Local organization looks for cat foster parents

cat_foster

“I am just an animal lover, and when I saw that the cats needed help in my neighborhood, that’s when I decided to try helping them by fostering,” she said.

Clark volunteers for Independent Animal Rescue (IAR), a nonprofit organization in Durham that finds foster homes across the Triangle for stray animals, primarily cats and kittens. The organization provides dry food, medicine and other supplies like cat toys to the foster families, while the families provide love and care to the cats.

Clark said the number of animals that need foster homes often outstrips the number of available foster families.

“Sometimes we will even have 50 kittens on our list waiting for a foster home, so we are always in need of people to be foster parents and to take these kittens to adoption events, medical appointments and find adoptive homes for them,” she said.

Clark is currently taking care of two 12-week-old kittens. She said one kitten was very sick when it was found in an apartment complex.

“She was starving and very dehydrated, and we had to take her on antibiotics,” Clark said. With the help of IAR’s volunteers, the cat’s condition got much better, and it is now gaining weight.

Mary Dow, a cat team leader at IAR, said that compared to dogs, it’s usually harder to find foster homes for cats.

“Some cats need more time spent on them to make them feel more comfortable, so they’re not so shy, and those are the cats that take longer to find foster homes,” Dow said.

Clark said feral cats are often trapped when they are very small, so volunteers socialize and tame them to make them adoptable.

Dow said the organization currently has about 100 volunteers and is hoping for more to step up. She said potential volunteers can fill out an application on IAR’s website and receive training from the organization.

In 2013, the Orange County Animal Services Department helped 2,279 animals find homes; the department euthanized 847 animals in the same period.

Drew Brinkley, Animal Services operations manager, said some animals found in the county might be euthanized because of health conditions, behavior problems or a lack of space, but space is not currently a big problem.

He said some families foster animals because they want the animals to be adopted, while some want to help with the animals’ medical conditions and give them a home environment to grow in.

“You have to have a specific goal in mind when you foster an animal,” he said.

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