Four kitten siblings are busy scampering, chasing, leaping and tackling each other in a spare bedroom in Jane Keeler’s house. They are the picture of health and happiness.
But a few weeks ago they were found with their mother and eight other kittens in a dumpster in Klickitat County, with the lid down, on a 90-degree day, Keeler said.
“Their mother was taking care of all of the kittens,” Keeler said. “She was here until yesterday, and now she’s being a surrogate mother to a couple of two-week-old kittens that showed up at a local vet’s office over the weekend — there were three, but one of them died.
“She wasn’t happy about it at first (being a surrogate), but I guess she’s doing better now.”
Keeler is one of about 10 Columbia Gorge Cat Rescue volunteers who foster the found kittens until homes can be found for them, or until they are transported to one of the cat rescue organizations in Portland. That can be anywhere from overnight to a couple of months, she said.
CGCR provides the food and medication for the foster animals, and the volunteer host provides the cat litter.
“There’s not a whole lot of out-of-pocket expense,” Keeler said. “We do need to be available when people want to do a meet-and-greet.”
Keeler has been a volunteer with CGCR for about six years, she said, but has been helping felines in distress for years.
“I’d rescue kittens from parking lots, or strays would find me,” she said.
This is a busy time of year for Columbia Gorge Cat Rescue, and volunteers are always needed for transporting animals, providing foster care, or any number of other tasks. Right now there are 73 cats or kittens in the system.
“On Wednesday we’ll be taking a bunch of them to Sherwood, to The Cat Adoption,” she said. The Oregon Cat is also good about helping place the kitties.
“They have three million people to draw from and we have 6,000 or so,” she said. So whenever the organizations have openings, they will take as many as they have space for, she said.
Since kittens don’t stay kittens very long, being a foster home is one way to enjoy them more often.
“You get to have kittens a lot!” Keeler said.
Columbia Gorge Cat Rescue is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that rescues cats/kittens from Hood River County in Oregon and Klickitat and Skamania counties in Washington.
All of CGCR’s cats and kittens are given complete medical exams, blood tested for FIV/FeLV, vaccinated to the point their age allows and provided with any/all medical care as necessary. Complete vet records are provided to all adopters.
Because of the number of homeless cats Columbia Gorge Cat Rescue helps, it does not intake people’s pets.
Volunteers are always needed; there are many ways to volunteer:
n Foster care — Foster parents provide a safe, loving environment for cats, moms and kittens and adult cats.
n Caregivers — Caregivers provide daily care for cats and kittens housed at CGCR’s affiliate shelter or at its outreach adoption center at Petco.
n Petfinder volunteers take digital pictures of cats and kittens available for adoption, then post the photos to petfinder.com along with accompanying biographies or descriptions of the cats.
n Cat ambassadors — Ambassadors attend special public outreach events, where they educate the public and promote CGCR’s programs and services to the public, encouraging people to adopt, foster, volunteer or donate.
n Petco volunteers volunteer to be at Petco with the cats to introduce them to the public and help find homes; taking in applications and providing information about the cats and about Columbia Gorge Cat Rescue.
n Other — Many additional volunteer opportunities exist, including but not limited to administrative support, writing, organizing and coordinating foster families, off-site adoption centers like Petco.
n Fundraising — Opportunities vary and include grant writing and soliciting sponsorships and donations.
n Feral cat program —Caregivers are needed to help feed the colonies of feral cats and watch for newcomers; cat trappers are also needed.
n Transporters — take cats to and from vet appointments or to other shelters.
n Maintenance — building, repairs, painting, etc.
n Vet tech skills — draw blood, vaccinate cats, give baths.
Adoptable cats are available for view at http://bit.ly/LivGLW.
Due to its foster home network, CGCR’s cats are shown by appointment only or on our special adoption events. Please call 541-386-2743 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in meeting one of its adoptable cats.
Adopters are asked to fill out an adoption questionnaire/ application either prior to or at the time they meet the adoptees. Call or email to receive one or download an adoption application at www.gorgecat.org.