Transforming Cincinnati Animal CARE’s Cat Care Program: From Basics to Brilliance

cincinnati animal care cat program highlight

CAC’s Cat Care Team

Cincinnati Animal CARE’s Cat Care program has undergone a remarkable transformation, evolving from a basic service to a multifaceted initiative focusing on enrichment, medical care, fostering, community engagement, and behavioral support!

Under the leadership of Brittney Wandsnider-Sivick, our Cat Care Manager, the team has embraced the philosophy of treating each animal as an individual. This approach has not only elevated the standard of care but has also fostered stronger connections with both the animals and the community.

“The thing I’m most proud of when it comes to Cat Care is our team,” says Brittney. “When we first took over the county contract, we had one or two people who we’re part-time cat care and part-time dog care. We’ve gotten to the point where we’ve been able to find people in the community who love cats, want to learn more about cats, and are able to share that knowledge with the residents of Hamilton County.”

Initially operating with minimal resources, the Cat Care team has expanded to include five Cat Care Specialists with diverse expertise, catering to various aspects of feline welfare. From community cats to kittens requiring intensive medical attention, the team’s dedication shines through in their commitment to every cat’s well-being!

Cincinnati Animal CARE’s Cat Care Program

Cat Care Programming

“When we took over the county contract, the cat program was very “cats in cages” and that was it,” says Brittney. “We didn’t have any extensive programming or enrichment – not even anything medical-related except for the bare basics. Over the past four years, we’ve grown to focus heavily on quality of life, enrichment programming, feline behavior education, and building a more robust medical program.”

Enrichment: Enrichment has become a cornerstone of the program, with dedicated schedules ensuring cats receive the socialization they need. Each day of the week has a different enrichment focus, from meeting olfactory needs to more mental and physical stimulation.

Medical: Our robust medical program addresses the influx of sick kittens, providing round-the-clock care to those in need.“Right now, kittens are our priority for medical. They’re coming in every day and they’re all coming in sick,” says Brittney. “On one single day, we took in 40 kittens which puts a heavy medical strain on us because they need round-the-clock care.”

Our team also provides treatment to community cats. “We will treat any community cat in Hamilton County if it’s sick or injured,” says Brittney. “Whether it be an amputation, abscess, or simple URI – we treat them the same way we would treat a friendly cat coming in the door.”

Cincinnati Animal CARE’s Cat kitten foster Program

Cat and Kitten Foster Program

The fostering program plays a pivotal role in the success of the cat care initiative, yet it faces challenges due to a shortage of available homes.

Despite staff members stepping up, additional support from the community is essential to meet the demand.

“We always need bottle baby foster, gruel baby fosters, and older kitten fosters who just need a place to stay until they’re big enough for spay/neuter surgery,” says Brittney. All supplies from food and litter to medication is provided to our fosters families!

Fosters are crucial for our cat program to function because young kittens cannot be in the shelter overnight or they will get sick and not survive. Due to a lack of available foster homes for kittens, our staff members find themselves taking home kittens to care for. “It can be a big strain on staff coming off a long shift where we lost some really good cats and then still having to take that work home with you,” says Brittney.

Depending on the day, we could have 20 fosters show up in a single day to take 20 different litters, but sometimes we are still short on foster homes.

cincinnati animal care cat care program

Cat Behavior and Training: Our Hamilton County community members can even email our Community Support department if they’re struggling with behavior issues with their cat and our Cat Care team can work with them to provide behavior support.

Match-Making: For anyone looking to adopt a cat, our Cat Care Team can help match-make you with one of our adoptable felines! Whether you’re looking for a cat that reminds you of one you used to have or are looking for simple companionship, our team is here to help find the perfect match for you and your home.

Donations: Financial and supply contributions are also crucial to sustaining the program’s growth and effectiveness. Every donation, no matter how small, helps in providing essential resources for the cats in their care. If you wish to donate to our cat care program, you can shop our Amazon Wishlist here!

cincinnati animal care cat care program

The Future of CAC’s Cat Care Program

Emotionally taxing as it may be, the team remains resilient in the face of adversity, driven by their passion for animal welfare. However, the need for recovery time and ongoing support cannot be understated, especially during intense periods like kitten season.

Despite the challenges, the impact of the Cat Care program resonates throughout the community, extending beyond the shelter’s walls. By fostering meaningful connections between cats and caregivers, and offering support to pet owners in need, Cincinnati Animal CARE’s Cat Care program continues to make a profound difference in the lives of both felines and humans alike.

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