Ferndale Cat Shelter’s Year of Success, Moments of Sadness

Ferndale Cat Shelter’s Year of Success, Moments of Sadness

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Jan 14, 2018)

Ferndale, MI – The love outweighed the heartache in 2017 for the Ferndale Cat Shelter and their network of volunteers and supporters. Though there was a mix of both.

Director of The Ferndale Cat Shelter Deanne Iovan talked about the rescue cases that are hard, but worth it.  In 2017 a four week old kitten named Monkey Pants was found in a yard by a dog. It had been badly injured and its body was full of infection. There was extensive debate about whether to amputate the creature’s leg or keep going through the healing process. A neighbor brought the kitten to the vet. Dr. Burke of Friends of Ferndale helped nurse the cat back to health with laser therapy on his legs to help the wounds heal faster.

After months of care and recovery, Monkey Pants went home to a high rise apartment in Downtown Royal Oak, before making another journey with his adoptive family to Nashville, where they keep in touch with Ferndale Cat Shelter via social media.

“You have to make life and death decisions a lot.  The budget is small.  Resources are limited.  We have to be judicious about how we use these resources,” Iovan said.  “When it’s a great outcome, like seeing Monkey Pants running around in a happy home, it keeps you going for the next month or so.”

Animals come in from hoarder homes, where cats may be fearful or competitive.  They come from abuse situations or sometimes just left out in the cold to die.  2017 began with rescuing a cat that had been severely abused and abandoned.  The vets did all they could, but little Phoenix did not wake up from the anesthesia required for the tests. They have seen several cats through surgeries, and healing from injuries.  Some cats have been without tails, legs or even missing an eye.

The Shelter also works with volunteers to do trap, neuter and release (TNR) of feral cats.  This year they focused in a neighborhood in SE Ferndale where they TNR’d a colony of about 20 strays.

Yet as hard as those situations have been, nothing prepared them for when four cats belonging to the Board Chairperson perished in a house fire.  Two of the cats had recently won Guinness World Records – one for being the tallest, the other for having the longest tail.  They had been not only a part of the family, but cats well-known to the shelter volunteers and to the whole community.

The owner, Will Powers, urged people to direct their support towards Ferndale Cat Shelter and their rescue efforts. For several new fur-parents, the story of the Powers’ loss was the tipping point in their decision to adopt a cat.   And the money coming in helped in efforts to adopt more cats than any previous year.

“That was devastating for all of us.  The generosity of Dr. Powers and the family has been unbelievable in light of what he suffered. For them to think of being generous to us in light of what they were going through, to be able to think that way, is very inspiring,” Iovan said.

In 2017 Ferndale Cat Shelter paired 419 cats with fur-ever homes.

“There are always those cats where you just don’t know if they will find a home,” Iovan said.  “Some kitties are extremely shy or this environment isn’t just for them and they’re not really happy. And people want happy kitties. But then someone will come in and that’s just the perfect cat for them.  It feels good to see the hard cases get homes.”

The Ferndale Cat Shelter has a network of foster homes, and operates the CatFe Lounge at 821 Livernois Ave, Ferndale, MI 48220.  They began in 2014 and opened the CatFe in 2015.  The group continues to grow each year as they refine their practices, find more foster homes and volunteers, and get better at fundraising and getting donations.

“There’s a lot to learn when you start a nonprofit, and we’re getting to that point where we are getting good at what we’re doing.  It’s all kind of grown at the right pace, and things are good.”  Because CatFes are relatively rare, Iovan gets calls from all over the country from people who want advice on how to open one.  She also networks with others who are doing it, mainly in New York and California.

There are always cats and kittens looking for homes.  The ones pictured here are 2017 success stories. To see the most recently available animals or to learn more about the Ferndale Cat Shelter go to http://catfelounge.com/.


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