You can make a HUGE difference! Fostering an animal is a simple, direct way to impact the world in a positive way. C.A.T.S. makes it easy: we supply the food, medical and anything else you need. All you have to do is open a room in your home to an animal desperately in need. The fosters we’ve worked with over the years will tell you that it’s one of the best experiences they’ve ever had. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
We have so many adorable, sweet kittens available for loving, forever homes. They are all being lovingly cared for in private foster homes, being socialized to make perfect family pets. If any of our babies catch your eye, our first step is to fill out our online application. Someone from our group will be in touch right after we get the app — but if you have any questions in the meantime, call our shop at (201) 666-5444 or email us at email@example.com.
Twenty years ago, I took on a mission that would change my life: on March 29, 1995 Caring About The Strays (C.A.T.S.), Inc. was registered as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Now, two decades later, I proudly reflect on what C.A.T.S has become!
Looking back, there have been so many high points: thousands of animal rescues and adoptions (including a horse named Tommy). The Resale Shop has grown, helping support our mission. I was honored by an award from the SPCA. And of course, there have been the hundreds of educational and fundraising events which have made C.A.T.S. an organization that changes lives – quite literally. Naturally, there have been some sad times as well, such as the passing of many key volunteers (who were also dear friends), as well as some very special animals.
The last 20 years have been filled with many challenges, but C.A.T.S.’ greatest triumph has been our transformation from a small volunteer rescue into a growing animal welfare resource. With our tireless volunteers and year-round resale shop, we’ve become a second chance at life.
In our early years, we quickly saw the need to involve more volunteers with special skills – from medical knowledge to retail experience to web builders –and that has become our strength. Our skilled, dedicated and compassionate volunteers have allowed us to increase our presence in the community, and demonstrate our love for homeless animals in many practical ways. Working with each of you has been a distinct honor.
I thank all of the board members, legal representatives, veterinarians, and hospital staff, sponsors, adopters, and the wonderful volunteers I’ve been privileged to work shoulder-to-shoulder with: each of you have played a significant part in our achievements. You’ve given your time and knowledge so freely, and have been financially generous as well.
There’s no doubt that, without our dedicated supporters and friends, we would not have been able to stay on this mission. Every donation, no matter the size, has made an impact. I do regret that I have not always adequately shown each of you how much your generosity has meant to our work. There are just not enough hours in some days to fit in all that I want to do for the organization. Also, the kind notes you have sent me over the years with expressions of gratitude and encouragement have served to recharge me. I appreciate all your words and support very much.
Together we do make a difference, and I hope to head into our third decade with your support. Our next goal is a new facility, something that can improve our ability to reach a larger population of abused, abandoned, injured and homeless animals. And –as we have proven in the past 20 years– with a strong circle of support and a good deal of initiative, anything is possible.
Lastly, to our thousands of rescued animals: I thank them the most for their loyalty, appreciation, and willingness to continue to give unconditional love despite the many hardships they’ve faced.
From the bottom of my heart (and on behalf of our animals’ hearts), thank you for helping the C.A.T.S. rescue organization these past 20 years! With your ongoing support, we will continue our mission of animal rescue, welfare, and raising awareness far into the future.
Sincerely and gratefully,
It was a busy day on April 21st, as C.A.T.S. volunteers and the medical staff of Franklin Lakes Animal Hospital worked to spay and neuter a number of cats in our area who otherwise might not have been. All told, 49 cats were altered, including some feral cats. This will go a long way to helping reduce overpopulation and its sad consequences. Below are some photos of this great day. C.A.T.S. wants to thank everyone who helped this event, and the wonderful staff of FLAH who made it possible. 1) FLAH staff and C.A.T.S. volunteers helping revive the kitties. The device with the hose blows warm air onto a pad to help warm the animals up and bring them around after the surgery. They got mani-pedi’s while they were still under! 2) Some pet parents taking their fur babies home after a long day. All patients got ice cream that night (not really). 3) Dr. Alan Pomerantz of Franklin Lakes Animal Hospital attending to one of his furry patients. All told, 49 animals were treated.
Published in Community Life • 10/11/2012 • Kathryn A. Burger
Lynn Cancro has been the driving force behind Caring About The Strays – C.A.T.S. – since she formed the nonprofit organization 17 years ago. The resale shop on Kinderkamack Road is really her “second home” and the temporary home of the some of the many abandoned, rescued and unwanted companion animals – mostly cats – that the organization takes in. The goal is finding all of them, “forever homes,” where they will be cared for, loved and appreciated.
She grew up Jersey City and now lives in Passaic County. She spoke lovingly of her parents, who immigrated to the U.S. as children during the Depression, her father from Prussia and her mother from Germany.
