of the proceeds to a charity that would specifically assist people who are having problems paying. They're bad bills and the reason behind. That was taking care of windows for so long. It got very expensive but I was very fortunate to have the money to be able to pay for all the blood test testing going back and forth and all the medications but a lot of people can't so that's that's something that we just literally started doing and that'll be pounding the pavement to to a degree. But I think that this is a book that will be shared by people more than just finding it in bookstores. And so there's different ways we're going to try to distribute it right now. We're doing giveaways and that kind of thing. But as far as where they can get it would be Amazon a few other online places after that and hopefully quoi am in bed clinics around the country. Well in the show notes will certainly make sure we have the link through to Amazon and that way make sure people have access to it because is where a couple of weeks before Valentine's Day. So what do you get a cat person on Valentine's Day. I mean we don't do chocolate or flowers or whatever you get a macaque apple do that instead so just to reiterate if folks are interested in finding out more or joining any updates update you have that facebook page is really the place to contact you or reach out to you or to the general community. Yeah a couple of things so we have an email mel address for people who want to write about the book if they want to ask anything actually about the book you know. Your cat loves you because at G.. Mail DOT COM. We went out of our way to use a lot of different cats realize realize cats as models for the book so there was a lot of diversity. We WanNa make sure that people were represented to so all kinds of people bull ages nationalities all types of cats. It was really important to me and my partner. That was hard of the book and we want to hear like I said it's really the biggest thrill hearing from in people who have bought the book identified with specific panels and said Yep. That's my cat right there. So that and the facebook page we update usually once every few days and yeah we feedback. That's really the best. Hey Jeff is there anything else. You'd like to share with our listeners. Today there was a lot of joy putting together. This book while we wanted to accomplish was something that would blend all the awesome experience of being in a cat owner in the joy in it and we wanted to also make it interesting. So that if you're reading the book you never quite know what's GonNa come next and that's that's pretty much did it really came from the heart and we're really proud of what we've got here and we hope that people get it and let us know what they think. That's great well. Jeff I want to thank you so much again for agreeing going to be a guest on my show and I hope we'll have you on the future. Maybe when your next book comes out but we'll definitely keep in touch and for my listeners. I really hope you'll consider sharing sharing this podcast with others. I Know Jeff would be happy if you shared the podcast with others that they might consider grabbing a copy of this book. In if you feel up to it please subscribe to the show and write a review. That's really helpful to help. Spread the word about the community cats podcast so thanks so much for tuning in and we'll see you all next week. Thank you for listening to the community. Cats podcast. I really appreciate it if you would go to. It tunes review of the show. It will help spread the word to help mark community cats.
Veronica Coit, Asheville Cat Weirdos
"The. You tune into the community cats podcast ready. Let's go. Welcome to the community cats podcast. I am your host. Stacey lebaron. I've been involved helping homeless cats for over twenty years with the Merrimack river feline rescue society. The goal of this podcast is to expose you to amazing people who are improving the lives of cats. I hope these interviews will help you learn how you can turn your passion for cats into action today. We're speaking with Veronica quite of Asheville cat. Weirdos. Welcome veronica. Hi, thank you. We're going to take a deep dive into Asheville cat weirdos and your emergency fund at everything. But why don't you? I also a little bit about yourself. And how you got involved in rescuing being a cat lady. And all things cat by two children. And I'm married, and I'm a fulltime hairdresser in Asheville, North Carolina and cat lady for life. It goes back. All. All the generations and of always had cats and a kind of stumbled into count weirdos. And I had the personal background with a feral cat colonies and being a low income person in a bad situations when a can't get sick. Or when you move in. You can't find a place to take you and your cats, and I knew there were other people out there like me that I wanted to work with so tell me a little bit about the history about ashville cat weirdos. But how did it get started winded? It get started in and what's it's purpose. The Asheville can't weirdos is a Facebook group that I founded in March of twenty sixteen where now at just shy of nine thousand members, and we are western North Carolina exclusive. So it's regional everybody west of highway seventy seven in North Carolina's. Welcome join and it just kind of happened. We were in. There was a a post in another community Facebook page, and there were some jokes made about cow cat. People are weird and anti-social and all those like cat lady miss kind of sayings and somebody said you should start a group, and it took me a few days, and I just got started and it took off and we had a thousand members in less than a year. And around this time last year, we were celebrating five thousand members just got the notification for that. So yeah, just kind of happen. And so what do you support? I mean is the Facebook group that then supports initiatives? Like, if you if someone has a cat that is injured or sick, or needs assistance. How does that all work by the first October of the group I randomly decided to make a calendar and a sell it and having the proceeds go to a local nonprofit that works with feral cat colonies. Called friends the number two and Faeroes France to faira lls, and I just used pictures that people had shared within the group that at that point wasn't even a full thousand members, and I had to do pre sales because I couldn't afford to foot the Bill of this calendar myself, so I had to do pre sales, and I was meeting people that I never would've met and then during the pre sales one of our members had a cat pass away because of a genetic kind of mutation saying, and the people that I was meeting to come in purchase these calendars who had never met. This cat would never meet this person most likely they were crying. And there was just this bond that I saw taking place, and I realized how important this was gonna be as a community, and that's what actual count weirdos was in is I is it's a community of people who on ously care about each other. So then I met a woman whose cat is currently worth fifteen. Thousand dollars somewhere there in out. You. Yeah. Wow. He s an appropriate response. The cat has a genetic another genetic mutation and it's caused what's the Qin too brittle bone disease that affects the the lower jaw and the the hips the rear the rear legs and hips Mench. She she kind of inspired what would happen next which was the our logo on a sticker. And I really wanted to help her at that point she'd spent over ten thousand dollars on this cat, and I wanted to help her keep going 'cause she just kept saying that, you know, the cat just has this will to live. This cat was the fifty ninth cat in all the world to be diagnosed with this issue, and it's considered terminal. Most of the cats are put down because it's it's very difficult life and the cat I've met the cat and even when her jaw like, she had this major jaw surgery and her hit it just it's. Bank from the defection. It was so bad, but she would run up to you. And she would per and she would want attention. Oh, gosh. She smelled fearsome, which she didn't care. She just loved life so much. I thought it was mazing, and I had some background, you know, being, you know, the working poor where I'd had to make that scary decision that you know, you can't through no fault of your own just by circumstance, you cannot afford the medical care that your cat required. And I thought about how that wasn't fair. And so we launched the stickers and we gave and then right after that was our silent auction, and I think we donated close to want to three thousand dollars total to that cat to that cats care, and it launched the whole idea of when I met the cat