Tails from APS-FH
May 2021 Issue
It’s Kitten Season!
It’s kitten season, a time of year when thousands of homeless kittens flood animal shelters across the country.

Kitten season, also known as feline breeding season, is the time of year when unaltered (not spayed) female cats go into heat. If the female cat encounters an unaltered (not neutered) male cat, a litter of kittens is likely to be the result about 60 days later.

Kitten season takes place during the warmer months. Typically, in our area, kitten season runs from early April through late October/early November.

Unless you have worked in an animal shelter, it is unlikely you have heard the term. In our newsletter this month, APS-FH focuses on cats and how everyone in our community can help prevent unwanted litters.
Help, I Found a Cat Outdoors!

Example: You come across a cat outdoors, perhaps in a parking lot, or behind your favorite local store, or even in your own backyard. You may want to act, but what do you do?

The answer depends on the cat! Cats can have unique needs based on many factors. In most cases, finding a cat outdoors is nothing to be concerned about. Cats have always lived outdoors, ever since the species Felis catus (domestic cat) came into existence, and they always will, even while some cats live indoors with us.

Cats fall into three categories: owned, stray and Community. Each category will determine what action should be taken.

As a side note, kittens, especially under four weeks of age, have special needs that differ from adult cats. Please call APS-FH, if you have found a kitten.
Owned, Stray or Community?

The chart below will help you make the right decisions in the cat's best interest (click to enlarge). Please keep in mind, not all cats found outdoors need to be "rescued." If you are not sure, please call us (360) 378-2158. We are happy to walk you through the steps to help determine if the cat needs help.
Community Cats and the APS-FH TNR Program
Let's talk about "Community cats" and what you, partnering with
APS-FH, can do to help.

“Community Cats” is a term used to describe outdoor, unowned, free-roaming cats. These cats could be friendly, feral, adults, kittens, healthy, sick, altered and/or unaltered. They may or may not have a caregiver. By this definition, the only outdoor free-roaming cats who are not community cats are those who have an owner.
Utilizing Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) to Manage Community Cat Colonies

TNR is the method of:
Trap – The cats are humanely trapped.
Neuter – The cats are taken to APS-FH where our vet then spays/neuters them. The left ear is "tipped" so people will recognize they have been sterilized and not attempt to trap them again.
Return – The cats are returned to their caregivers, who agree to continue to provide them with food, water, and some type of necessary shelter.

APS-FH supports TNR as the least costly and the most humane, efficient way of stabilizing and reducing Community cat populations. Nuisance behaviors such as spraying, excessive noisemaking and fighting are largely eliminated and no additional kittens are born.

By stabilizing the population, cats will naturally have more space, shelter, food and fewer risks of disease. After being spayed or neutered, cats living in colonies tend to gain weight and live healthier lives.

If nothing is done to sterilize colonies of Community cats, the problem will most likely reach unmanageable levels and lead to unnecessary suffering. Cats can breed as early as four months of age and can produce multiple litters in one year.
APS-FH TNR Program
Do you know of, feed or care for Community cats?

Please have them spayed or neutered to help decrease overpopulation. And
APS-FH can help through our TNR program - it is a free service we provide to our Community cats. Surgery takes place once a week at the APS-FH Spay/Neuter Clinic.

A Community cat is humanely trapped and brought in to be spayed/neutered, scanned for a microchip, vaccinated, and ear-tipped. Once it recovers, it is returned back to its original location.

For more information, call us at 360-387-2158.
And stay tuned...
Barn Cat Program
Stay tuned for our new program that helps relocate “working cats.” This program will help displaced healthy semi-feral, feral, and non-socialized adult cats with adopters looking for cats not suited for indoor-only living environments (barns, shops, etc).
Special Friends of APS-FH
Passing the Baton

In 2020, Cindy Koch arrived at the shelter with a van full of pet food donations for our Pet Food Pantry (PFP) Program. Cindy and her husband, Hans, and their generosity to APS-FH have continued to this day.

Cindy and Hans may be new friends to APS-FH, but they are certainly no strangers to companion animal rescuing. Cindy tells this story to explain how she and Hans got into animal rescue: “Our beloved Tia Maria, started us on our rescue journey. We found her lying beside a highway outside Loreto, Mexico. I looked over to see what had been hit and she raised her head and looked back at me. STOP THE CAR!!!! We raced her to the vet, went to see her every day, and then flew back down to get her two weeks later.”