“My father was a baker and had a shop in Jersey City and we lived above the store,” she said. The “we” included her two older sisters. “I had a wonderful childhood. I had lots of aunts and uncles and cousins. But I couldn’t have any pets because the Board of Health didn’t allow it.”
When she was 13, her father died and her mother sold the bakery and the family moved to Bergenfield where her aunt and uncle lived.
Lynn said, “I’ve more than made up for not being able to have pets when I was child,” referring to the strays she and the volunteers at C.A.T.S. foster and place in loving homes.
Her own current pets include her dog, Donald, a rescued mixed breed who she’s had for three years, and two cats, Wolfgang, who is 21 years old and Leibling, who is 17.
Q: Why did you start C.A.T.S.?
A: I was living in an apartment complex that had a somewhat transient population – many people moving in and out. Some of them just left their cats behind. I’d see them at the door of their former homes waiting to be let in. I just couldn’t fathom how people could treat animals that way. They just threw them away like trash. I took a few of them in, and that’s when the “light bulb” went off and I decided I’d try to do something on a bigger scale.
I started doing some research. I’d worked with the volunteers at the old Pascack Valley Hospital and knew that they’d started a thrift shop as a way to raise money to support it. That was a great way to get the community involved. So I decided that’s what I’d do to raise money to establish C.A.T.S.
There was a colony of cats behind the hospital and one of the hospital trustees and her daughter would TNR them – that’s Trap, Neuter, Release. So I was learning about the magnitude of the problem [in the Pascack Valley]. I’d met Jeanne Thalmann, who was the manager of the hospital’s thrift shop and she became my mentor. I learned so much from her and just went with it. Jeanne was a volunteer at our resale shop and she was just wonderful.
Q: What do like most about your work?
A: Saving a life.
Q: What do you like least?
A: Not being able to help. Having to say we don’t have any more room. We do our best but there has been an explosion of abandoned pets because of the economy. We have to refer some of our callers to other groups because we can’t help – it’s the saddest thing. Right now we only have three people who foster pets for us and we need more. We supply everything so there is no cost at all.
Q: Where is your favorite place to relax?
A: My backyard. I enjoy being outdoors.
Q: Do you have a hobby?
A: I like to play tennis and I like to watch tennis.
Q: What is your favorite book?
A: All of Charles Dickens’ stories. He always shows the worst and the best in people.
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Q: Do you have a pet peeve?
A: People who call up and have an animal they want to get rid of and don’t have any real connection with the animal. They sound angry and say things like, “If you don’t take her today, I’m putting her to sleep.” Some people can be very aggressive like that.
Q: What are you most proud of?
A: Forming C.A.T.S. and that it encompasses so much – the community that donates items that might otherwise wind up in a landfill, so I’m proud to be helping the environment. I’m proud of all the lives that been saved over the past 17 years.
December 19, 2007
BY Kathryn A. Burger of Community Life
Caring About the Strays, a non-profit organization that finds homes for stray, surrendered and abandoned kittens and cats, operates the C.A.T.S. Resale Shop at 80 Kinderkamack Road, Westwood, to support that mission and to raise funds to establish a no-kill cage-less animal shelter in the area.
“For every birth of a human baby, seven puppies and 15 kittens are born,” Lynn Morchel, of C.A.T.S. said. “There are just not enough homes for the animals born each day. By spaying and neutering pets, owners will be doing their part to help end this tragic cycle. There are many loving, loyal, affectionate animals in shelters, foster homes, and on the streets fending for themselves. Ultimately, many of the latter die miserably. Area no-kill rescue groups are doing their best to handle the ever-increasing number of stray and abandoned pets. Some shelters are forced to euthanize healthy, sweet, animals – young and old – due to space constraints.”
If, after careful consideration, the decision is made to bring a new pet into the home, C.A.T.S. offers some advice.
Once the decision to adopt a pet has been made, C.A.T.S. recommends pre-adoption.
If there is a lot of commotion in the house – children, holiday gatherings and parties, and/or other pets, C.A.T.S. suggests pre-adopting a pet from your local rescue group or shelter and bringing the animal home after the holiday festivities. If parents are planning to surprise their child with a pet, there are several ways to accomplish that without having the pet there on Christmas morning. A photo of the pet, a dog or cat bed, or appropriate pet toys, can be wrapped and tagged for the child to open. Adopting a pet can be a family experience: caring for an animal in need that will be considered a member of the family.
For those who choose to bring the pet home at holiday time, it is important to keep a watchful eye on them.
