Look What the Cat Brought In has completed its initial evaluations of the health of 16 cats and kittens abandoned outside the shelter during a cold spell late last year.
Between Christmas and New Year’s, 9 kittens and 7 adult cats were left outside the shelter in freezing temperatures. One batch was dumped off in a shopping cart with a note but no contact information.
The good news is that all of the cats have tested negative for FIV/FeLV, and a kitten with an injured eye will be able to keep her eye. However, at least 3 cats need extensive dental work.
Director Jennifer Nosler has been coordinating care of the cats, but the shelter was filled to capacity at the time of the abandonments, and a mad scramble ensued to assess the kittens’ and cats’ health and get them vaccinated and cared for.
The influx disrupted the shelter’s normal operations.
“I was able to transfer out six of our previously tested and vaccinated healthy kittens to another shelter, but our ability to help any other new cats is completely stalled out right now,” Jennifer said at the time.
The financial impact was also significant.
“Just to vaccinate each cat is $4-$7 and to test is $24 to $25, so we have spent over $500 this week just to prepare them to be healthy in the shelter. To spay and neuter these animals will be between $1,000 and $1,500. We may or may not incur additional expenses for dental treatment. Some of them will be barn cats and we will not be able to charge adoption fees for them.”
As of early February, the shelter had yet to spay or neuter 4 adult cats and 8 kittens. One of the feral females that was spayed was slowly being domesticated.
The large batches of cats raised concerns for Jennifer that at least some may have come from a hoarder.
“We don’t know if these cats come from a hoarding situation being cleaned up, or if they are truly abandoned,” she noted.
Jennifer is spearheading a Southern Colorado Animal Coalition effort to bring awareness to hoarding and how it hurts pet owners, pets, and communities as a whole.
Ultimately, she would like to get the word out that abandoning animals outside businesses is a criminal offense, no matter what the weather conditions. But dropping them off during such brutal temperatures is cruel, and small animals are in no way equipped to handle the cold.