When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, animal shelters nationwide had to act quickly to find foster homes to house their animals. But in that temporary response to a crisis, Morrison …
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How to foster
To apply to foster kittens through the Colorado Feline Foster Rescue, visit www.coloradofelinefosterrescue.org/apply-to-foster and hit the application link.
How to adopt
A list of available cats and kittens can be found at coloradofelinerescue.org. An application, which is required to start the adoption process, can be found on the website as well. Adoption fees are $100 for young kittens under five months ($140 for two), $70 for kittens five months to one year ($120 for two) and $40 for adults (over one year).
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, animal shelters nationwide had to act quickly to find foster homes to house their animals.
But in that temporary response to a crisis, Morrison resident and longtime shelter volunteer Cari Dicke saw an opportunity to do things better permanently.
“We had these cats who had been in the shelter for years and suddenly we put them into a home and they blossom and they are these great cats,” said Dicke. “So we thought why don’t we start a rescue where everything is done from a foster home and that way the cats and kittens never have to set food in a shelter and are never in a cage.”
So in July of 2020, Dicke and three other women who live in the Denver area and had been involved in fostering cats did just that by launching Colorado Feline Foster Rescue, an organization that takes cats into foster homes with the aim of ultimately finding loving permanent homes for them.
The organization, run out of Dicke’s home, took off immediately with around 700 cats and kittens being adopted in the first year. It currently works with 60 households that serve as foster homes. The organization generally has anywhere from 80-140 cats at a time in its network of homes.
“It took off a lot quicker than we thought it would,” said Dicke. “And we’ve done a lot more than we thought we would but the demand was there.”
Dicke says moving relinquished cats directly into foster care makes sense not only because it keeps cats out of cages but also because it gives people a chance to see what the cats are like in a home environment which increases the likelihood that an adoption will be successful. The cats are also able to enjoy an easier transition to adoption, which is helpful for both the cat and whoever adopts it.
Among those who can attest to that is Heidi Korpela, who said she has fostered more than 30 cats since getting started with the rescue last year. She said she initially worried about the emotional toll that watching the cats eventually would leave but said any sadness is outweighed by the joy of finding them the right home.
“There hasn’t been one kitten I have sent out my door who I wasn’t sure was just going to have the best life,” said Korpela, who said she reviews adoption applications that come into the organization to see whether there might be a match with any of her cats.
But while the work of fostering is deeply rewarding it also comes with challenges.
At about 1 a.m. on July 19, Dicke received a call from a woman in north Denver who had just seen a mother cat be killed by two dogs in the street. The woman knew the cat and that it had five kittens, which she brought to Dicke that afternoon.
While three of the kittens adjusted just fine, two of them exhibited signs of what a vet later confirmed was likely a neurological virus, including constant shaking and rolling.
“When she picked them up, they were screaming and they screamed all night long and then they screamed at my house for the next two days non-stop because they were so traumatized,” she said.
But thanks to bottle feedings and antibiotics, the two sick kittens have started to improve enough that Dicke said she was now hopeful she would be able to find a permanent home for them once they reach around two-and-a-half pounds and can be spayed and neutered.
“That’s the goal,” she said. “As long as a kitten can eat on its own and use the litter box and function OK there is no reason it can’t have a normal life.”
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