Pets new to the home may find an open door – when guests arrive, or when deliveries are made, for example – a chance for an adventure. They may run out, not realizing the consequences. If guests are expected, it might be best to keep pets secured in another part of the home. It is also advisable to keep chocolate, small toy parts, tree trimmings, poinsettia plants, and other items pets may find enticing, out of their reach.
A home that is quiet and low-key would be a good place for an adopted pet to be welcomed into one’s family.
One special cat would be very happy to have a home for the holidays, and the rest of his life, is Beckett. After being abandoned, and then hit by a car, he was rescued by Kim Carbone, a volunteer at C.A.T.S. [Carbone was profiled in a feature article in the Sept. 26 edition of Pascack Valley Community Life.] His broken jaw has been wired and mended and he is ready for his “forever home.” He doesn’t get along with other animals, but would be a wonderful companion for someone who only wanted one cat to hug. He’s the “curling up in your lap” kind.
Adopting a cat with FIV or FeLV
Kittens and cats with special needs are often overlooked. C.A.T.S. advises that neither the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus nor the Feline Leukemia Virus are transmittable to other species. Under the right circumstances, these cats can live normal, long, healthy lives. Morchel said, “By keeping their stress levels low and feeding them a nutritious diet of foods that do not contain by-products or fillers, they can live a very long time.
Cats with FIV can share a home with cats that don’t have the disease. This disease is spread from blood to blood contact. They can share the same food bowl, drink from the same water bowl, and groom each other without spreading it. Out in the wild when cats are not neutered and are fighting for their territory or mating is when the disease is transmitted via a deep penetrating bite wound. Tame cats that are neutered and share a home are not in these types of situations” (For more information see www.bestfriends.org/theanimals/petcare/cats_fiv.cfm).
Cats that are FeLV positive do need to be kept separate from cats who are negative because it can spread through litterboxes and other means. Those who are considering adopting one cat and have no other cats are asked to consider one with leukemia. Many of these cats are overlooked by those seeking to adopt, but C.A.T.S. advises they are still able to give lots of love and will be forever grateful for their chance at life.
September 26, 2007
BY Kathryn A. Burger of Community Life
There is never a shortage of rescued animals in need of permanent homes. Rescuers who eschew traditional shelters where hundreds of animals are euthanized every year in favor of an organization that has a no-kill policy, know they can count on C.A.T.S. to take in the animals they’ve rescued.
One such rescuer is Kim Carbone, of the township. This young woman has been officially “rescuing” for about three years, although she actually began as a little girl. “I’ve always cared for animals and rescued them with my mother since I was a little girl. She’d keep dog biscuits in the glove compartment of the car in case she found a stray.”
And while these rescues were to influence her volunteer work as an adult, it was her successful battle against cancer as a youngster that she feels guided her efforts. “I nearly died during a bone marrow transplant in 1992,” she said. After her recovery, she said she began wondering why, “she was spared when other kids weren’t so fortunate.” She believes she found the reason. “Now I know why, and the job I need to do is to take care of God’s creatures.” That belief is confirmed each time she rescues an animal — and she does it frequently.
THE DEFINING MOMENT
She said she started rescuing cats in earnest because of a job. “I started a job in Fort Lee and cats were all over, roaming the streets, homeless, abandoned and also in feral colonies. [Feral is used to describe domestic cats that have returned to the “wild” and live without human attention.]” Concerned about this and wanting to prevent litters from developing, she did her research on how to go about it and then, she said, she, “went off on my own to save the ones that crossed my path.” And that is how it all began. She helped relocate 50 cats that had been living on the former Helmsley property near the George Washington Bridge . “Then, my name and phone number got around and spread like wildfire. When I helped one person, that person gave my number to another in need of help with feral cats.”
Feral cats cannot be adopted. The best rescuers can do is “TNR” them — Trap, Neuter, Release. But kittens found with adult feral cats can be. Her connection to C.A.T.S. was solidified when she was called to an apartment complex, again in Fort Lee , to TNR about 30 cats. “I rescued about 20 kittens from there and they were all adopted out by C.A.T.S.” She joined C.A.T.S. because, “they are a caring group and they really try to help others.”
In all, Cabone has taken care of close to 200 cats. “Some I’ve found homes for, some [ferals] have been neutered and secured outdoors with shelter and a steady supply of food.”
THE STORY OF CHARLIE
Carbone shared this story of a recent rescue. An older couple from Hillsdale called the C.A.T.S. Resale Shop and asked for help trapping four kittens, and some feral cats for TNR. “When I got there, there were four four-week-old kittens stuck in between two rotted fences. The mother had hidden them there while she went looking for food. I took them right away but the mother cat saw me so I trapped her, too. I got her spayed and released her back there. The four kittens were adopted out through C.A.T.S.
