By Jenn Hutchman, Furry Friends Executive Director
Furry Friends and our supporters are ending a most challenging year as 2022 draws to a close. The aftereffects of Covid on the veterinary profession and on animal welfare overall caused many trials, but we have risen to the challenges and look forward to growing and improving in 2023 with the help of our many dedicated volunteers.
Our goals for 2023:
As 2022 comes to a close we are excited about growing our organization and tackling some new goals for 2023.
- To expand our shelter to include a new medical/isolation room
- To continue to grow our strong family of volunteers & sponsors
- To build more community partnerships and structure new community resources
- To construct a community education program
- To continue to honor our mission and strengthen our foundation
A Busy 2022
We remained at or over-capacity throughout 2022 and are just now getting a small bit of breathing room. We cared for a record-breaking number of cats, in addition to the 100-200 community cats that we provide food/litter for each month. Our donors, supporters, volunteers, and staff made it possible for Furry Friends to care for some 155 cats/kittens at once! We had 30 adult cats at our shelter and 125 adults/kittens in foster homes! WOW! Only a couple years ago we only had resources to care for 40 kittens at one time. Many dedicated people provided the fuel for us to grow! We plan to end 2022 with about 490 adoptions, continuing a steady growth trend over the past two years. This will be a record number of adoptions for us.
Our partnerships and our small staff have allowed us to provide excellent medical care for our kitties. We have created multiple community partnerships with vet offices, veterinarians, alter clinics, urgent/ER care, and specialty hospitals to get the best care each cat and kitten may need. Each cat or kitten receives individualized medical and behavioral plans to set them up for success when they leave us for their forever homes. True to our mission, we help the homeless, the sick, and the abused. Consequently, we take on the more severe cases that require extra time, funds and effort, but when these cats or kittens go to a wonderful loving lifetime home, we know that the effort has been worth every minute and every penny.
Below are stories about a few of these kitties that are medically ready for adoption after a long road of recovery!
Rosie came to us in June of 2021 as an owner relinquishment. We could tell right away that there were problems with her paw and her ears. After multiple ear infections and paw infections it was deemed necessary for her to have TECA-BO surgery on her ear and paw surgery. A poorly done declawing job in the past caused a bone in her toe to poke through her skin creating an infection.
Her ear had so much infection and masses it was best for her to have her entire ear canal removed and sewed shut. She also has a heart murmur which made the surgeries riskier. She is now pain free and ready for a new home!
Bella was another little girl who came to us with growths and ear infections in both ears. While the vet at first thought she would need the TECA-BO surgery in both ears, thankfully, she needed surgery in only one, meaning that she has not been left totally deaf. She is just waiting on her spay now and then can be adopted!
Baby Benny was brought to us at 5 weeks of age with a femur fracture. This little guy got through his leg surgery with no complications and is now just waiting to be big enough for his neuter–then adoption. He has a metal plate in his leg that will stay in throughout his life.
Maggie Mae is a young kitten who after her spay had a suture reaction causing a massive hernia. In layman’s terms, this means the inside suture opened and her intestines came out of her abdominal wall. She required another surgery to fix this and is slowly recovering.
I could go on and on about all the medical cases we have seen this year. There have been so many! We have also had a few that no matter how much we tried, they could not be saved. They sure were loved while they were in our care! Rest easy Raggedy Andy, Bosco, Werewolf, Buddy, Honey, and Gracie. All were elderly kitties who were brought to us in extremely poor condition and found to have cancerous masses where no medical interventions would have given them a good quality of life. Making these decisions is difficult, but we will always do what is best for them–even if it is hard on our hearts. We appreciate so much the dedicated veterinarians and vet staff that go through the sad times with us.
Another focus for Furry Friends is kitten season! It began early in 2022 and is just now dwindling down in December. This season is typically full force only 1/3 of the year, but not 2022. Kittens can cost anywhere from $150 to $1,000 to raise to adoption, depending on their ages and circumstances, and these are the healthy ones. Medically fragile kittens can cost upwards of $3,000.