with the joy on the hip thing. She had tried to seek out assistance. She reached out to local humane society and other local rescues. And so she had this this. Massive ten plate page list of all these organizations that helped with general animal, like emergency assistance, animal welfare that kind of stuff. Two thirds three quarters like the massive part A-List was all dogs. It was all per to really specific like breeds of dogs. No dogs in general just dog dog. So there goes almost like the majority of the list. So then what she was left with started to be more specific, and it was disease specific breeds Pacific. There was nothing just for like general cat, or you know, emergency circumstance that there was nothing out there there were there were like our local shelter. They offer you call their emergency assistance. And they have you know, it's done by a grant. So they have X amount of dollars per month that they can give out and they can give a maximum of one hundred fifty dollars per person. And that's great and that saved lives and they regularly run out of funds because it's so needed. But when you're. Looking at a two thousand dollar Bill. One hundred fifty bucks is a drop in the bucket. So I wanted to make a fund that was not dependent on grant money and put this community to work helping each other and the community wanted to help each other. So now here we are with multiple programs all focusing on helping people keep the cats. They have. Yes. So you're talking about this Facebook page, which is obviously it's the core family that you've chosen to use Facebook as the flat form to do that with and that I think really important because so many people are like well, do I go with Instagram to go with Twitter? Do I go with you know, and you really just said it's Facebook, and this is where it's going to be in this is where it's going to sit. And that's where it's gonna live and breathe and become who it is. And so I think that that's a really important thing for any small organization to be able to just say, let's focus on one place. Yeah. And then you know, even in a couple of years. You've massaged that group in also been able to grow it in the way. So that you have even expanded beyond the emergency fund component into a couple of other programs. And I don't know if you wanna share those with us right now to absolutely there's kind of three things that can generally happen to make people not be able to keep their cats. The three big ones that we started to see we watched the post right now, we're at something like over two hundred posts per day. But I noticed there would be kind of like common themes at different points in the early days of the page. We would see pretty regularly like I need how my cat has. You know, the surgery this thing this, and I was like, okay, cool emergency fund, we got it. So let's move forward. And then there was like a six month period. Where I started seeing a lot of these posts about like disease buddy have any natural remedies for flee her flea infestation, or my I have to rehome my cat because. I'm pregnant and the cat has fleas. And you know, as we know the cat has fleas that means a cat has worms. So you know, what are these little rice things that are on my blanket? After my my cat gets. So I said, okay, cool. Here's the idea for that one. Let's take the idea of food pantry. But let's make it different. Let's make it specific. And the thing that sets us apart from men, you can go to any church or any food Bank, and you can get cathode. And then a lot of you can also get cat litter on but they don't cover flea medicine in D wermer. So it was important to me that we kept those things in stock because having pleased having worms can lead to greater medical issues kind of falls under the psych, preventative care. So we started the cat pantry of few months ago, and it's taken off. And then the next step for me was a few years ago. I had heard about a program through the local humane society where they were offering not only free spay neuter and a free rabies vaccination. But they were also it once you got it done after it was paid for you came back with your receipt, and they will give you twenty dollars cash, and I thought to myself. And how I actually have a cat right now who I didn't get her fixed until she was over six months old. She was in heat it caused her to get outside and it did cause her to get pregnant. I had the best of intentions. You know that I love I love it any less. I just you know, I can't afford the gas this week, you know, or I can't afford to miss this hour worth of work move. Awful fire me, I can't take off work whatever the case may be that twenty bucks would have made the difference for me Edmund like, oh, there's the gas in my tank to get to this. You know, spay neuter clinic to get this done. Whereas if it was affecting me as affecting other people, so we had just did our first round of vouchers for our span new to program earlier this month. That's fantastic. Lot of growth in a very short period of time. And you manage to do this with kids and fulltime job. How do you do that? Patients, and I have. I'm a little scattered. Honestly, I think the ADD helps a little bit. I can kind of do multiple things I've got a really amazing partner. My husband, and I have been together for coming on five years. My children are from previous marriage and just over this past summer. My husband adopted my children. So I have an amazing partner. Today's episode is sponsored by space. Kitty express your one stop shop for exotic cat drugs. Everyone's heard of catnip, but what about Valerian root -tarian honeysuckle or silver vine space. Kitty expressed specializes in offering these hard to find catnip alternatives. Both in their herbal form and stuffed into a variety of usable toys, their herbs are one hundred percent pure, not like those quote, unquote, catnip blends you might find in a pet store. There are -tarian honeysuckle would is cut fresh and kept frozen to lock in at citrusy sent their silver vine exudes a menace that tingles the nostrils their organic Larry and route is so Muskie that they've had to blend it with organic lemongrass. So that human noses can tolerate it. Cats can definitely tell the difference between these quality herbs and that stale catnip from the big box store visits space. Kitty, express dot com and watch videos from satisfied feline customers use coupon code community. Cats all one word at checkout to receive ten percents off your purchase. That space. Kitty expressed dot com with coupon code community. Cats doesn't your cat deserve the best spoil them today at space kitty, express dot com. Pro vet logic based in Scots, bro, Alabama provides educational support and product solutions to professional pet care providers and pet parents throughout the country as a licensed veterinary medical continuing education provider, pro vet logic provides a variety of educational tools designed to help care providers. Create a cleaner and safer environment for both the cats in their care and the care providers to learn more about pro vet logic. Please visit WWW dot pro vet logic dot com or call eight hundred eight six nine four seven eight nine. If you could with what you know in Asheville and greater North Carolina. You know, if you did have like a magic wand as to what you could do to help cats in your community and help families in the community. What would you do spay neuter spay neuter would be my number one priority? If I could do nothing else, and I had to focus on a singular activity. It would be spaying neutering because that's how we get. I've seen the charts. And I have some family history with a with a cat colony. That's a very long story, but it can get out of hand really quickly when we recently released the span Neuner program, there were some people who were there that, unfortunately, we couldn't have one person show up who had seven cats and our program was so small, but I wanted to help these people I said, okay, I'm gonna do the research while they were sitting there with me. I would look up the programs. For their specific area. Go I'm gonna take care of two of these guys. I'm gonna give you two the incentives, but you've got or more and we're coming up on spring and cats can get pregnant as early as four months old gotta get these guys fixed. And I would tell them all about the other programs and at what they headed to do where they had to go who they had to call. So that would be my big thing spay neuter, what is your greatest challenge right now funding. No, really it's figuring all out. I talked to a lot of people in the rescue industry here. And I've kind of found there's like two categories, I guess the people in the rescue business