Shortly thereafter came a naughty but delightful foster beagle, named Sophia. After a returned adoption, the Kochs decided to give Sophia a forever home - in their home. From then on, numerous at-risk cats and dogs were taken into the Koch’s loving home that was eventually outfitted with kennels, toys, bedding, and other supplies necessary for the Koch’s to have their own rescue operation.

Knowing they could not save all the animals in need single-handedly, in 2014 the Kochs hired a researcher to examine the issues contributing to the high number of animals euthanized in Washington state (approximately 30,000 per year) and to identify strategies to reduce this number. During a 12-month research period, the Kochs and their research companion interviewed and traveled to 49 animal welfare agencies throughout Washington State and two agencies in Oregon. The result was completion of a comprehensive “Washington State Companion Animal Landscape Analysis” that synthesized their findings and detailed the existing regional animal welfare conditions, current gaps in services, and potential solutions to address those gaps and to decrease the number of euthanized animals in Washington.

Following their research, the Kochs identified animal welfare groups in a couple of regions where they invested time and financial support to help those groups develop services that would eventually contribute to saving thousands of animals a year. This good work and lasting impact continues because of the Koch’s efforts and investments.
Today, the Kochs are passing their baton of animal rescue to APS-FH and with that “baton” come some incredible gifts including two perfect banks of cat kennels. Kennels like these have been on our wish list for over two years! APS-FH has Community cat rooms that house several cats in one room. This is a wonderful way for most cats to be housed, but not every cat can be housed with other cats – these kennels will add that flexibility to our shelter environment to help keep the cats happy and healthy.

APS-FH is so grateful to have the friendship and involvement with the Kochs and the insight provided through the impressive Landscape Analysis they shared with us. We are honored to be chosen as the recipients of the baton and look forward to continuing their acclaimed tradition of saving lives.
A Picture Can Save a Thousand Lives!
Diana O’Brian, Volunteer Coordinator and Animal Care Specialist, has worked at APS-FH for seven years. As is common with those working in animal rescue, Diana and her husband, Jim, have quite a “pack” of animals at home: six dogs, two cats, five rabbits, one free-roaming blind raccoon (and her numerous offspring), and too many deer and fox to count. Diana and Jim also have three grown children and five grandchildren.

Have you ever wondered where all the great APS-FH animal photos and videos come from? That's Diana behind the camera. She takes the photos and videos during work at the shelter, but the hours of editing required to bring out the sweet and special attributes of each animal are done at home, on her own time. It is a labor of love.

Diana has been a life-long “photo-bug,” as she calls it. However, it was when Diana began working at APS-FH and came to understand what a good photograph can do for an adoptable animal, she said, “That is when I really "dialed-in" to pet photography.”

Here are a few photos from Diana's collection, click to enlarge.
Diana noticed that photos of the different shelter animals on “Pet Finder” were not representing them well. "They looked unnatural and terrified," she said. Diana began researching shelter photography – looking at other shelter websites to see what worked and did not work in their photos. Because of Diana’s experience and natural gift working with animals, they quickly relax around her. Thus, when Diana began taking the photos of APS-FH animals, everyone immediately noticed the difference. Diana was able to draw out even the most timid animals, and people were responding and adopting. Diana credits her volunteers with much of her success. “When I can capture the animals greeting, snuggling, and walking with people and kids, it really shows off all their great characteristics.”

Diana’s photography and videography talents and her keen eye and natural abilities have helped to capture the hundreds of beautiful eyes, adorable faces, and heartwarming adoptions that have taken place at the shelter over the years.

The animals at APS-FH benefit greatly from Diana’s dedication, and we know how lucky we are to have her talents at work for APS-FH.
Volunteer of the Month
The APS-FH is happy to announce Jim O’Brian as the Volunteer of the Month for March 2021. Since October 2015, Jim has volunteered his time doing basic building maintenance, acting as a parking attendant for many fundraisers, and BBQing for the shelter’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Picnic. He has also been known to restore furniture for Treasure Hounds, the shelter’s home furnishings resale store.

When shelter volunteers were furloughed, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jim did not think twice – he came up with the idea of making masks as a fundraiser. The masks were made available at Treasure Hounds for a donation of any amount. To date, Jim has made 958 masks and raised almost $8000 for APS-FH! When asked why he volunteers for the animal’s shelter, he simply replied, “because the animals cannot help themselves.”

Thanks so much, Jim, for making a difference in the lives of shelter animals. Your dedication and hard work are deeply appreciated.
Furry Factoid
Do you know? The proper term for a group of kittens is
a litter, a kindle, or an intrigue!
If you'd like to support the TNR Program or our other APS-FH programs, please click the button below.
shelter@apsfh.com • (360) 378-2159