Once Upon A Time...
Once upon a time, helping to rescue kittens was my only goal … find the cats and kittens in need and bring them home. That’s what I did.
My first “round-the-clock, every two hour bottle feeding a kitten” experience was when I was twelve years old. He survived, lived a happy and long life - as did many others I found and cared for.
Have you ever seen a really needy cat?
Sterling was just such a kitty... He was rescued from his ‘owners’ yard and stayed with me for about a month.
He required multiple transfusions due to flea anemia. He needed really good food and vitamins. He needed antibiotics and a couple injections a day.
Most of all, he needed love and someone who cared.
It didn’t cost me much to change Sterling's life... housing, feeding and medication for one month.
The gratitude in his purrs was priceless!
Kittiary Is Born
Some of the rescue babies made my heart smile and some of the rescue babies broke my heart. The last time my heart was broken I decided my next kitty to love would be a purchased, purebred cat with parents I could see and a life I knew all about from birth … a cat that had experienced no trauma and had no problems.
That desire led to the first Persian which led to the second Persian which led to a desire for baby Persians which led to showing Persians and, wow, now we are a Persian cattery. I love these cats with everything I have in me. They depend on me no less than the rescue cats did and love me just as much and, my-oh-my, they sure are less able to fend for themselves.
The Breeder's Dilemma
Sometime after my house turned into a cattery I was asked to provide temporary shelter for an abandoned kitten with a broken leg.
My mind immediately went to a million places it had never gone before when asked to care for a cat in need. Would I be putting my own cats at risk? The kitty in need might have fleas, fungus or contagious infections! What should I do?
I did take the kitten in - but was very (incredibly) careful not to spread any germs and risk the health of the kitties of my new cattery.
Still... I was disappointed in myself for hesitating; disappointed in myself for worrying the new kitten might have some dreadful disease. I wanted to continue to be able to help rescue kitties, and yet wanted to follow my dreams as a breeder without putting my own cats at risk.
What was the answer? I made two resolutions then and there and have never looked back.
One Rescue Cat At A Time
The first thing I decided was that I could have one rescue cat in my house at a time. I have a designated place that is safe and happy for them and provides adequate quarantine away from the Kittiary Persians.
Kittens Helping Kittens
My second resolution was to donate 10% of each kitten sale to a local rescue group.
I call it “Kittens Helping Kittens”. :-)
In the last two years my kittens have helped many less fortunate cats and kittens. Their help has been sincerely appreciated by the needy cats, the rescue groups and my kitten buyers. In just two years we have been able to donate just over $400 to rescue.
Donating that 10% is not difficult; I send it off before I even realize I have it. If possible I add a portion of it to the price of the kitten. One buyer even purchased the kitten and matched my donation.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were a large group of breeders doing this same thing? Even 5% of each kitten sale or $5 from each kitten sale or litter registered would make such a difference in the lives of so many cat and kittens.
Finding A Rescue Group
How did I choose the group I donate to? Trial and error, asking questions and finding the one I felt worked in a way I liked. I wanted my donations to go to a local group where I could get to know the people personally and go help with the cats when I have time.
There are many, many groups out there doing wonderful rescue and/or research work for cats. The Winn Feline Foundation is one of my favorites as is CFA Purebred Rescue.
How does the rescue group feel about getting donations from a breeder? They haven’t complained. ;-) I brought that up in discussion when I first got involved with this group. After talking with me and visiting my home, they know I am a responsible, caring breeder. They like having me involved and feel good about the donations I send. It helps that all my kittens are speutered and microchipped before leaving me.
How did I decide how much to donate? Honestly, 10% was a number that came off the top of my head. After the first litter, I did sit down and try to figure out what it cost to raise a kitten and I realized my expenditures outweigh my income – but not by a whole lot and the satisfaction I get from having my kittens and helping others is well worth it. (Probably my husband has a little different financial opinion but shhhhhh, let’s not ask him.)
Would my kitten buyers rather have a lower kitten price? Not one has said so.
Here’s how my kitten buyers feel about my policy:
“ It is great that you donate 10% and I am all for it.”
“ If more breeders cared as you do, we would have less sadness in the world.
"I only hope that someone "rescued" the kitty I lost before I met you. "
"I am very grateful that you donate to the rescue center.”
Cats In Need
How can you help cats in need if you are unable to commit to “Kittens Helping Kittens”?
There are lots of other ways you can help: Even a small amount of money will help a rescue group – anything is better than nothing.
- If you have vaccines or medications about to expire and you can’t use them, donate them – chances are a rescue group will be able to use them before they expire.
- You bought some food your cats don’t like? – Donate it, hungry rescue kits will eat it and love it.
- Got two hours a week or two hours a month to spare? – Go clean litter boxes and pet a homeless kitty.
- Got a buy one get one free coupon for a cat item? Buy the item you want and give the freebie to the local shelter.
- Items any rescue facility can use: old towels or bedding material, cages and carriers you no longer use, kitty litter, laundry soap and bleach (perfect for something you bought and don’t like).
What can a rescue group can do with just $300?
30 rabies vaccinations
Antibiotics for 10 days for 200 cats
Food for 150 cats for a month
Litter for 200 cats for a month