people who have you know, work their way up and they've been doing it a really long time, you know, maybe somebody just fell into it. And then there's the people who went to college. There's people who went to college. And now, they work for rescues nonprofits, and so on and I don't have that background. So I'm following the guide of my gut instinct in what the community tells me they need well in the feedback. You get at Facebook group must be absolutely. I mean, that's the family that your your primary service area so to speak, and then just grow from there. Yeah. Yeah. Watched in his family really is a family of people just grow and honestly care about one another and interact. I mean, we see two hundred posts per day within the group, and that's our average. They can spike as. As well. I think the most we've ever had was like three hundred and a single day since sane. Yeah. That's a lot of posts. Definitely. It's a lot. A lot of posted very active in very busy and d you have moderation issues on that Facebook page. No, I don't actually I've really good team. That was something. I forgot to mention in addition to giving my wonderful spouses shout out. I forgot to mention this amazing team that I developed I've got a full five-person board, and they do also double sometimes as like admins within the Facebook group. We have a team of three people who handle all of our intakes for the emergency fund. We have the pantry team. And a a one of the things about our pantries that we also do emergency assistance. So like if your house burned down at midnight, and you got a cat and Salvation Army just put you up at a hotel. But you've got nothing no money in our credit cards and cash went up in the fire. Somebody all somebody has do is Email us, and we have sued his earliest note that night or the next morning got. A lot of night owls on the staff. So the panther team has several people and in the moderators were looking for a couple of new moderators always. But I think there's probably about ten moderators on the page just kinda watching content making sure everybody kind of keeps on the same page really having a positive community occasionally people do get upset about things. So we have some role set in place in everybody usually released pretty well together. But the moderator team is just amazing Cronica. If people are interested in finding out more about your organization, how can they find you? The see we've got ashville cat weirdos dot org. We're still building the website were trying to tap in more stuff. You know, give people more content on the website, if they don't live locally can't join the space, but group because of course, that's our main. That's the home, but it is restricted to western North Carolina. And then we have to Facebook pages. One of them is the AC w cat pantry. And the second one is the actual count. Weirdos emergency fund. And we update post, and we have vents in share pictures and success stories. So there's always a lot of content on there. And we also have an Instagram pages. Well, so you are on a different platform. So you do have Instagram. Yeah. We we've been thinking about getting a Twitter. I don't know I'm considering, but we definitely have it Instagram in Instagram provides a lot of content. Of course, we share lots of cat me in funny, stuff and cute stuff. But we all show share. We've allowed to members who foster I'm a foster Cam onto. So the Instagram team of people will also sometimes share photos of cats that are up for adoption. Well, so you can even find your next best friend on there. Is there anything else you'd like to share with our listeners today be the change? She wished to see in the world. Not everybody is cats. You know, some people are dogs or birds or other human beings. But don't wait for someone else to do it. That's really excellent very empowering hopefully over time, you know, the more of us the merrier that's for sure. Thank you again. Thank you for doing everything that you do in for the cats down in Asheville and. Really appreciate you agreeing to be a guest on my show. And I hope we'll have you on in the future. Thanks for having me on a look forward to another update next. Do something fun to thank you for listening to community cats podcasts. I really appreciate it. If you would go to tunes leave review the show. It will help spread the word to help more community cats.
Ep73 - Taryn Breuer
"In getting. You turned into the community cats podcast ready. Let's cal. Welcome to the Kennedy podcast. I'm your host Stacey there. I've been involved helping homeless cats over twenty years Merrimack river feline messy society the goal of this podcast is just those us to mazing people were proving the lives of cats. I hope he's interviews will help us or do you concern? Your passion for cats into action today when you're seeing Terrence brewer Terron is retired as you cater having taught preschool during the last twelve years of her career is always loved kids and all animals, and our family has had a wide variety of pets and livestock. He loves the outdoors and reading in her spare time in addition to being the T R N, chairman of the friends of the genetic hunt animals shelter. She is also the president. Organization began managing a local shelter. Just over a year ago. She volunteers there three days a week. Life is busy and full. It's rewarding to be retired and have the time to get back to the community tariff. Thank you, welcome to the show. Thank you. Stacey. It's so nice to be with you. So Terry we've known each other for years at this point in time. But if you can let listeners know how does she get started in helping communities cats, well, honestly until about four years ago. I didn't know what a community count was. But one evening, a friend of mine was eating at a local food establishment. And she noticed a hungry kitten crying outside the door. She said it and that began the thought process that maybe there were more cats out there who needed help, and she came over and approached me and said, she would certainly like a co-chair to begin. Tea and our program in our community. And did I know an organization that could help us as it happened. I was already involved with an organization who had been hoping for many years to get a program going. So we met each other and our program began a older lady from a community not too far from us was already trapping and getting community cat spayed neutered. And she was kind enough to begin the first steps of mentoring us and loaning us her traps until we could purchase some of our own equipment. And that was back in February of two thousand twelve and where are you located parents, we are located in Blair, Nebraska. So it's a very rural community where you are is a very rural very farm based community. Thirty our county that we serve covers about four hundred square miles. And there is just a lot of need for cats for rodent control of many of our farmers raise grain or livestock, which they feed grain. And you know, what that brings my end rats, and those rats and mice have to be controlled by the lovely cats. Then when you first started you partnered with an organization, or who did you work with to help actually start with your first trip native return program. Actually, we just kind of borrowed equipment. And honestly, I was already hooked into an organization that could begin the funding of it. So we went out and kind of learned by trial and error. And ironically, some of the equipment that we were lent wasn't really well taken care of. And so we not only learned some basics of trapping. But we learned how important the care of your equipment is and we'd met through the MR mentor program. So I assume that that was after that initial startup time. How long has been doing feral cat trap neuter return before you entered into the Merrimack river feline rescue societies mentoring program, we were actually mentored in two thousand fourteen but we did not have that many cats under our belt, so to speak because as you know, this has a learning curve to it and our first year we thought we were doing a fantastic job when we manage to nab a hundred and forty one cats to get them altered the second year, we did about one hundred and seventy three and we were giving yourself a Pat on the back, and now we kind of grin and look back on those days and. And wonder where those slow days went because now we are working nearly daily. on the town population issue. So it was in two thousand and fourteen that we were blessed to get a grant to you guys. And we on the show. We haven't talked much about the mentor experience with you'd be willing to share with us. What that was like. Absolutely. The really neat component of that mentoring. Grant