When Happy Cats first opened 3 years ago, we hoped to someday save a cat a day from the 5,000+ who were then euthanized in the Pikes Peak Region. In our first 12 months, we adopted out 135 cats and kittens, with another 30 or so safely waiting at the haven.
Our needs have grown with the number of cats we saved. While 87% of our budget goes directly to the kitties, we spent an average of $128 per cat on basic needs during their stay with us, including almost $40,000 in medical care. This year saw many medical exceptions, from Eileen who was found screaming in pain under a porch, requiring a leg amputation, to sweet Romeo whose teeth were so bad the infection had swollen the skull around his sinus. This was our first year in Colorado Gives and we will be using those donations to help pay for these bills.
We continue to be very grateful to our amazing 60+ volunteers. They clean and organize and foster and run events and adopt out and love, to the tune of 2-6 hours a day. There would be no Happy Cats without them! We also now have 3 part-time employees, including our Shelter Manager Allison DuVal, plus Sami Miller and Carole O’Connell.
We once again qualified for the Indy Give campaign in 2014, a partnership with the Colorado Springs Independent and the Pikes Peak Community Foundation to help out (mostly) small non-profits like us. We gathered $11,000 in donations from individual supporters and Samantha Martin and her Amazing Acro-Cats that were matched at 50 cents for every dollar. Yesterday we made our match, thanks to fabulous cat-loving people like you! While we do receive some funding from grants, our financial support overwhelmingly comes from individuals.
We continued to have fun and give back to everyone who keeps us going, with our girly Purr event with safron of Manitou in May, our Stargazer’s sellout with the Acro-Cats in August and ending the year with a blast (albeit an arctic one!) at our A-Cat-emy Awards in November. Thanks to everyone who came out and partied with us while helping out the kitties!
We held a few adoption fairs this year, but of course it’s very stressful for kittens (and especially cats) to attend these, especially outdoor ones. In lieu of that, we made kitty stand-ins and let them live in several of the Pikes Peak Library District’s libaries, our Cats in the Stacks partnership. Each kitty had a QR code that let people scan them for more info and many of our cats were adopted this way. We hope to make this an annual event.
Our kittens, who make up about two thirds of our population, of course came with the heftiest veterinary bills. We didn’t escape the Panleukopenia virus that hit all the rescues, losing at the shelter sweet Heidi, a catolescent found in a car motor. This shut us down completely while we tightened our already tight cleaning protocols even more. We had been told we would have 6 weeks in quarantine, but our volunteers and staff worked wonders, with the help of Aspenwood Veterinary Hospital and Dr. Putney of the Humane Society. We were able to open 3 weeks early without losing anyone else at the shelter, including a dozen vulnerable kittens who had just come in, though we lost some kittens in foster care.
We worked very hard to tell everyone about all our cats and kittens, with over 155,000 visitors to our redesigned website this year, over 1,500 Facebook friends, over 1,100 Pinterest pins and nearly 17,000 Twitter tweets! Along with the Independent, we partner with the Pikes Peak Bulletin, the Cheyenne & Woodmen Editions, the Colorado Springs Gazette and the Westside Pioneer to get out the word. Thanks to everyone who helps us with that!
Happy Cats continues to be a resource for all things cat in our community. We held classes on a near-monthly basis for Kitty Kindergarten, Click with Your Cat, Eat-Play-Love Cat Enrichment and for our volunteers, Shy Cat Handling. We fielded 20-30 calls a week from people with behavior problems, helping them to keep their cats in their homes and referring to Happy Cats friend and behavior consultant Melissa Shandley for the complicated cases.
We also take an average of 3 calls a week from people with community cats outside the focus of the Humane Society, referring them to Happy Cats friends Barbara Jones and Carmel Rooney for assistance with trapping and stabilizing their colonies. In 2014, we helped get 200+ cats and kittens spayed or neutered, thus preventing the senseless deaths of thousands of sick, scared and homeless felines. With a Best Friends Animal Society grant garnered by Sami Miller, we will be able to do even more for community cats in 2015.
Our happy stories see us through the challenges. One was sweet Luke, a young black adult who was thrown from a car at the community cat colony one of our foster moms manages. She got him inside and put him in with another foster boy named Kenzo while his head wound healed. Cat friends are rare at conventional shelters, but they happen all the time at Happy Cats. Luke was adopted with Kenzo and now they’re home for Christmas, cruel people a distant memory.
Peanut was a refugee from another shelter. Andy, 82 years young, had recently moved to Colorado Springs and was looking for a lap cat to keep him company. Peanut often stayed on the catwalk away from new people, but not with Andy. She purred and asked for tummy rubs and needless to say, went home with him that night. He dropped by the next day to say she’d already helped lower his blood pressure by over 50 points with the power of her purrs!
Tres was found with her siblings, starving in a homeless camp. A young family came to an adoption fair last summer and fell in love. We usually adopt out kittens with their siblings as it keeps them healthier. However, Tres–now Lucy–had a new full-time mom to keep her company when the kids were at school. She says, “Lucy gives everyone equal time, going from room to room, loves to play fetch and rubs my face with a kiss in the morning.”
Our new presence on the Colorado Gives website allows a recurring donation so anyone can help keep us going all year long. $10 a month buys kibble or litter for a kitty, $25 pays for a Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus Test and $50 pays for a spay or neuter. You can trust that we will stretch every dollar as far as possible to help another 380+ cats and kittens in 2015!
2014 at a glance:
- Number of cats & kittens who found their forever homes in 2014: 382, including –
114 adults, catolescents & special needs
- Cost per cat on average during their stay: $151
- Total number of cats & kittens who found refuge here in 2014: 433
- Approximate number of cats & kittens who were turned away: 800-1,000
- Number of people attending Happy Cats classes: 130+
- Number of community cats spayed or neutered with HCH help: 200+
- Number of needless cat deaths prevented: hundreds of thousands
- Cost for food & litter for a cat per month: $10
- Cost for a virus test per cat: $25
- Average cost for a spay or neuter: $50