By Jenn Hutchman

I know it seems really contradictory to say not all rescuing is responsible rescuing. Rescuing, by definition, means “to save,” so how can anyone rescuing an animal not be doing what is right?

Responsible rescuing means you have the resources to be able to provide at least the basic life sustaining and medical care for each animal you rescue. You must have the means physically, mentally, and financially to provide for the animals you are taking in. This would include: Clean water, fresh wet & dry food, parasite prevention and control, necessary vet visits, enrichment, spaying/neutering/vaccinating, and clean and adequate living environments. This also includes proper mental head space as the caretaker to be able to give of yourself to those who cannot help themselves. Another aspect of responsible rescuing is not taking kittens away from their moms too early unless there is absolutely no other way for the kittens to survive. They have the best chance of survival with their mothers. Responsible rescuing means living up to what you are promising these defenseless animals from day 1 all the way through finding them a loving home.

Rescuing them to death would be the opposite of responsible rescuing. While a person may think they are saving an animal by taking it in, if they are not supplying ALL of the above they are not actually rescuing them. Without the means to give each animal the care they need they become sick, neglected, infested with parasites, baby makers, and/or can die. If you are rescuing and many animals are not surviving it is time to re-evaluate how you are rescuing. Never saying no does not fall under responsible rescuing. Having animals stacked in dirty kennels without adequate care is not responsible rescuing. Taking kittens away from their moms that are caring for them is not responsible rescuing. In fact, there is a term for only taking kittens and then turning around and selling them unaltered and that is “kitten flipping” which is also not responsible rescuing. There are many people who would call themselves a rescuer while rescuing animals to death.

Furry Friends has helped multiple rescuers this year already who have let their situations get out of control and the ones who suffer are the animals. Please do not take on more than you can handle. Do not convince yourself that if you don’t say yes to every request no one else will. There are many forms of rescuing just make sure you fall under the responsible rescuer category. Also, when relinquishing an animal make sure you do your due diligence and give them to a responsible rescue.

So far for 2023 Furry Friends has rescued over 70 cats and kittens from these bad situations. It is heartbreaking to see how these kitties have been neglected. Some come in next to death and we do all we can to save them, but some are just too far gone. The rest of the cats and kittens all need medical and emotional help and some need surgeries because of the neglect.

About Furry Friends

Furry Friends is a volunteer run, 501(c)(3) nonprofit, no-kill cat rescue serving Clark County, Washington and the surrounding area. We are the largest cat only shelter in Southwest Washington. To find out more about Furry Friends visit our website or contact us at or (360) 993-1097.

We would like to thank Jenn Hutchman for writing this article. She started volunteering with Furry Friends in 2019 and became our Executive Director, which is our first full time paid employee, in 2022. She has been an amazing asset for Furry Friends and has raised over 300 bottle baby kittens in her spare time.

Furry Friends is a nonprofit cat adoption organization. Its mission is to help homeless, relinquished and abused cats by providing spaying and neutering, medical care, and foster shelter for as long as it takes to find their forever home. Copyright © 2013 – 2020 Furry Friends. All rights reserved. Website design and development by Christina Roberts.