“But the couple told me told me about another cat. They said he was friendly and always hanging around so they fed him. They said a woman who had lived across the street had been feeding him for about 10 years but she had moved away a few months before. The couple said the cat would wait by their door, waiting to come in, but they didn’t want pets in the house. I told them I’d be back for him when I could.”
Then, a short time later, she got a call from the couple — something had happened to the cat. His back was raw. They said crows had been swooping down on him, pecking his back and he couldn’t fight back. They begged her to come, and, of course, she did.
“I carefully picked him up and brought him to the Bergen Animal Hospital in Teaneck where Dr. [Harriet G.] Lederman took such wonderful care of him.” All through the extensive examination — including taking blood and checking his teeth — he was purring. “Dr. Lederman said, ‘What a wonderful cat he is! A sweetheart — he was definitely owned by someone.’ ” She found he’d been neutered, but told Carbone, “He cannot be returned to the outdoors; he is too old and in delicate condition. He won’t survive another winter outdoors. If you don’t take him, I will.”
Dr. Lederman found that he has the feline AIDS virus and hyperthyroidism. Most of his teeth were rotten and had to be pulled. “Charlie” as he is now known, stayed with Dr. Lederman for a month. When Carbone picked him up, she was charged considerably less than the actual cost of Charlie’s care. “Dr. Lederman knows I do this out of my own pocket, and heart,” Carbone said.
A picture of Charlie and his story were posted on the C.A.T.S. Web site and almost immediately, Carbone got a call from a woman anxious to adopt him even though he was old and had health issues. Carbone said, “Not many people would take a cat in his state,” since he was probably about 13 years old and needed medication.”
The woman had cats and dogs of her own. She lived on Long Beach Island — a long trip — but Carbone said she’d bring him down. As it turned out, Charlie didn’t stay long. She got a call from the tearful woman a few days later. She said she’d already fallen in love with him, but Charlie hated her dogs. So she went back and picked him up. He’s now at the C.A.T.S. Resale Shop, waiting for his “forever home,” as the volunteers say.
Carbone says Charlie loves cats and people. “He’ll sleep in your arms like a baby or on your lap for hours. He just wants love all the time.” This writer went to see Charlie and Carbone is absolutely right. As I crouched down to pet another cat, in a matter of seconds, Charlie made himself at home in my lap. Lynn Cancro, the founder of C.A.T.S., said, “He’s got radar. He knows when there’s a lap around. He’s such a wonderful cat. All he wants is love.” Charlie snuggled and purred. I have no doubt he would have stayed right where he was if I hadn’t had to leave.
THREE LITTLE KITTENS
In addition to several adult cats up for adoption at the shop, there are three recently rescued kittens that Carbone would like to find homes for. They were turned over to her recently, along with several other cats and kittens, by a local woman who is now too ill to take care of them. She took the time to tell me about these three [see photos] even though she is currently working on relocating a colony of about 30 feral cats in Fort Lee and a colony of about 20 from New Milford. Interested readers can contact the shop for more information.
Although she’s been called a, “cat lady,” a term she hates, she is undaunted. “I consistently endure people who aren’t really animal lovers. They roll their eyes at me, or laugh or think what I’m doing is a waste of time.” Some even tell her they think saving cats is pointless, that she should be rescuing dogs since they are “better” animals.
“But I tell them, ‘Show me a dog that needs rescuing and I’ll rescue it – a horse, a bird, a rabbit — they are all the same to me.”
She, like the other C.A.T.S. volunteers, long for the day when a local cage-less, no-kill shelter is a reality. “If I ever struck it rich, I’d buy whatever land we have left and reserve it as a forest and garden,” for the strays. She recounted some truly alarming and gruesome incidents of “feral cat control” perpetrated by people who had no concern for the animals. Until legislators improve funding and strengthen the laws protecting animals, she’d like to see New Jersey, especially Bergen County , invest in more spay and neuter vans to help control the feral cat population. “It’s next to impossible for people like me to get affordable prices for neutering when it comes to stray or feral animals.” Carbone works as a medical technician — “human medicine,” she said. “I know it doesn’t seem like I’d have the time, but I do work full-time.”
Carbone said that after she survived Hodgkin’s disease, she’d felt “lost” and wondered why she’d been spared. She doesn’t wonder anymore. On more than one occasion, she said she felt she had been “sent to the right place at the right time,” to rescue animals. “I will continue to do what I do for these poor creatures. Their situation is one that we humans have put them in.” She is rewarded when she releases cats she has TNR’d back to their territory, knowing they will not have any more litters. “A few less kittens will suffer the horrible life of street living.”
It’s also rewarding when people she helps say, “Thank God for you.”
“That helps me to feel a little less lost at the end of the day.”