LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth
Just Us - Pat, Kathy and a Whole Lot of Litters
|by Stefani Deoul|
|It all began the day Pat Riordan heard a sound from under her deck. She approached with trepidation, knowing what the answer would be. Yep. It was the dreaded reality that some stray cat had decided that giving birth to a litter of kittens directly underneath her deck was a great idea.
Not knowing what to do with this newfound family, Pat asked around and was fortunate enough to be put in touch with Bob Harrison. Now Bob Harrison was a Maryland guy who spent weekends in Delaware. In his own neighborhood, Bob was in the throes of attempting to stem the tide of feral catsa battle he was slowly winning with some help from Cindy Sharpley and her organization, Last Chance Animal Rescue. But that gets us ahead of ourselves.
Bob gave Pat some pointers and not only did this family survive, but Pat found homes for the mother and all the kittens in that litter. However, this situation and conversations with Bob brought home the sad reality for so many cats in our area and Pat feeling a need to do more, volunteered with the Dewey Beach Feral Cat Rescue. And there, Pat met Kathy Askew. More than just another volunteer, Kathy is both a retired nurse and a third generation legatee of animal rescueher grandmother was the president of the SPCA in New Jersey.
Over time, Pat and Kathy realized that Dewey Beach Feral Cat Rescue was doing a great job for Dewey Beach, but people were calling from Rehoboth Beach and Lewes and it was too much for Dewey to handle. And thus, we get to Just Usa non-profit cat rescue founded by Pat and Kathy.
Both its mission and operation are quite simple. By rescuing a litter we can alleviate the feral cat problems plaguing our area and do it with happy endings. A rescued litter is given shots and socialized. When they are ready (generally at about eight weeks) they are brought to our local Concord Pet on Wednesday mornings at eight o'clock where they (and other rescues from additional organizations) are placed into carriers and taken to a clinic in Maryland to meet the aforementioned Cindy Sharpley and Last Chance Animal Rescue. There they are vetted again and spayed or neutered. And finally, due to Cindy's amazing work and remarkable partnership with PETsMART, these kittens (and cats) are taken and put up for adoption. Last year alone, with twenty-five participating Last Chance/PETsMART affiliations, over one thousand Delaware cats were saved through this program and the efforts of groups and their volunteers such as Just Us.
The work is never-ending. One unspayed female cat can produce well over 100 kittens in a lifetime. Do the math forward and it's not a pretty picture.
But Pat and Kathy are trying hard (along with other rescues and volunteers) to stem the flow and hopefully reverse Rehoboth Beach's feral cat problem in the most humane of ways, by getting them homes. The most refreshing part of their organization is how very practical and forthright they are. 1) They don't need more calls for cats todayat this time, they are full. But if you need to call, they will answer their phone. 2) They could most assuredly take more on with a little help from new friends. While all donations of cash are appreciated (they are a registered non-profit), their donation wish list would also include drivers that can commit to one run a month, gas gift cards to off-set the cost of the trips, cat food, kitty food, kitty litter, paper towels, baby food (strained meat, chicken or turkey only), carriers, cat toys. 3) Peoplegive them a half hour a weekclean cages, laugh and play with kittens (and if you have any light carpentry skills and can replace a window, that would be great). 4) If you can foster a litter, please do so. Fostering would be taking in a family of kittens (4 or 5) and having them as your guests for three to four weeks. This allows four-six week old kittens to transition and mature before their trip south while giving Just Us more space for newborn litters. 5) Last but definitely not least, Pat and Kathy want you to know they have a kitten to match you. So if you're thinking about adding a kittenor twoto the family, please call them.
Finallybecause we all know a picture is worth a thousand words...
To Donate to Just Uscontact Just Us, c/o Pat Riordan, 110 Cullen Street, Dewey Beach, Delaware, 19971 Tel: 302-245-7666.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 18, No. 09 July 11, 2008