Already a senior when he arrived at Street Cats shelter a number of years ago, Roman is now 16 years old.
He is one of “the elderly, the timid, the special needs cats who are so often overlooked and simply may never be adopted,” and have found a safe haven at Street Cats.
Street Cats Rescue has been providing shelter and adoption services for nearly 10 years.
At any one time, the “100 percent” volunteer-operated Rescue houses over 100 cats and kittens at its shelter and in foster care in the Barrie area, Innisfil and Georgina.
But now, Street Cats finds itself in “major financial trouble.” For the first time, it has launched a GoFundMe campaign, hoping to bridge a funding gap.
The fiscal shortfall is a result of circumstance, not mismanagement, Executive Director Carol Snow is quick to point out.
“We’re very financially responsible. We use a business model to run the Rescue, but we’re getting a little nervous about funds,” she said, explaining that as a “no kill” shelter, Street Cats keeps rescued animals that may be too old, or too sick, to be adopted out.
Only if the cat is suffering or terminally ill will it be humanely euthanized; otherwise, the shelter provides ongoing shelter and veterinary care.
“Each year, you start to accumulate the older cats and as they get older, they develop issues,” Snow said. “We have cats that need expensive surgery. We have many cats on expensive special diets, special medication.”
Street Cats does charge an adoption fee, and holds a variety of fundraisers, including bake sales, garage sales, and a very successful online auction, to help cover its costs.
"We find ourselves hand-to-mouth," said Snow. "We have rent to pay, we have heat and hydro. We have veterinary bills. We can’t be running with no money in the bank.”
Compounding the financial stress is the fact that it’s now coming into “kitten season,” when feral and abandoned cats may be having litters. There are also several older cats in care in need of surgeries that are currently being delayed.
“I don’t want to say we have a cat that can’t go in for surgery, because we don’t have the money,” Snow said. “These are our cats - they’re not just rescue cats.”
The GoFundMe campaign, launched on May 9, has a target of $25,000 – enough to cover the outstanding backlog of surgeries, and “allow us a little bit of breathing room,” said Snow.
So far, the campaign has raised over $4,300.
“We’re thrilled,” Snow said. It's money we didn’t have before."
But she’s still hoping the community will continue to give generously to help Street Cats meet its target, so that cats like Roman can continue to have a safe haven.
For more information, see Street-Cats-Animal-Rescue on Facebook, and check out their GoFundMe page.