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The Cat House seeks to provide shelter, medical care, caring and life in a cageless atmosphere where potential adopters can meet with the cats in a comfortable space. The Cat House is also working with the city of Lincoln Nebraska to provide a workable solution to the feral population, without loss of life.
History of The Cat House
The Cat House was formed in 1998 by a group of cat lovers who saw the need in Lincoln, Nebraska, for a "no-kill" alternative to traditional shelters and the ever-increasing need for additional feline rescue and adoption resources. These cat lovers also had a goal of establishing a cage-free shelter in our community, where cats could live in home-like rooms until the right person came along, as long as that might take.
In 1999, The Cat House was invited to use the adoption center at the local PetSmart store as a supplement to placing cats for adoption from foster homes. When a large group of cats was rescued from the home of a hoarder in 2003, volunteers found a small building to rent in order to house them and the first Cat House facility up and running! While the addition of this small facility allowed The Cat House volunteers to help even more cats, it soon became apparent that it wasn’t enough. A second facility was added in late 2004, with zoning that allowed for adoption hours open to the public. In late 2005, these two facilities were combined at our current location at 1935 Q St. Cats also continue to be available for adoption at the north Lincoln PetSmart. With these two locations and foster homes, The Cat House is able to care for around 150 cats and kittens.
The mission of The Cat House is to adopt cats into caring, permanent homes and to improve the lives of feral cats. We will accomplish this by:
• Finding homes for stray, neglected, abused, and unwanted cats
• Providing shelter and medical care to all cats in our care, regardless of age, health, or behavioral issues
• Promoting spay/neuter as the only humane means of reducing the number of unwanted cats
• Educating the community about the care and welfare of all cats
• Working with local veterinarians, city officials, and designated caregivers to maintain a trap-neuter-return (TNR) program for feral cats
What Will It Take?
No one factor created the overpopulation of cats, and no single strategy will solve the problem. No longer accepting the killing of homeless cats and kittens as a means of population control requires a community-wide effort to change human attitudes and behavior toward felines. To be successful, a comprehensive strategy aimed at eliminating killing as a means of population control in felines must include:
• An Adoption Program
• A Foster Family Program
• Aggressive Spay/Neuter Policy and Resources
• Rescue Outreach
• A Feral Cat Program
• Education Programs
The Adoption Option
Cats come to us from a variety of situations--someone found a stray, an unaltered pet has a litter of kittens, someone is moving into a nursing home or has passed away--there are a multitude of reasons. But while the sources and reasons are endless, the result is the same--adoptable, loving cats and kittens that need homes.
Every cat or kitten that comes to The Cat House receives optimal veterinary care and lives in a cage-free environment where it receives a lot of love and one-on-one attention from volunteers. Before being eligible for adoption, each cat or kitten is spayed/neutered, microchipped, tested for the feline leukemia virus, and given rabies and standard distemper combination vaccinations. Unaltered male cats also are tested for the feline immunodeficiency virus. If a cat is never adopted, it will continue to have a home, food, and medical care for the rest of its natural life.
The Foster Option
Some of our cats live in temporary or permanent foster homes. They may need extra medical attention that is not easily provided at the shelter or additional socialization. A new mother may need a calm, quiet environment where she can care for her kittens. We often have motherless kittens in special homes because they need round-the-clock care, including bottle feeding. Fostering can be a very rewarding experience for an individual or a family.
The Feral Cat Program
Unlike "stray" cats, feral cats are not socialized to people so they are not adoptable. If a feral cat is taken to a shelter, it is almost always killed. Trap- Neuter-Return (TNR) is a program that helps these cats. The feral cats are humanely trapped; spayed/neutered; vaccinated; microchipped; eartipped, which is the universal symbol that a cat has been altered and vaccinated; and returned to their outdoor home under the watchful eye of a caregiver. The caregiver monitors the health of the cats in the colony; ensures that they have shelter, especially during winter in Nebraska; and provides food.
Not only does the TNR program reduce the number of unwanted kittens--it improves the quality of life for the cats and for their human neighbors. The cats are healthier, and behaviors such as marking and fighting are greatly reduced. If foster homes and funds are available and kittens from feral mothers are young enough to be socialized, The Cat House takes in the kittens from the feral colonies and finds a foster who will socialize the kittens so that they can be adopted into loving forever homes.
End the Killing
What would it take to stop killing animals for population control in our community? What can be done about all of the homeless and unwanted animals right here in Lincoln? Just as it is not a simple question, there is no simple answer. But together, we can make a difference. Join our volunteers at The Cat House and help end the killing.
You CAN make a difference
The Cat House is staffed almost entirely by volunteers who care for an average of 150 cats every day (100 in the shelter and 50 in foster homes). These hard-working, dedicated volunteers are committed to improving the lives of cats in Lincoln and the surrounding area. We have many opportunities available. You can fill out a volunteer application at the shelter or on our website. You are in for a rewarding experience.
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