Kittens are not cheap, and the ones that do not have the care of a responsible party suffer. Our concern for the responsible care of cats and kittens makes us strong advocates for spaying and neutering! During Covid, many factors, including lack of services, people suffering financial stress, and hard to get appointments, put everything behind. We are now seeing the effects of the kittens that were not altered in 2020/2021 now having babies and even grandbabies! We must remember that so many outside feral kitties have no one to care for them and they, too, continue to reproduce!
All of our cats and kittens are not adopted until each one is spayed/neutered and vaccinated to help this absolutely critical situation. Our dedicated fosters had kittens coming out of their ears this season and they sure stepped up! Every time I asked if anyone was open to taking kittens, they were there ready to welcome these babies into their homes. Some of our foster parents were caring for two or three litters of kittens at a time. Many of our Kitty foster parents take care of kittens all year round with no breaks! We could not ask for better volunteers, truly.
A Note from our Executive Director,
As the Executive/Medical Director of Furry Friends I personally know each and every cat and kitten that comes to us (many times they start out as my fosters!). I am also heavily involved with the intakes, adoptions, fundraising, the spay/neuter clinic, and leading community outreach. I feel this creates an easier streamline of communication to our staff, volunteers, and donors which highly benefits the cats. Being the only full-time employee out of 3 employees, I strive to ensure every donor dollar is being spent wisely. With the help of our two part-time house managers, our dedicated working board of directors, our faithful sponsors, and hundreds of volunteers we predict even more growth for 2023!
Thank you to every supporter for your unwavering dedication and acknowledgment of the growing needs of the cats in our community. They are often overlooked, and we want to continue to spread the message that they are our Furry Friends! If you have any questions, you can always reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Jenn Hutchman
Jenn started volunteering with Furry Friends and was hired as our Executive Director May 2022. She has had a tremendous effect on the stability of Furry Friends and bringing our organization up to the next level. Jenn is a mom of three humans and many more fur children. She believes that the way to a better world is community involvement and helping when you can. She has taken on the additional task of volunteer medical lead after completing a course in vet assisting, taking classes under veterinarians for small procedures/shelter med, and hands on experience. She volunteers every Saturday doing kitten medicals and intakes and Sundays at a spay/neuter clinic to learn as much as she can to benefit the cats. This is the latest addition to her list of credentials, which include degrees in medical assisting, criminal justice, social services, and relaxation therapy. Jenn is a lifetime learner, gaining new experience through her variety of career and volunteer experiences. Furry Friends certainly provides a lot to learn, as well as fulfilling her love to help the community and cats. “It’s very rewarding to be a part of the process from start to finish,” Jenn explains.
About Furry Friends
Furry Friends is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit no-kill cat rescue serving Clark County, Washington and adjacent counties. Founded in 1999, we are a volunteer run organization that rescues and adopts out homeless, relinquished, and abused cats. We shelter and care for them as long as it takes to find them forever homes. We provide medical attention, medications, spay/neuter, food, and litter for up to 500 cats each year. We have adopted out 460 cats and kittens for 2021 which is a record for us. Without our help, and the help of our supporters, many of these cats would have been euthanized, left on the streets to fend for themselves, or continued to over populate the community with kittens.
The Mission of Furry Friends is to help homeless, relinquished and abused cats by:
- Spaying or neutering.
- Providing medical care and foster homes until permanent placement of these cats into safe, nurturing homes.
- Educating the public regarding the care and responsibility of cat ownership.
- Collaborating with other pet rescue and companion groups to accomplish a no-kill status in the State of Washington.
To learn more about Furry Friends, visit our website at www.furryfriendswa.org
Or contact us at (360) 993-1097 Message Phone or email@example.com.
It takes a village to keep Furry Friends thriving and growing. We are so thankful to our 150 volunteers, corporate sponsors, volunteer board members, adopters,
donors and our staff of three. We have adopted out over 4,000 cats and kittens since we began in 1999.