It’s one of the best kept secrets in the Jefferson County area, but that was never its intention. Now, Homeless No More Cat Rescue (HNM) is trying to get the word out to the area about all it does for the community. It wants to see more volunteer involvement and hopes to parlay this increased interest into assistance for an improved facility.
In existence since 2012, at its current location at 509 4 th Street, Homeless No More has provided a temporary home for more than 100 cats in this time. Part of its mission is to find safe and secure permanent homes for the cats and it has been able to place more than 60 cats successfully in this five-year period. Originally created as a privately funded operation, HNM opted to become a non-profit organization in 2015 to better serve the animal population and allow for future improvements.
HNM is a no-kill rescue, which means that no cat or kitten is euthanized for space or health issues, unless it is a case in which suffering cannot be relieved. This also means that sometimes HNM cannot take in cats and kittens until placement is found for cats already in its care. HNM is not a city- or county-funded operation. It relies solely on donations and grant funding.
However, Homeless No More serves a much more important and critical role for animal welfare than most area residents know, according to President Gina Grone.
“Every cat that enters our facility is given a complete health examination, is vaccinated, tested for feline leukemia and FIV, and any needed care is administered. All cats are spayed or neutered as well as microchipped prior to adoption. We work with several area veterinarians to make sure all the animals receive all essential care,” she said.
“Because of our spay/neuter policy, we have helped control the population of lost/stray cats in Fairbury.
If each of the cats we have taken in over the years had gone out and each created just one litter, it’s possible there would have been more than 1600 kittens born over the years,” she added.
(Photos Contributed By Gina Grone)
Besides adoption of the cats, HNM also offers a foster program for individuals who can’t make a lifetime commitment to a cat or kitten, but can offer a temporary home. Foster homes are essential to the success of any rescue or shelter, and can include helping with orphaned kittens, special needs cats, or simply helping the rescue from getting overcrowded. HNM provides food and veterinary care for foster homes, unless the foster chooses to provide those as a donation (those expenses can be deducted as donations on tax returns).
With an eye to the future, Homeless No More board members are aiming for big goals, including moving to another location and implementing expanded community outreach and educational programs. Several fundraisers are planned for the near future including a dance and raffle. The benefit dance and silent auction set for Saturday, March 4 at the Elks Lodge will feature “Repeat Offenders”, a favorite local group.
Tickets, priced at $10, can be purchased at the Chamber office and from several board members. A raffle with select items will also be held this spring. HNM has on-going fundraising campaigns with Schwan’s Cares campaign(https://www.schwans-cares.com/campaigns/29973- homeless-no- more-cat- rescue-fundraiser), FlipGive online campaign (https://www.flipgive.com/campaigns/53332/), and a YouCaring campaign (https://www.youcaring.com/homelessnomorecatrescue-754331) aimed at funds for relocation.
The need is critical now for increased volunteer help and financial assistance to assure Homeless No More can carry out is mission and expand its purpose in the community. Having a solid facility and secure funding would allow HNM to provide community education programs, increase its adoption and foster programs, and create a pet food assistance pantry. Other potential services could include low-income spay/neuter assistance for owned pets, and also add a Trap-Neuter- Release (TNR) program for community cats to its mission.
“As excited as we are about those potential programs, they simply cannot happen without community support and without getting into a new facility,” Grone said.
A possible new location for the facility has been found, but funding is needed to obtain the property, make needed modifications and ensure a steady cash flow for operations.