experience was realizing that there was a whole network really basically nationwide working on the same issues and facing the same challenges as you were it really made you feel like gosh, we're not alone out here. There's other people helping as well, maybe we really can get this population under control. It was also really interesting to note how the processes that. Each group followed were just a little bit. Different. But the overall goals were the same. We would have these groups conference calls a month or two times a month if needed where five or six or seven groups would be on the same call together. So that everybody would be able to share their experiences and able to see how things were working for them in their mentoring process and the group effort, I think was very beneficial. It sounds like it was as a group out in Nebraska that really didn't have a group next door that work with or or partner with yes, unfortunately, the mid west has been a little bit slower to embrace T and R and the cat population control measures necessary, but we're working on it. One thing. I remember distinctly from that project, and I tend to refer that mentoring crisis sort of the fans placements class for transmitter in return because I would ask group to do so much in trapping over pretty short period of time in there, but we would call a target area. But being in the bresca you've had quite a bit of challenges because it was a pretty cold and snowing winter, and you're trapping in the wintertime. You have any tips for success for teaching you're trapping going through the winter months. Actually, the weather is pretty challenging in the winter in Nebraska. But one thing that we have learned is if we can microwave are bait until it is really hot, and then wrap it up in a towel to keep it warm while we quickly get to our tapping site that helps a lot because frozen bait does not attract cats. The other thing is to make sure. Sure that you have proper attire for yourself. So that you are warm enough because sometimes you were standing right out in the elements, and it can be brutal. I will be honest and say that the trapping does low down a bit in the winter just because of the weather if it is too cold either on the day that we're supposed to trap or the day that we're supposed to release then we need to back off and not trap that week. We don't wanna release cats when it is to bitterly cold for them. And I also think that there were a couple of instances where you will just go in crew barn tests and were trapping those pets in the wintertime from within the bar. Yes. That is true. And that is one aspect that we do keep going. Some of our farmers are really good and caring about their cats. And actually provide either hay or straw, or some even provide heated houses for their cats knuckled down with in the winter and those cats we feel comfortable getting altered in the cold weather. Another one of your challenges was accessibility or of say neuter in a correct me if I'm wrong on my memories are, but I believe you used to have to drive your pets quite a way to get to say neuter clinic is that still the case, actually, no, we are truly blessed? We actually have stay neuter clinic about twenty miles from Blair. And so our trip is pretty easy compared to some of the other groups that I knew traveled over an hour one way to get their cats brought in so we're feel really blessed? And we also have our local vets who are very supportive of our program. So. So I think we're sitting pretty good. Let's break I know that can be from Brock for many organizations just not being able to have access to affordable thing or at a at a local level in the other thing. My I'm going back through my my memory of thousand fourteen which I can't leave a couple years ago was I believe we introduce choose to using transfer cases is that correct view did. And they have become such a valued piece of equipment that I really don't know how we went for the first two years without them, we transfer nearly everyone to transfer cages, in fact, even when we bring our shelter kittens to one of our local vets they ask that those cats be placed in transportation's because she said that the cats can suffocate themselves in a pet taxi in the corner. Her where in our transfer cages, it's not possible. So she feels much more secure about pudding a sleeping tap in a transfer cage at allowed you to be able to transfer more cats to the critics in a smaller vehicle that is correct. So for those that don't know what a transfer cage is it is about you say about half the size of us rapper concert of the size of trap that ably to. Yeah. And then once you traffic that how do you get the cat from the trap into the transfer cage. With the nice thing is the doors match up perfectly. So then if you just open that to sliding door mechanisms and place a towel over the transfer cage. So it looks dark, but cat that's been in the trap thinks it's going to escape and goes into your transfer cage. Now, I will say if they're a little bit. Stubborn or hesitant. We do have a pair of. I'm not sure what you even call them. But we call it a big fork that we can put behind the cat and just kind of nudge it forward. And once you get them started. They transfer right in it's fabulous. And now, let's take a moment. Listen to a few words from our sponsors ready to make a big difference for cats in your community. We've got an exciting opportunity that can jump. Start your efforts. The community cats podcast has launched community cats grants when you qualify for this innovative program, you'll gain valuable knowledge about how to raise funds for your spay neuter efforts plus will match the funds you raise up two thousand dollars. Doubling your -bility to make a difference for cats fundraising doesn't have to be scary. We'll be with you every step of the way check it out. You can find all of the details on the community cats podcast website under our education menu. Let's join forces to make the world better place for community cats. So you said in the first couple of years, you were averaging about a hundred and forty to one hundred seventy cats a year. And and how are you doing now in terms of the number of cats you're saying neutering new year? Well, Justice week we hit cats four hundred for this calendar year and our overall number for those four years is sixteen hundred cats, so wonderful. Yeah, we just have a small team. So I feel pretty good about that. It's really just my husband, and I that have continued with this program. Oh, wow. Wow. So you've really organization has stayed very small. Yes, are supporting organization has remained active. It's just our TR team for one reason or another people are still interested. They still received the notices, but they are not actively trapping at this point. Hopefully that will change. Change as their life circumstances change having fest, everything in the community in terms of they number of kittens going into the local seltzer have seen it impact in that. And that's the we are starting to see that impact. It's really exciting last summer. My husband, and I actually fostered eighty five t and our kitten. Oh my God. It wasn't exhausting but rewarding summer and all of those kittens, plus the cats that were in the shelter when we took over the management of it. We're all funneled through and adopted. Now this summer our highest number of Foster's has been at fifteen and that is just now that I have hit that number. So we've seen a fabulous impact. I just feel like we're really starting to see the fruits of our sweat and labor, and they important part is also to be able to keep up and on top of it too. You know, always make sure that your thing topper, you know, any news new tests or new colonies that that become a pair and accounting, but it sounds like you and your husband, and and those that are helping out at the shelter really making a great a great difference in impact for protests. Well, we sure do hope. So and yes, you're right. You have to go and follow. Oh up because I just learned this week that another cat had wandered into an area that we had quote completed. And so now we'll have to circle back and pick up that mama cat and her eight offspring. And I just wanted to ask you a question that we tend to ask a lot of our guests on the show. If you saw a strange pet on the street, what would you do? And I know it's more of a rural area. So maybe it's a group of test near a farm. What would you do? Actually, we try to see if we can figure out who lives there, and we try to encourage them to reach out for our services were not really allowed to solicit. They have to make the first phone call. But I have been known to leave a business Carter