KittyKind, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, all volunteer, no-kill cat rescue group serving New York City. Its goal is to rescue and heal homeless and abandoned cats and then find excellent adoptive homes for each of them. Though KittyKind cares for all types of cats, the organization has a unique commitment to “special needs” cats (cats with disabilities or other seeming impediment to adoption) and also works to promote the adoption of older cats.
KittyKind’s intake of cats comes occasionally from owners who are surrendering their cats, but mostly from Good Samaritans who find cats in the streets and from our network of dedicated rescuers who are instrumental in reducing the population of homeless cats through their “TNR” (trap/neuter release) efforts, and who rely on KittyKind to take in the cats friendly enough to become household pets. In that way, KittyKind is a “front line” rescue group, taking in cats before they end up in the city shelter or losing the battle of survival on the street. KittyKind is a member of the New York City Mayor’s Alliance for Animals and will take cats from the city shelters through the Alliance as well.
Our all-volunteer network consists of more than 160 volunteers, headed by a six-person (volunteer) Board of Directors. Our headquarters are located at our adoption center, inside the Union Square Petco in Manhattan. The adoption center also serves as a showcase for approximately 27 cats, while others await in the homes of rescuers and fosterers until space at the adoption center is available.
KittyKind volunteers serve on specific teams, for which they receive specialized training. Some of those teams include: (i) the Intake Team, which oversees the intake of all cats and provides advice for those looking to surrender a cat, in the hope that the cat can remain in its home; (ii) the Health Maintenance Team, which coordinates medical care and veterinary visits; and (iii) the Adoption Team, whose counselors screen and advise potential adopters and provide on-going follow-up after the adoption in a one-on-one relationship with the adopter. The largest group of volunteers is the Cleaning/Feeding Team: twice a day volunteers clean the 27 cages at the adoption center, replace bedding and litter, feed the cats, give individualized attention to each cat, and report all noteworthy observations to the Health Maintenance Team and adoption counselors.
KittyKind has an extensive network of foster homes, without which its rescue of nearly 600 cats annually would not be possible. These fosterers care for cats that are not ready for adoption for various reasons, such as those who are recovering from an illness or surgery, cats needing socializing, motherless “bottle-babies” who need round-the-clock care, recently rescued cats whose personality in a home needs to be assessed, and the like. Additionally, fosterers welcome cats who need a break from being caged at the adoption center for an extended period of time. Finally, KittyKind has a “foster with intent” program, which allows potential adopters to take a cat home on a short trial basis to make sure that the cat is the right fit for the family and home. This is often encouraged for adopters who have other animals at home or who are new cat owners.
The ultimate goal for KittyKind is not only to place cats in qualified and loving adoptive homes, but also to ensure that these placements last. To achieve this goal, KittyKind maintains strict adoption criteria, including a written application, interview, veterinarian reference check, and home visit, focusing on whether the decision to adopt a cat is made not only with love but also with an awareness of, and ability to take on, the responsibility of providing for a cat for its lifetime. KittyKind’s blog (friendsofkittykind.wordpress.com), the photos and updates shared by adopters through KittyKind’s Facebook page, and the return of prior adopters seeking another KittyKind cat all attest to the many happy endings that KittyKind’s rescue work has made possible.