In Loudoun County, Virginia, 40 colony cats are unfortunately in need of new furever homes.
As the caretaker of the large, farm-cat colony, the loving 83-year-old women who has watched over her beloved outdoor babies had to make a difficult decision. Knowing her own health was deteriorating, she wouldn’t be able to continue giving them all the care they require.
As much as she has attempted to TNR them over the years, they do as cats do and avoid traps, reproducing faster than can be sterilized. The woman reached out to the local animal services team to ask for help in catching and re-homing her animals. Thankfully, all the cats observed have been in great health and show no signs of issues.
Two Animal Control Officers from Loudoun County Animal Services have been assisting in planning for the cats but know that 40 cats is a huge undertaking! Unfortunately there are not any other rescue groups or feral commitments for helping these felines to date. Not only for the time and “manpower” to trap them, but housing an influx of 40 cats is an issue in itself!
The shelter concedes that they would not be able to provide humane kenneling and care for this large number of cats all at once, so are doing everything to avoid even considering alternatives. The plan is to move the cats AS they find homes for them as quickly as possible. This will hopefully eliminate any extended kenneling.
Animal Services Director Nina Stively says “In the past year, we have been able to find homes for 91% of the cats in our care, but without the help of adopters and rescue partners, we will be challenged tremendously to maintain that success when receiving this many barn cats at once.”
Because the cats are primarily used to living outdoors, if they show no ability to be transitioned into indoor living, the next best option is to integrate them into the successfully run Barn Bat program. The cats range from kittens to seniors and all of them will be spayed or neutered if needed, vaccinated, and micro-chipped before they head home with adopters. As a bonus, because they are being adopted through the Barn Cat program, there is no cost to adopt them!
They are welcoming adopters from all over, not just within the county, so that the deserving animals will have the best chance at finding their purrfect fit. The open adoption process will even be possible to be completed the same day potential adopters visit the shelter. This will allow those who are travelling to the shelter a convenient way to adopt their new family member.
As the shelter is working with the current owner and bringing the cats in slowly, they are asking interested adopters to call or email the department first. Applications can then be vetted and they can work with the adopters so the cats can travel to their new homes as they are caught. We love this idea that the cats won’t have to be held indoors for longer than needed, lessening any “moving trauma”.
“This group of barn cats will be a balancing act for LCAS staff and volunteers,” says Shelter Operations Manager Amy Martin. “These cats have never been indoors or handled by people, which means coming to the shelter will be a very stressful and frightening experience for them. But these are 40 healthy and happy working pets, so we want to find them an outlet where they can survive, thrive and be loved, the way they were in their previous home.”
This process will also allow the new families time to prepare for acclimating an outdoor cat to their property. Loudoun Animal Services will remain available for assistance to the family even after the new cat is home, happily exploring their new territories.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-777-0406 if you are interested in adopting. Adopt Don’t Shop and please spay & neuter your pets!