to in the door never in the mailbox because that's not legal. Gotcha. And what has been one of their more challenging? Situations that you've had to deal with over the last four years. He we actually have had a couple colonies of over fifty cats to try to work our way through and one of the gentleman did not want anyone coming onto his land. So it was very labor intensive because we needed to give him the trap and the transfer to Jews in town. He would drive them out to his house. He would trap everybody. He would need us back into town. We would get everybody transferred to our vehicle bring them to our house. And this process was repeated over weeks and weeks and weeks of time. So his colony was very unhealthy to and can imagine it being that large. Yeah. It's challenging working with people sometimes sometimes almost harder than working with the cats. Exactly. And one other question. I have you were lucky enough to get the mentoring grant, how have you been able to fundraise for this program since two thousand fourteen we've been blessed enough to kit a couple of other grants from other groups of well, plus our organization holds an annual Fe, Getty dinner, and those funds are used strictly for spaying and neutering and thankfully between those efforts and the generous donations that come in through our community. We've been able to keep our program going strong. That's fantastic to feel that your program would be where it is today if you hadn't participated in some sort of a mentoring program. No that really helped get us going it not only really motivated us. And opened her eyes to some new and different ways to do things. But honestly equipment that we were able to purchase in a hurry helped immensely, you know, if you're working with only a half a dozen traps, and you've got a colony of fifteen or twenty cats, it can take much longer to work through that colony than if you have traps and transfer teaches and other, you know, equipment to work with so parrot, if they're folks that are interested in finding out more about your organization or reaching out to you. You are I yes, that's been on the show from Nebraska, maybe there are other folks out in the bresca or out in that general area of the country that was like to reach out and find out more about the work that you do how could they find you? They can go to our website WWW, Blair animal, shelter dot org. And there will be a button on. On our home page that will give you all the information you need and cluding contact information and Paradis anything else to share with our listeners for this. Just Stacey I what to think your group for really getting us going, and I really want to stress to people, please spay and neuter your cats and your dogs, not only for population control. But for the health of your animal Farren, that's a great way to end the show. I want to thank you so much for green tea against on my show. And I hope you'll be on in the future. Think Stacy I'd love to I really appreciate the opportunity. Thank you for listening to community cats podcast. Really appreciate it. If you would go to items leave a review of the show. It will help spread the word to help more community cats.
Ep 52 - Ask Stacy! Questions and Answers for Inquiring Cats
"The. You turned into the community cats podcast ready. Let's cal. Hello. And welcome to the community cats podcast. I'm your guest host Lisa Finkel. And that means that it's time for another episode of asks Stacey, we really wanna thank those of you who posted questions for Stacey. On our community cats podcast Facebook page, and we're actually going to be using those as the basis for today's show along with several other topics. So keep those questions coming folks, we really want to be good resource and giving the information that you were looking for in the meantime, Stacy thanks again for being a guest on your own show. Lisa thanks again for joining me. Happy to do it. I know that on the website. You have a little video that talks about how you got started and rescue. But I wonder if those people who haven't had a chance to watch that yet tell us about how you got started. Sometimes you say it's always starts with one CAD is that I would start it for you. Well, I've always had cats in my life. I grew up with a cat. At a very grumpy always thought to be old cat because she was like seven years old when I was born. So I learned how to deal with. I guess you would say the aggressive grumpy cat from very early age. So I've never been thought of as really a crazy cat loving person. But I've always had a cat in my life. So I guess I have to qualify it. We've always been a single cat household Intel I entered into the realm of rescue, which obviously than the numbers tend to have an exponential changing at that point in time. I got started with the Merrimack river feline rescue society, which has been the first and only group that I've really worked with back in nineteen ninety four it really started with just a knowledge of their first adoption center that they had I had been at the local veterinarians picking up some food for my current cat that I had adopted in college in New York, and I also had found a small kitten in newburyport just walking home from getting ice cream. So I did have a local newburyport cat in my life. Little did. I know that. That she was one of several hundred that we're living in newburyport at that time. And I found a brochure for the group. And I said, well, I could give them a donation. I could give them some food. And so I started out by just giving donation and food then I got on their mailing list. And they sent out a mailing saying we're looking for a secretary. And I said, well, my college graduate, I can type I can take minutes. And so I put my name in the hat. I sent my resume in with a cover letter. I was working in real estate at that time. So the board was interested in talking with me, and they met with me, and I became the secretary at that point in time. I also had gone up into our adoption center and nine hundred ninety four which was brand new, and they were just still trying to finish building it out with cages and stuff. There were two wonderful wonderful people up there with about eighty cats in a very small space. And they looked overworked overwhelmed and exhausted. And I thought well, I got to do something to try and help these poor women and these cats, and I. Knew it wasn't going in there and scooping letterboxes. I knew that I had a lot of administrative skills. I had done fundraising in junior high and high school. I was my class treasurer from seventh grade to my senior year in high school. So I just came back from my high school reunion of thirty years, and everyone I talked to when I came that. They just said, hey treasurer how you doing? So I think I had a bit of a reputation at that point in time of liking to count the money and liking to fundraise also. So I guess it was in my blood that I offer those skills to the Meramec river feline rescue society at that time. So by nine hundred ninety five I had become vice president of the board of directors. And then in ninety six I became the president and primarily being on the board. You are making a significant commitment to being responsible for fundraising for that organization. So, you know, if you wanna be volunteer and help out with the operations that can be a role on a board of directors. But oftentimes the board is much more focused on that fundraising component from ninety six on onto. Two thousand twelve or so I was focusing on always just raising funds and building the Amara frus program by certainly war enough of the director of operations hat than my daughter when she was little she and I used to go to the shelter. Every Sunday, we would clean the cages in the morning. We do adoptions on Sunday afternoons. So you name it pretty much done everything other than the surgeries. I really don't like drawing blood and doing vaccines. I get definitely squeamish around the needles. That's amazing the way one act can just suck you win. And suddenly make you realize you've infound important place for yourself. Yeah. I'm sure it was probably a random thought some at. Hey, let's just put in this letter that we're looking for a secretary for the board. But the fact was they asked, you know, that's the important part is they reached out to everyone that they knew to ask to fill this position. And a lot of people when they think about board recruitment. They think of it is being a very small focused effort and what they did was. They just threw it out there through it against the wall. To see where it hit, and it was really very very successful. So I always feel like when you're looking to recruit you recruit everywhere