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Felines and Friends Gives a Second Chance to Shelter Cats Looking for a Home

By S. Mathur

The mission of Felines and Friends Second Chance Rescue and Placement is simple, though the work is not. Felines and Friends is "dedicated to rescuing and placing pets in need of a second chance; working towards zero pet overpopulation by facilitating low-cost spay/neuter; and improving the lives of both companion animals and their owners through on-going education."

Executive Director Bobbi Heller says that spay and neuter programs can make a difference in reducing the pet population: "Some states, such as Colorado, have been so successful with mandatory sterilization, that they accept cats and dogs from surrounding states for placement." The key to success is to make this a statewide mandate and not just city by city or county by county. Statewide laws can be enforced by any agency, making them far more effective.

In fact the euthanasia rate of dogs and cats have been dropping all across the nation, thanks to groups like Felines and Friends. Another benefit of mandatory sterilization laws would be to shut down backyard breeders who contribute to the pet overpopulation problem, says Heller: "Only registered breeders would be exempt from mandatory sterilization, resulting in "back yard breeders" as they are known being shutdown, which currently contribute to pet overpopulation because so many of these purchased animals end up in shelters or have mixed breed litters who perpetuate the cycle."

Felines and Friends works with local shelters to rescue pets who are difficult to place. With a comprehensive adoption screening process, they have a reputation for being able to match pets to people. They also have a strict return policy if owners cannot meet their commitment to care for the adopted pet. Since Felines and Friends was founded in 2002, they have helped find homes for more than four thousand cats and dogs.

Heller says that "Our organization is 'guaranteed placement' which means that no cat is euthanized for space or behavior. The only time we make the difficult decision to let a cat go is if it is suffering and nothing more can be done for it." Felines and Friends does not have a shelter but relies on foster homes to care for kittens who are too young to be adopted or older cats who are harder to adopt because of health or behavioral issues.

Pete available for adoption can be found at the Adoption Center located inside Petco on Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, and on the website. Felines and Friends relies on volunteers. Anyone wanting to help is welcome, and can find a volunteer application on Heller adds that "We have a variety of opportunities ranging from cat care at our Adoption Center, to transport, to administrative tasks. A commitment of 2-4 hours per week is generally what is required and can make a huge difference in the lives of the cats we help."

Felines and Friends is a private non-profit organization and relies entirely on donations. The Godpurrents Program allows people who would like to help, but cannot adopt or foster, to pay for foster care on a monthly basis.

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