CAT – Community/Cat Assistance Team
The Community/Cat Assistance Team (CAT) is a group of FieldHaven volunteers who respond to phone and email inquiries from the general public. The concept for the team evolved in late 2005 when we found ourselves in somewhat of a conundrum: our shelter capacity is very limited and we were having to turn away the majority of requests we received to surrender owned or stray cats. We did not want to tell people we could not help them without offering advice or guidance.
CAT was designed to triage the requests and provide as much assistance as possible.
Typical examples of the types of calls include:
- Having found a stray cat or litter of kittens
- Feral cats have taken up residence near their home or business
- Rehoming an owned cat
- Reporting lost/found cats
- Behavior problems with owned cats
- A family member with a cat has passed away or become dependent and can no longer keep the pet
- Financial assistance with spaying/neutering, vaccines
Calls and emails come in daily as trained CAT volunteers handle each inquiry on an individual basis. Resources and assistance are provided to every person, no matter what the situation is.
If the caller wishes to surrender a cat or has found a homeless cat in need of placement, we address each inquiry based on the details. When we are unable to accept the cat immediately, we provide them with the opportunity to utilize our website and adoption expertise.
If the cat meets the minimum requirements of being spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and blood tested, they may put the cat on our website in a courtesy posting, where the owner is the primary contact for potential adopters. They are also welcome to bring the cat to any of our outreach adoption events, where FieldHaven adoption counselors will assist in screening potential adopters. As space becomes available at the shelter or in a foster home, the owner is contacted.
In situations where behavior issues or other reasons prompt a surrender request, the CAT volunteer assesses the case and offers solutions where warranted. We have an extensive resource library on our website where we refer people to look for information and tips.
This methodology has been saluted by the public, our peers in animal rescue, veterinarians, and county officials. While we cannot take every animal in that we are requested to, we provide the public with advice, guidance and solutions.