all the time. It's a great piece of advice. You really never know where your next great director or volunteer is coming from. Yeah. If they hadn't asked what I never have been involved with them. I don't know. Stacey someone asked on Facebook too, heavy tell us about your most difficult trapping challenge. And how you handled it. Yeah. So this is a good story at happened in the late nineties. It was a feral cat colony that was in Salisbury. It was one that we hadn't done anything with. But yet the state had determined that. There was an injured raccoon that had died in tested positive for rabies. So there was a colony of about thirty cats that had all been living in the same shed with this raccoon in Massachusetts. We have very strict rabies quarantine law, which is that if there are cats without a current rabies vaccine or proof of current rabies vaccine, they must be quarantined for six months if they. Have a wound or known exposure, this was known exposure. So that meant that these thirty cats needed to be quarantined for six months now, the state could have required that we trap those cats in euthanize them, but through some negotiations, and I will thank the state for allowing us to do six-month quarantine with these cats. That's what they allowed us to do. So when we trapped these cats there are obviously a lot of kittens as well as adults about half of them tested positive for feline leukemia, and then the other Taff tested negative. So not only did we have to find a location to Corentin these cats for six months, but we had to find two locations because half of them were positive for feline, leukemia and the other half were negative. So we took our sick room in our shelter. And we quarantined the negative cats there, and then actually one of our founders had a renovated basement with multiple cages in the basement, and she took the other. Fifteen and Corentin them there. So she obviously used to be a great foster home for us in that tied her up as a foster home for six months, and then our shelter was very limited because what was a rabies quarantine room, which was a much smaller room became our sick room. And then the larger sick room became a rabies quarantine room. And we had those cats for six months, the upshot of the story is that we had those cats for six months, and they all socialized greatly. And they were all available for adoption, and we had six months to find homes for these cats. And so we were able to place all of those cats relatively quickly from their release date. But it was a huge challenge and stress on the organization, and obviously the trapping didn't happen in twenty four hours. We had to have a lot of trappers. They're very active. Luckily, the caretaker there was very supportive, and she was a participant in all the trapping to we got that colony fully removed. She did over the years have more cats move in. We either brought them in and had them put up for adoption. Or we TR them later on. But this was obviously post spoke to anything, but it was hugely challenging to an organization that was already busting at the seams, always overwhelmed with cats at that point in time. We were adopting out well over a thousand cats and kittens year, but yet we had the stagnant population that wasn't turning over so as a huge strain. But then seeing those cats get adopted at the end of their six month period was incredibly incredibly successful. And the fact that we were able to work on a project with the department of agriculture and such a successful way. I think was also a really nice effort to be able to convince multiple groups ah folks that TR and spay neuter getting those rabies vaccines into cats as the way to go great shore with unexpected ending would've thought that those cats would not have socialized. Well, but it's really wonderful that you were able to have them six months and have them turned into adoptable cats having so many of them were kittens. And I think than the adults were sort of first generation, Adele. Notes there might have been six or eight dull. And then a lot of the rest of them were kittens. So I think that obviously helped end the caretaker of this colony gosh, she loved those cats. So she did a lot of pre socializing with them. She was very bonded with them. But these cats were able to bond with others. What's turned from cat to people? Perhaps you can tell us a story about your most difficult people. Joe enjoy there in terms of working with a municipality or group and having to build some kind of consensus for a program or initiative. Sure. Yeah. So I would say was the first real effort that I did outside of my own backyard. So you know, I felt pretty confident in Salisbury in newburyport and amesbury networking and really wearing the tan our hat in that community because I had to say was we'll look at the waterfront the waterfront is done. So we can do TR in these surrounding towns, but I got involved in a situation in Franklin Massachusetts, which is called the Highwood condos, and it was really my first outreach attempts. This condo complex had about eighty feral kittens and cats there had been sort of ramshackle feeding stations setup there. But there were a lot of complaints from the condo station about the cats. And then there was a lot of anxiety with the group taking care of the cats. They were small they couldn't afford to get all the cat spayed or neutered. So they were still reproducing and that was causing even more stress because they were kittens up on people's decks. And so it wasn't really a fully managed colony. But the association didn't understand what life was like for a feral cat colony when it is properly managed versus one that wasn't fully sterilized. So I went in along with Laura Heffernan who now heads up the loyalty in our group, and we went and did a presentation with the property manager as well as to the trustees board about doing a really specific project. They're in ensuring that the kittens will be trapped they'll be placed that the adults are all going to get spayed or neutered. So what started out as a group of about eighty cats and kittens is now down to I believe about three, and they're fed by several of the residents there one of the most aggressive residents that was verbally advocating for the removal of the cats has become our strongest advocate in that whole process. We had a system in place. So if any new cats showed up that would be addressed she just really was great in the later stages. Somebody who you think is your enemy becomes your friend and really helped continue that project to be very very successful. And it was at project that allied allies had reported on and they were ready to storm in and do all this advocacy stuff. But yet we went in. And we said, hey, let's just say this is what we're gonna do. This is the project we're going to change this. If it's presented in a organized and professional way, it's an easy sell. Wtmj. Ling pony hadn't been managed quite right. People were rightly concerned that was going to come in from someplace else and take care of that. But the proof is in the pudding. Yeah. So for me, it was fun. And that's what really convinced me that. It was okay to kind of bounce outside of my local area and do some advisory stuff to be able to help other communities. And now, let's take a moment to listen to a few words from our sponsors ready to make a big difference for cats in your community. We've got an exciting opportunity that can jump start your efforts. The community cats podcast has launched community cats grants when you qualify for this innovative program, you'll gain valuable knowledge about how to raise funds for your Spain neuter efforts plus will match the funds you raise up two thousand dollars. Doubling your -bility to make a difference for cats fundraising doesn't have to be scary. We'll be with you every step of the way check it out. You can find all of the details on the community cats podcast website under our education menu. Let's join forces to make the world a better place for community cats. Let's switch gears a little bit. Stacey one of our friends on Facebook asked. What are your favorite? Sources of information on TNN are in Spain neuter, including two reels in other languages that can be shared with the community. So the standard resources are alley cat. Allies alley cat dot org neighborhood, cats in statehood, cats out org. Those are two that we always refer people to with regards to information for TR, and then the ASPCA HSS US. Also have great information and best friends animal society. Also has excellent information one thing that might not notice is there's a section ASPCA pro dot org. So it's a Certa separate website for people in the sheltering world, but