By Alyssa Schnugg
The last year has been a busy one for 9 Lives Cat Rescue an all-volunteer rescue that attempts to control the feral and unwanted kitten population through spay/neuter and fostering programs.
In 2021, 9 Lives helped to spay and neuter 323 cats – 157 females, 111 males – and 19 dogs (eight females, 10 males). Another 37 cats were spayed and neutered at the Spay Day event in the spring.
“That translates into the reduction of over 1,000 unwanted kittens and puppies, hence avoiding intake at the local animal shelter,” said Natascha Techen, president of 9 Live.
Founded in 2006, 9 Lives is a nonprofit organization that operates solely through donations and adoption fees, with the help of volunteers.
“Our funding is exclusively through donations by our supporting and kind Facebook audience,” Techen said. “We have mostly online fundraisers (through Facebook) to help with expenses for cats with special medical needs such as amputations or eye removals. But we also ask for donations of food/litter that can be purchased through Chewy.com, where we have a wish list.”
9LCR has also helped with finding homes for unwanted cats, provided medical care for sick cats, and has hand-fed numerous orphaned kittens and sick cats.
“We have also helped to retrieve escaped cats by providing advice about how to get them back and has actually gone out and set humane traps to catch the ones that were too scared to go back home,” Techen said.
Using the trap and release system, 9 Lives often goes out to where there are feral cats reported, placing traps. Once the cats are caught, they are spayed/neutered and then released back to the area where they were found.
“Earlier this year I caught over 20 cats at a mobile home park in Oxford where the cats were multiplying uncontrolled,” she said. “We have set traps at several locations around Oxford – apartment complexes, doctors’ offices, car dealers, supermarkets, another mobile home park, subdivisions, drains, et cetera.”
Often, the cats come to 9 Lives sick or injured. The cats that are adoptable are treated and can cost about $200 per animal.
“Sometimes, it is just some antibiotics, but sometimes it is expensive — specialty food and medical care,” Techen said. “The adoption fee we charge does not cover the actual costs that we often face for the cat.”
Along with money, Techen said she needs volunteers to help with trapping, mostly in the evening.
“I don’t want to leave traps out unattended overnight, it is very stressful for the caught animal, so the earlier the cat is tended to once it is caught the better,” she said. “I find trapping very rewarding .. you help the animal by getting it spayed/neutered, finding it a loving home, or being able to return it to the owner who is heartbroken that the cat went missing.”
Fostering is also an important part of 9 Lives and more foster homes are needed. Cats and kittens often need to be socialized with other pets and humans before they can go to a forever home.
“Our cats depend on foster homes where they can be nursed back to health or grow until old enough to be spayed/neutered and adopted out,” she said.
Nine Lives holds regular adoption events at Petsmart in Oxford and relies on Bottletree Animal Hospital, Animal Care Center and Animal Clinic of Oxford for medical treatments and spay and neutering.
Techen said anyone who owns a cat can help just by taking steps to protect their own pets, including getting the pet microchipped and registered.
“It is an easy way to help reduce the workload at rescue groups and shelters,” she said. “If the pet were to get lost it can be quickly returned, often within a few hours.”
For more information or to make a donation, visit 9 Lives Cat Rescue on Facebook or on their website at http://www.ninelivescatrescue.com/. Send questions or comments to email@example.com.