Faribault’s SAFE Sanctuary opens homes to cats

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jun 25, 2014 in Rat News | Subscribe

Patty Caron was startled awake at 3 a.m. one morning last week to her one year old, 170-pound mastiff Thor jumping on her bed and crying for help.

Just a few feet away was a seven-pound domestic short-hair cat named 13, eyes focused on his prey, ready to pounce. He had decided then was the time to try to take the dog out.

Despite the ruckus, Caron — who founded SAFE Sanctuary as a dog rescue group eight years ago — and her team of foster homes will continue a new venture to help save area cats from euthanasia.

“We’re just trying to help where we can,” Caron said Monday morning.

It all began in January when SAFE foster parent Toni Johnson learned of a group of cats needing a warm place to stay while their temporary home — an impound building with the City of Owatonna — was being remodeled. Pictures of the cats were posted on SAFE’s Facebook page with a plea for people wanting a cat to go to Owatonna and adopt one that day.

By the time Johnson drove down to pick up a cat who was pregnant and couldn’t stay at the impound, there were only three other cats left.

Johnson, who has owned cats off and on since she was young, couldn’t resist.

“I called Patty on my way home and told her, ‘I took all of them,’” Johnson said. “She freaked out at first but then we knew we could use our network to find homes for all of them … So it was all kind of my fault.”

Caron said SAFE tried rescuing cats when the organization first started, but it got to be overwhelming for everyone.

“It’s really easy to get in over your head with cats,” she said. “So now we’re trying to be more careful and more responsible. We want to help but we need to do it the right way.”

SAFE is focusing its new cat rescue effort on impounds who have run out of space. Many times, that’s when the topic of euthanasia is brought up. SAFE was founded on preventing euthanasia — the acronym stands for Save Animals From Euthanasia.

“Those are the cats who don’t have a voice,” Caron said. “We need to be that voice for them, to protect them.”

SAFE took a few cats from an impound in Waseca as well.

Owner turn-ins will be considered depending on the situation and when space is available, Caron said. Feral cats will not be accepted as the risk for disease is too high.

SAFE has rescued 10 cats since January. Five remain in foster homes.

But because most of SAFE’s network is already filled with dogs, the search for foster homes is complicated. Some of the foster homes are with people who already owned cats and can only take in cat-safe dogs, Caron said. Other foster homes are already at their limit.

“We can only do what we have room for,” Caron said. “We all have dogs, and dogs sometimes kill cats. So we can’t foster all the cats that are in need of a home.”

SAFE isn’t the only local organization that takes cats.

Prairie’s Edge Humane Society takes in and adopts out felines, dogs, birds, ferrets and even pet rats. They had about 30 cats listed on their website as of Monday morning.

For a cat-centric rescue, Mary Thibodeau of Faribault has run PurrsnicKitty Cat Rescue for about three years.

In that time, Thibodeau estimates she’s rescued and adopted out nearly 200 cats and kittens. She currently has about 30 cats and is working to obtain a nonprofit status.

“It’s a problem that people have created, I think,” Thibodeau said. “I’ve seen cats dumped because they wrecked a piece of furniture. It’s about being responsible. Spay and neuter your pets, be responsible for them.”

A majority of the cats rescued are strays — though many are believed to have come from cats who have owners that don’t want to care for the offspring.

Reach reporter Rebecca Rodenborg at 333-3128, or follow her on Twitter.com @FDNRebecca

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