Updated: Nov 2, 2019
Previously, cat shelters that have been donated to rescue groups and feral colonies have not been made to last or reused. Sometimes these are what the groups can put together last minute to in order to keep animals from freezing to death. These groups work tirelessly to do everything they can to save as many lives as possible, with limited resources at their disposal.
I dedicate as much support as I can to groups across the country. I work with my local TNR groups (trap, neuter, release) whenever possible, wherever possible. Due to the limited access, availability and the previous shelter designs, months of planning may go into a single round of TNR and feral shelter checks. In 2019 during one of these rounds I had a profound experience which lead me, here.
While on site clearing shelters, my friend and I noticed a stench and flies coming from inside one of the shelters. This was during the spring and already the temperatures were rising. We feared for the worst and I have to admit, I didn't have the heart to look inside the shelter. My friend took a deep breath and flashed her light inside inside. At first it seemed our deepest fears were recognized, we were too late.
These shelters were designed to allow cats in, not to be opened again. It took 15 minutes of panicked work for us to pry open the shelter. In the end the shelter was open, yet destroyed and lying inside were five dead kittens plus one unexpected find.
Her eyes not yet even open, a tiny kitten snuggled up to her brothers and sisters. This was when I met Tabitha, her mother had been killed attempting to get food and never able to return to her.
As the only one with bottle and formula on hand, I always have some with me, I grabbed Tabitha and rushed her to the vet. In the next few days she went to the care of a wonderful foster and I am happy to say that she is happy, healthy and in her forever home.
Tabitha made me realize that we could do better, that I could build better and The Tabitha Project was born.
Part of The Tabitha Project are the design kits for these all-weather cat shelters. The goal is to get these in the hands of as many rescues, colonies, TNR's and people who want to help as possible.
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