Caring for our community kittens

Rescue Village has made some important changes to how we manage the large number of calls we receive every year about what to do with orphaned, sick or injured kittens.

Every year hundreds upon hundreds of people call us wanting to bring in orphaned, sick or injured kittens they found under their porch or in their neighborhood. Because sick and injured animals take priority, in years’ past people calling to surrender outdoor, healthy kittens would go on a waiting list a mile long. To help manage the volume of calls received, Rescue Village recently added a Kitten Surrender Form to our website for people to fill out when they are unable to take in and care for kittens they find.

People who find kittens want immediate help, and anyone can understand why, especially in the winter when they are most vulnerable.  While we can’t take them all in immediately due to space and resources, many are willing to care for the kittens until we do have space. We provide the public with information on the homepage of our website for how to determine the kitten’s age, if they are truly orphaned and in distress, and how to care for neo-nates who need to be bottle fed. A great deal of what we do is having conversations with people about the best options in that urgent moment, and each case is different. We spend time having long discussions with people to ensure they fully understand their options and answer any questions they might have. We provide resources to ensure they are comfortable caring for the kittens temporarily until we have space available and give supplies to do so if necessary.

There are many, however, that understandably cannot care for these kittens until we have space available. In those cases, we will do our best to bring the kittens in as soon as possible and find foster placement for them. While we used to have what we term as “kitten season”, for the past few years it seems the season has turned into more of a year-round issue. The new form will allow our intake department to electronically track all of the inquiries for people looking for assistance and get them through the system more efficiently. It will also allow us to track the geographic areas we are seeing the greatest need for help and provide us with better statistics on exactly how many inquiries we received and were able to assist with and in what way.

“We feel that by using this new online form, we will be able to keep better track of who is out there in need of help and get them in quickly, thereby saving more lives and helping more people in our community,” said Dee Dee Dicesare, Intake Coordinator.

Along with the new form, our cat team will be more involved with kittens throughout the foster process by assigning staff members to kittens that need to go into foster as their Kitten Caseworker. This new role for members of our cat team not only frees up our foster care coordinator, it allows our cat department to be more involved and informed throughout the foster timeline and adoption process. Overall, this new role will have a greater impact on providing more immediate community assistance. By placing more kittens into foster homes with caseworkers, we can accept more kittens in a timely manner.

With so many processes having to go virtual in 2020, Rescue Village created and implemented other online forms, such as adoption applications for small, pocket pets and barn animals. With our workforce still under the norm due to COVID, these online forms help staff get all the information they need up front and tracked electronically for quick, easy reference and follow-up.

Changes were also made to our website. We’ve added links to our homepage for the most critical needs so that people don’t get discouraged by not being able to navigate properly or knowing where to find what they need. During COVID, and while our doors still remain closed to the general public, for those that aren’t computer savvy, or that might not have access to a computer, our Welcome Desk volunteers will fill out forms for callers over the phone.

With the help of so many new foster homes, new forms, new roles for staff, we are proud to stay innovative and change with the times to accommodate the needs of our community and the animals.

January 27th, 2021