Alley Cat Allies’ COVID-19 emergency grants to Big Sky Ranch/CATNIP Foundation in Louisiana are creating happy endings for kittens and cats.
Alley Cat Allies has been hard at work pinpointing and supporting the communities that need the most help to protect cats and kittens through the COVID-19 crisis.
From the start, we knew there would be a great and immediate need for emergency animal resources for Louisiana cats—especially veterinary care. Alley Cat Allies has long been aware of how many Louisiana communities struggle with affordable services for cats. That’s why we have worked extensively with CATNIP Foundation, a program of Louisiana nonprofit Big Sky Ranch, in the past to save cats’ lives in and out of disaster situations.
So when the pandemic began, we stepped in again with crisis response funding to help CATNIP Foundation provide lifesaving resources and boost public education on caring for and protecting cats and kittens during COVID-19 and beyond.
“In this area there’s long been a veterinary desert, and that’s on top of all the shelters that were closing because of the pandemic,” explains Big Sky Ranch/CATNIP Foundation co-founder and CEO Dr. Catherine Wilbert. “The [Alley Cat Allies] grants are making a tremendous difference in our ability to serve animals in need and the people who care about them.”
As one of the only local animal programs that remained open throughout COVID-19 in Louisiana, CATNIP Foundation has had its hands full with cats and kittens. Some need foster homes, some spaying and neutering, others treatment for injuries—and sometimes they need all of the above. The organization is now a go-to resource for these services not only in its home base of St. Tammany Parish, but in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and much more of south Louisiana as well.
The situation is challenging, but Alley Cat Allies’ emergency funding is helping to find and take hold of a silver lining. Here are just some of the ways our emergency funding to CATNIP Foundation is serving as a lifesaving oasis in a desert of animal care services.
Supporting Cat Foster Homes for Louisiana Kittens
Kitten season is in full swing in Louisiana, and communities are increasingly turning to CATNIP Foundation for help with young kittens. At the same time, all of the group’s transports of kittens to other rescue groups were cancelled when the COVID-19 crisis began.
Alley Cat Allies’ support came at a critical moment to meet the needs of these tiny felines. Through our funding, CATNIP Foundation has been able to provide each kitten with any necessary veterinary treatment, including spay and neuter. And when people stepped up to offer their homes as cat foster care for the kittens, our grants supplied them with kitten food, kitten formula, and other necessities.
Many of these kittens didn’t just find cat foster homes—they found forever homes. Their foster caregivers adopted them!
Cutting-Edge Veterinary Care
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis in Louisiana, CATNIP Foundation has had its phone ringing off the hook with calls for help with emergency veterinary treatment and surgery for Louisiana cats and kittens. There are two reasons for this: CATNIP Foundation is one of the only open and low-cost clinics in the area, and Dr. Wilbert is known for taking on tough cases and working veterinary “miracles.”
Alley Cat Allies’ grants have played a part in making these miracles happen.
For example, our emergency funding helped pay for the treatment of Ruffles, a little calico kitten who was found stuck in a pipe and rushed to CATNIP Foundation by a good Samaritan. She needed some care and x-rays, and our grants made it possible. Now she’s doing fine—and is more adorable than ever!
Tiny Pretzel, who was found badly injured by a compassionate passerby, received the extensive treatment he needed to become a thriving and gorgeous tabby kitten. Today he is dubbed Sir Henry James, and Dr. Wilbert says he has “the best new family.”
Not sure who needs to hear some joyful news right now, but we just got an adoption update on Sir Henry James and wanted…
Then there is Rusty, a distinguished orange tabby who some thought would never see again due to a severe eye condition. He was able to look up at Dr. Wilbert after our grants paid for his emergency eye treatment.
Going Far with TNR
Alley Cat Allies’ grants to CATNIP Foundation are also supporting Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) for community cats. Dr. Wilbert told us the story of Dobby and his feline family, who live along a bayou near a boat tour company. The company had already worked hard with local caregivers to feed the cats and start TNR, but the community needed a big helping hand to continue their work during once the COVID-19 crisis hit.
With our support, CATNIP Foundation has been able to deliver medical care and spay and neuter services to these cats and kittens. Socialized kittens like Dobby and his sister have been adopted, while the others were returned to their bayou home to live out their lives. CATNIP Foundation continues to work with the boat company staff and caregivers to ensure all the cats are spayed and neutered.
CATNIP Foundation is also focusing on multiple other large families of community cats, and Alley Cat Allies’ grants will help provide the means to spay and neuter them all.
The Big Picture
Our COVID-19 response measures are about looking beyond the here and now. Alley Cat Allies is supporting animal organizations and advocates in not only getting through this crisis, but forging new and innovative paths forward in their lifesaving work.
Dr. Wilbert says CATNIP Foundation is doing just that with help from our grants.
“Alley Cat Allies’ grants have enabled us to help a lot of animals, but in a bigger way they’ve also helped us engage and educate people on the role they play in caring for cats after spay and neuter or treatment,” says Dr. Wilbert.
“We always say we hope that when people leave CATNIP Foundation, they leave as better animal advocates. I truly believe these grants are helping us do that,” she continues. “I hope our ‘new normal’ after COVID-19 will be that everybody shares responsibility in protecting cats.”
Learn more about Alley Cat Allies’ COVID-19 emergency response at alleycat.org/Coronavirus.