by Michele Aversa
In February, we brought you Invisible Hero Rescues Invisible Population a story about local no-kill cat shelter Focus on Ferals (FOF). Due to the success of the shelter, they are bursting at the seams! Unfortunately, this success has put them at capacity and they’ve recently been forced to turn people away. There just isn’t enough space to house all the cats in need.
When Gina Marvin started FOF in 2005, she had no idea how desperate the community was for help. She began doing Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR consists of the humane trapping, sterilization, and return of feral cats to their familiar habitat) and then agreed to house in her garage some friendly stray cats for possible adoption. Before long, she had to find a new facility. Marvin found what is now the shelter’s adoption center on Knapp in Grand Rapids. But the desperate requests just kept coming. Recently, she received a call from someone who witnessed a kitten being thrown from a moving car. The witness saved the kitten and contacted Marvin for medical help and shelter.
FOF is currently a multi-location facility. The Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is done out of Lowell, the adoption center is in Grand Rapids, and there are foster families throughout West Michigan. Managing an organization spread throughout the community is a difficult task.
They have an chance to change that. A local businessman presented FOF with a fantastic opportunity to rent space in his building in the Byron Center area. Marvin explains, “This building is 2,600 plus square feet and would allow us to consolidate our TNR program (spay/neuter, rehab, and new intake services), along with our Adoption Center, into one amazing facility. We would have plenty of space for adoptables, a bathroom, a washer/dryer, office, heat/air, everything we need to be self-sufficient! We have long since outgrown our current Adoption Center. It only houses 25 cats comfortably. Yet we consistently have 50-100 cats in the program. And my home has served well as the TNR center.”
Trap-Neuter-Return is the “less glamorous” aspect of the program, but just as vital. Marvin states, “we do the greatest good for the greatest number of ferals by stopping the cycle of reproduction.” One example is “Clara’s Colony.” Clara, who lives in the county, constantly had cats dumped on her property. The cats eventually started breeding, many were sick. She contacted FOF for help. In time 13 cats were fixed and returned to colony and 23 kittens were pulled for adoption.
But Marvin can’t do it alone. She is asking for help from the community – the community that wants and needs the services that FOF provides. Being a no-kill shelter, the cats that are in FOF’s program stay in the program for as long as it takes to get adopted –months or years if necessary. But this means Marvin cannot continue to accept cats in need unless she can secure this new facility.
With a deadline of April 15 looming, FOF is still under 50% of the goal and the clock is ticking.
“We are asking for your help in the form of on-going monthly donations. Even a small amount such as $10-20 each month will make this possible, if we have enough people to get on board.” The agency even has donation options of $2 and $5!
For as little as the price of one gourmet coffee a month, a tank of gas or a hamburger at McDonalds, you too could become a hero by helping out a hero. If you want like to help Marvin and the hundreds of cats each year that live safer and healthier lives because of her program, please go to this link: http://www.focusonferals.org/donate/monthly-donations-focus-ferals-no-kill-shelter/
For more information, visit their website: http://www.focusonferals.org
Or their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FocusOnFerals