Each month, Collin County Moms Blog features a local non-profit organization that assists moms and/or families in need. We love the opportunity to spotlight how local families can help out through volunteering, donating time or money and more, right in our own community. We try to pick organizations that our contributors know and volunteer for personally, and are eager to share the needs of our friends and neighbors throughout Collin County.
What is North Texas Cat Rescue?
“North Texas Cat Rescue is an all volunteers 501 (c)(3) organization committed to the humane and compassionate treatment of cats.”
I first came across North Texas Cat Rescue, or NTCR, when my mom started fostering with them. As she became more and more involved, I began to learn what really goes into a cat rescue. I’d never really thought about it before. I understood that fostering is when dogs or cats live in someone’s home until they get adopted, but my knowledge began and ended there. Many people talk about rescue animals as if there’s a tragic story that goes with them. And in some cases, there is. We do save cats that have been abandoned when owners moved or were involved in hoarding situations, etc. But often times, the reason an animal is in a rescue is because their owner didn’t want them anymore or they simply got out of their house and ended up at the shelter. Or someone’s cat was not spayed and she had kittens, so they took the kittens to the shelter assuming they would get adopted. (This will happen more and more in the coming months as Spring brings kitten season.) NTCR takes cats from local shelters (and sometimes not-so-local shelters) and places them in foster care. Through donations, we are able to provide vet care for cats and kittens so they can be adopted with a clean bill of health.
I started fostering in October 2016. I was already lightly involved with NTCR. I knew a good amount of the volunteers and had spent a handful of weekends at the adoption events. I’d also seen a lot of what goes into fostering thanks to my mom being so involved. I had been considering joining the fostering team for a while, but it just never felt like the right time…until the founder of NTCR, Brigitte, posted a video on Facebook that showed the many cats and kittens filling the cages of the Garland Animal Shelter. I spotted two kittens in the video that were meowing and climbing the bars, trying so hard to be noticed so they might get to leave that place. I requested they be held for us and drove up that evening with my mom to get them. While at the shelter, I walked around to all the different cats and kittens in the “Cat Room.” It was awful. I don’t think there was an empty cage. There were only two adult cats in the room. One had a tag on the front of her cage that said, “FREE to a good home!” I noticed a sign as we were leaving the shelter that said something about sponsoring difficult to adopt cats or dogs so they would have no adoption fee. That cat was almost fully grown in a room full of kittens, therefore she was difficult to adopt. (I went back the next afternoon and adopted her, but that’s a story for another time.)
I’ve had it very easy when it comes to caring for my foster cats. Some fosters take tiny kittens and bottle feed them which, just like newborn humans, involves feeding every few hours (even during the night). Other fosters are literally feeding their kittens through a syringe because they refuse to eat. I’ve not yet had to deal with any illnesses besides the common cold that is treated with antibiotics. Lots of the cats we get from shelters end up sick either when we get them or a few days later. Some have bad injuries that require surgery or visiting specialists. I only take 1-2 foster cats at a time, so I don’t overwhelm myself or my family. Each cat is fully vetted before they are considered “adoptable.” But in addition to being healthy, they also need to be friendly. By allowing these cats to live with us in our homes, we learn a lot about their personalities and what type of home would be best for them. For example, a lot of people that come to us looking for a new cat describe their ideal cat as one that will sit in their lap. I have two foster cats right now and neither one of them has ever sat in my lap willingly. And one of those two has been living with us since April 1, 2017. It takes a lot of work to help socialize these animals if they come to you completely untrusting of humans, but we try every day and then we try some more until they decide maybe you’re okay.
How can you help?
Adopt– Adopting a cat or kitten from a shelter or a rescue is the biggest way to help. Shelters and rescues are almost always overwhelmingly full of cats in need of homes. Local shelters have to euthanize cats DAILY to make room for new cats coming in. When you adopt from a shelter, that’s one less cat that will be euthanized for space. If you adopt from a rescue, there’s one more cat we can save from somewhere else.
Transport– Many of our cats come from shelters in rural areas with little foot traffic. These shelters are not always right down the street, so we rely on our volunteers to help transport the cats from the shelter to the vet or to their new foster home. Even being able to make part of the trip is helpful. Sometimes this is as simple as picking up a cat or kitten from the vet clinic at the SPCA in McKinney and taking them to Petsmart in Allen. Have a flexible schedule and want to help out without the commitment of fostering? Consider helping with transportation.
Clean– Our Petsmart Adoption Center houses 5+ cats on a weekly basis. Our volunteer cleaners come in twice a day to feed the cats, replace water, scoop cat boxes, and give the kitties lots of love! Need the occasional dose of kitty love on your way to or from work? Maybe becoming a cleaner could be an option!
Foster– Fostering is one of the hardest and most rewarding jobs in the rescue world. Our fosters take new cats or kittens into their homes. Cats are treated for fleas and worms, and often Upper Respiratory Infection from being in the shelter. They are tested for common feline diseases and given all age-appropriate vaccines. Before adoption, all cats and kittens are spayed or neutered. Fosters take their foster cats to vet appointments. We love them, feed them, trim their claws, buy them toys, share our bed with them, clean up after them, take care of them when they are sick, take pictures of them, write little stories about them, all in hopes it will lead their forever home to them, and take them to weekend adoption events. It is a huge and challenging commitment, but so worth it when they finally find the right home. Without foster homes, we cannot save any cats.
Adoption Events– Our weekend adoption events are organized and executed entirely by volunteers. We set up tables, crates, and signs before our events each weekend and take it all down at the end of Sunday’s event. Our volunteers care for our foster cats and kittens while they are at the events, answer questions any potential adopters might have, help find the right family for each cat, and handle paperwork. While working these events is not the best fit for young children, we have several teenage volunteers that are a great help to our team. Love cats and kittens, but can’t have one of your own? Maybe volunteering at our events would be a good fit for you!
Donate– Allergic to cats? Don’t have time to volunteer? Still want to help? Consider donating to North Texas Cat Rescue.
What can I donate?
Cash or check mailed to:
North Texas Cat Rescue
P.O. Box 1504
McKinney, TX 75070
In-person donations may be dropped off at Petsmart in Allen during weekend adoption events or regular store hours. Ask a store associate for assistance. The following items are always welcome:
- Cat Food
- Proplan Dry Kitten and Adult
- Simply Nourrish Salmon and Sweet Potatoes dry food
- Royal Canine for Kittens dry food
- Tidy Cat Scoopable clay litter – Blue Label
- Large Forceflex garbage bags
- Bleach-free cleaner
- Paper towels
- Washable toys
- Cardboard scratchers
- Milk Replacer cans for orphaned kittens
- Bags of Friskies ( to feed our managed feral cat colonies)
- Petsmart gift certificates
- Latex-free gloves
For more information on North Texas Cat Rescue, or to get involved, please visit their website or Facebook, or send them an email!