the other interesting website that I found is called the multi lingual pet care library, and that's Scott a whole listing of all the. The Spanish and other language translations from a wide range of different websites that could be from us smaller group that just happens to need translation from a local area. So it includes some of the larger players like h s US and best friends. But yet, then there's also some smaller organizations. They're a couple of things from Texas in there. It's not the prettiest website, but it's a great listing of different information. So I highly recommend that folks checkout the multi-lingual pet care library, you just Google and it'll come right up. We'll make sure we put all of the sites that you mentioned in the show notes for this broadcast. But who would have ever thought that there was such a civic place to find the multilingual stuff? That's fantastic. Moving onto traps was a story. Someone shared 'bout using traps that ultimately thought they were safe enough for the cats. They get their head stuck there. You have a lot of experience with trappers and people who trap. What types of traps? Do you think of the safest and most effective? So I'm gonna just be short and sweet on this one the true catch traps. Those the ones that have the quiet door that comes down that the Brown traps. I recommend that everybody us. I'm not a fan of traps that slammed down that can potentially get somebody's paw or tail or that kind of thing. I like the true catch traps and the transfer cages, and I also would encourage any trapper out there to invest in a drop trap. Because I think that that can make your trapping a lot more time efficient because you're able to be pretty selective about who you're trapping, and you can also trap multiple cats at one time. You recently did a post on the blog that may had podcast blog about the pros and cons of fee. Waived adoption. There's very strong opinion. Pro and con we talk a little bit about that. And thoughts about making the right choice for your own shelter or rescue. Yeah. Sure. I mean, I think it's an interesting conversation that I think every organization has to certainly have conversation before the implemented. They have to communicate a lot of information with their staff as well as their volunteers who are in their lovingly, caring for the cats in the shelter fee. Waived adoptions are a necessary activity that needs to be done to help encourage the community support your local shelter at times when they're going to be over capacity. I definitely think that we are world of supply and demand issues, and we also have the shelters that hold sixty cats. No more no less or they have the structure for that. They can hold last, but that just have empty cages, but having more than sixty begins to compromise the whole population. So we need to do everything in our power to make sure that we can keep that population. As stable as possible in fee, waived adoptions, definitely one way of doing that in terms of the cons. Lisa. What are the cons that you would hear frequently? I hear it devalues the life of a cat free cats, although plenty of people get offered free cats, you know, in their neighborhoods that people will come who don't have the commitment to the animals simply because it's free that because they obviously want a free cat. They won't spend the appropriate money to take care of their cat, especially getting it the veterinary services that it deserves. I think those are the things that keep number of organizations feeling very nervous about what kind of adopters. Will we get are? We sending cats home to families where they'll be less care for. Yeah. And one thing I want to stress is that the fact is it's still an adoption, and the thing that as organizations we need to look at as these adoptions are relationship, creators. So we're not adopting out the cat today in. It's done on the door closes. We're now creating this relationship with this family or with this individual. So I even think about with the Merrimack river feline rescue society, we adopt out our fee, Luke positive cats for free their fee waived. But yet we develop a relationship with these people. And so there's this back and forth that needs to continually happen with our family. I used to call it the Mara family. Once you adopt from us, you're part of that family. And if there's ever any issue any concerns, obviously, we take the cat back organizations need to create that mentality and the fee waived part of it is such a small part of that whole adoption relationship that it really I think discounts lot of those cons that might be out there. I do think it's very helpful. If there is grant money behind a fee waived event, so say your normal adoption fees, one hundred dollars grant covers that adoption fee. I think that does become more motivating because revenues adoption programs is pretty significant to focus that people have. So. I just think people are coming into these events because they're there to help your shelter. They're also there to adopt a companion, but there's multiple levels of attachment there too. You know, the few waived adoptions that we do at the MS PCA Massachusetts society for protection of cruelty to animals, we actually ask for a donation even when people come for a fee wave event it gives them a little skin in the game. And we always get them. Something about fee wave just almost gives people the impetus to come in and make that adoption that day. It's a call to action. And I think it's nice to have those kinds of calls to action gets momentum gets energy. I think they're really a great event. And I think that there's spillover omega afterwards. Even when the adoption fees are put back up as long as the shelter has some cats to supply, which a lot of shelters often are empty. But even after the fact when they do start sort of read filling there's more momentum carried over do recently. Made a announcement about a pretty exciting new program called community cat grants that will be funded with the profits of the podcast. So if you could just tell our listeners a little bit about how these grants are going to work. Yeah. So the community can't grants have been launched. So you can find them on our website at WWW dot community cats podcast dot com slash community. Dash cats dash grants slash or you can just look under the education bar and you'll find the header there. You can just click on it. So the way that this works is. We prioritize grassroots organizations I but then other five three nonprofits can be eligible. But if there's a grassroots tea in our organization out there community cats organization out there with revenues under sixty thousand dollars a year. What we do is. We encourage them to start a new type of fundraising initiative. There would be advice and mentoring given by me to help you raise up two thousand dollars. You can certainly raise over. That. And then there would be grant funding that would match that thousand dollars. So that then you're spe neuter money would be leveraged to over two thousand dollars. So it's a way for a small group to start thinking about fundraising. Learn how to do it and then get matching funds to be able to leverage it even higher. One goal was to make the application as simple as possible. So that it's not gonna take you a week at a half to do the application and also applicants are told. Whether they're application is approved or not within thirty days to we want to be timely with the applicants to it's easy peasy. I recommend that you check it out. And I hope we'll have lots of groups coming in and taking advantage of this opportunity. We do have limited funds. But I think we have enough to cover this year. That's terrific. The power of those matching funds for some of these mall organizations is going to make a huge difference in their communities. I certainly hope so fundraising a very powerful tool. I mean money does make the. Go round. So the more we have the war. We're going to be able to do see. This is great. Thank you so much for being on today. Again, we'd love to have more questions for Stacey. For our next interview with them on our Facebook page and Stacey thanks again. I'm sure you're gonna probably go back to recording even more podcasts. Lisa. Thanks again. It's always a pleasure to chat with you. Thanks for listening to the community cats podcast if you could go to IT fans and review the show. We'd really appreciate it. When you do take a screen shot of your review, go to Midi cats, podcast dot com or slash review and enter your information, and we'll send you a shirt while you're there, don't forget to check out all the ways, you can support the content you're passionate about thanks everyone.
