Animal shelter

Animal sanctuary partners with national organization to save cats | New

REIDSVILLE — Cassaundra Baker, 22, from Reidsville, grew up surrounded by animals and fondly remembers helping her mother raise a few litters of kittens and puppies.

Now Baker is carrying the torch, adopting her first litter of kittens for the Rockingham County Animal Shelter, and she’s loving every minute of it.

“I have three sweet, beautiful, loving and adorable kittens in my care – Simon, Toby and Blake,” Baker said. “I want to be able to give back the love that animals give us.”

Baker serves as a foster home through a new partnership between Best Friends Animal Society, a national animal welfare organization, and Rockingham County Animal Shelter to rescue at-risk cats.

Best Friends Animal Society is supporting the shelter to make life-saving changes to cats, including the new satellite foster program. Cats and kittens brought to the shelter or found motherless by the public will be cared for by local volunteers until they are old enough to be neutered or neutered and adopted. All supplies and training are provided free of charge to host families. After six months, the pilot foster program will transition completely to RCAS, with the Best Friends Animal Society providing ongoing support.

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In addition to the kittens she raises, Baker also has a 5-year-old husky named Luna, a 2-year-old cat named Bootsie and a 2-year-old male cat named Shadow, who was adopted from Rockingham. County animal shelter. Baker said her pets have adapted well to kittens and are mostly curious.

“They don’t mind them being in their own little space, but my cats are a little uncertain about them being in the living space with us, but we adapt very well to short periods of time. “, said Baker. “It’s a process.”

To be a foster family, Baker said one had to own one’s own home or have the owner’s permission to keep animals; have transportation to pick up supplies from the shelter, take them for recalls and vet appointments, take them to adoption fairs, etc. ; Internet/phone to keep in touch with best friends/RCAS, and a computer/device to take video calls to meet potential owners. Host families must be at least 18 years old and pets must be up to date with vaccinations. Best Friends does not limit the number of animals one can foster at a time, but does request that the foster home only have one litter at a time to help contain any potential illnesses.

“And, of course, you have to have time to devote to caring for them and getting them used to human interaction,” Baker said.

In 2021, RCAS took in 2,674 cats and rescued 1,410 (52%), while during the same period the shelter rescued 82% of the dogs that entered the shelter. The Cat Foster program was started to improve these statistics for cats.

“We are thrilled to partner with Best Friends to help save the lives of many kittens and cats in our community,” said Brittany Flynn, director of the shelter. “Foster parents provide the necessary care and socialization for kittens, shy adults, and senior cats that might otherwise be neglected in a shelter environment.”

Flynn said the partnership with Best Friends and foster homes also helps ease pressure on staff and overcrowding at the shelter.

Best Friends pays for all initial costs of the foster program, including marketing, recruitment, foster supplies and medical expenses for the animals, as well as the provision of a remote staff member on time. full to help run the program.

“By adopting a foster family, you’re not only helping the cat you’re bringing into your home, but you’re also making room for the shelter to accommodate other animals,” said Melissa Jones, cat manager. community involvement at Best Friends.

Baker said it’s hard not to get too attached to the kittens, but she keeps the long-term goal for them in mind.

“I have to remember that the whole point of the foster program is to find them loving, caring homes, and they’ll make one lucky person very happy,” she said.

She is thrilled that the Best Friends Animal Society has joined the shelter to help the cats and looks forward to helping as many as she can.

“This program is very necessary and important because cat overpopulation is exceptional, and we want to reduce euthanasia rates and help as many animals as possible find loving homes,” Baker said. “I really hope we can make a difference in the number of cats that find loving and caring forever homes.