Report Warns Of Increased Tidal Flooding, Beach Erosion On North Shore
"Crane beach has lost eighty four football fields worth of sand to erosion. Since the one thousand nine hundred fifties s this according to a new report from conservation group the trustees of reservations which sounds the alarm on how climate change is affecting. Massachusetts is north shore from increased title. Flooding. Beach Erosion WB our environmental editor Barbara Moran has been digging into reports finding joins us now to tell us about it. Hello Barbara. Hayden. Great to talk to you what are the key findings of this report Barbara So the report is interesting. It looked at thirteen communities on the north shore and really taking a deep dive into climate change risks in those communities seal of arise during flooding and even beach erosion like you mentioned one example that is crane beach, and as you said, it's like one hundred twelve acres have eroded from Crane beach since the nineteen fifties which seems kind. Of. Incredible and this morning I spoke to Tom O'Shea with the trustees. He's the director of Costa Natural Resources and he said those kinds of stats make you wonder like how much longer there's going to be a beach there right But even in the short term, they're already having issues with even the road getting into the beach, right? So here's a Thomas talking about that. Level rise is starting to flood the road the one way into Crane beach a few times every month now, and it's looking like it could become almost daily after twenty thirty. So that means three hundred, fifty thousand people who wanna get to crane beach, and they're not going to drive through flooded roadway two times a day. So, that is alarming what we know about the impacts on surrounding communities economically physically otherwise. Yeah it's a great question. So the reports said that about six hundred buildings on the north shore are at risk of flooding every day by Twenty thirty and by twenty seventy, that number jumps more than three thousand buildings at risk of flooding every single day. So you can imagine all the the real estate on the on the. Coast up on the north shore that just puts billions of dollars real estate at risk I'm also it's not just the money. There's a lot of really critical infrastructure and really sort of well known tourist hotspots and here's Thomas. Talking about that again. Stood, out to me because there were some real areas in the future along their built waterfront even the Salem state campus where there's likely to be some storm flooding. Very. Waterfront everybody loves to go down to the newberry waterfront beautiful area right with restaurants and shops downtown, and they're seeing you know real risks from storm surge from going up through the Merrimack River. Barbara I WANNA ask this as a conservation group with significant set of landholdings in the area, an advocacy agenda. So just checking is this a worst case scenario picture that they're painting or are these numbers fairly middle of the road so to speak. That is a great question to an always a good pressure to ask and. They do explain that in the report and they worked with consultants called the woods hole group and what they did was they use what they call the business as usual estimates for sea level rise meaning these are the estimates that we would expect to see if greenhouse gas emissions continue along as they are now. So they could end up lower potentially, but you know I talked to climate scientists a lot and pretty much they're saying that's a reasonable way to go, and so the the estimates are as fairly reasonable. So, while we have you, I also want to ask you Barbara About Boston city councillor, Michelle, wounds, city level, green new deal kind of what's in it, and how does it compare to national efforts like? Senator had marking Congresswoman Alexandria College her tenses. How does it compare also build upon Mayor Walsh's existing climate goals for Boston. Yet so Michelle, who proposes really interesting sort of localized version of the green new deal, and in some ways it it dovetails the national and state and mayor. Walsh's efforts of looking at things like Renewable Energy and how we're GONNA decarbonised the city how we're GONNA do a storm water and transportation how will use urban tree sedillo of hot. So everybody's kind of on the same page and talking about the same things. Some of the details are different like how fast we do things we whilst proposes free transit through Public Transit, which is you know more contentious among some people but overall I feel like it's the. Ambitious goals that a lot of people are talking about and what else? I. Liked about whose proposal is at she fold in issues of green jobs and environmental justice and structural racism and all these things that really need to be addressed along with the the climate change issues. So on the pandemic Barbara, some climate activists and environmentalists have been noting. Kind of how our response to the corona virus has lessons for how we respond to climate change. How have you been thinking about that? Right. So all the all the climate change folks are sort of scratching their heads and thinking about how do we you know we can get people to take strong action in their lives decided to have bending the curve. Benni McCarthy get the number of cases down right is their way to make people think about bending the curve on Climate Change said, if you act early, you can avert the worst causes. So I I feel like our reaction to the pandemic in a way has given. Climate people think about climate change given them. The hope that sort of real change is possible. Real change is possible to happen really quickly. But they're kind of hoping that we can make climate change decisions. Not. Panic mode right we can do things now. Instead of waiting till, there's you know a disaster staring us right in the face. Well, that's Barbara Moran Editor. Of Wvu, ours environmental team we're going to continue to watch this with you Barbara. Thanks for joining us today. Thanks so much for having me 'cause Yada.