Sheltering Hands newsletter- Spring 2015

Sheltering Hands Newsletter

Spring 2015

Welcome to the spring edition of our  newsletter! We are so glad to be sharing news with you about our organization, some of the great people in it and, of course, the cats we all love and care for. Our newsletter is growing and filled with lots of great information we hope you will enjoy. This edition of our newsletter will share some information about our new surgery location, kitten season and introduce you to some of our dedicated members who are working to help make our community a better one for the cats we love. For more information, we invite you to check out our website where you can find more information on kitten season, vouchers, how you can help and so much more.
Join us for our next Board meeting on Friday, May 15th at 5:00. For more information about our Board meetings, please click here.
Adoptions Volunteers Needed
With the improvements made at our adoption center at Petsmart, we are seeing an increase in adoptions from last year. Our Adoptions Supervisor- Penny Stanley- is looking for additional volunteers to help staff our adoptions center. All training will be provided and hours/days are flexible. Even if you only have a couple of hours a week, you can make a huge difference in the life of a cat looking for a "furever" home. Each new volunteer means even more cats can get a chance for a home. Won't you consider helping a cat find a home? If interested, please give Penny a call at 352-817-4344.

Please join us for the next National Adoption Weekend at Petsmart. We will have lots of wonderful cats looking for homes.

A New Home for Sheltering Hands

An exciting future is in store for Sheltering Hands.  Through the exceptional generosity of a benefactor, Sheltering Hands has recently acquired a vacant veterinary hospital in the Ocala area.   This marvelous benefit makes possible many opportunities for the organization to become even more effective and better known in Marion and Levy Counties.  The facility will be the central hub of operations for Sheltering Hands.  It will provide space hitherto unavailable that will enable new activities for our organization.
The new clinic is now being repaired and readied for operations, and we need volunteers now to clean and paint the facility, then help with moving in. To volunteer, please call 352-840-0663 and press option 3.

  A grand opening will be held later this summer, once Sheltering Hands is ready for action.  The announcement will be sent by email when the opening celebration is scheduled.  Meanwhile, watch this space!!


The Kittens are Coming

Spring through early fall is always kitten season, and this year is no exception.  Cats are legendary for being extremely prolific, especially if they are homeless and mating activities are not controlled in any way.  A female cat can become pregnant as young as 5 to 6 months of age, and she will come back into heat every 14-21 days until she is bred.  The seasonal glut of kittens is the result of excessive numbers of cats that are not spayed or neutered.  Even a cat that is confined inside a home may manage to slip outside to search for a mate and for relief from her hormones. 
All cats should be spayed and neutered to prevent the arrival of unwanted kittens, many of which may add to the multitudes of homeless and suffering cats.  PetSmart Charities estimate that 20 million kittens will be born this year.  Marion County contains as many as 100,000 homeless cats.  The trap-neuter-return efforts of Sheltering Hands have fixed over 3200 cats so far. This has prevented the birth of untold thousands of  homeless cats to the already bursting population. Already over-burdened shelters are overwhelmed at this time of year with the kittens. 

If you have a cat who needs to be fixed, we also offer low-cost spay/neuter vouchers. Please check our website for more information.


From our President

Dear Members and Supporters of Sheltering Hands,
 Spring has sprung and so has kitten season.  The number of calls to rescue orphan kittens, “what to do with a pregnant stray cat?” and “can you help us place the kittens a momma cat just brought to our porch?” have already reached a multiple request daily level.  This is far more than we can physically manage at this time with our limited fosters and volunteers.  Unfortunately that means having to turn some away and being the person having to make that decision becomes even more difficult as the kitten season reaches its height later this summer.  This is why awareness for spay/neuter and our TNR program becomes even more important.
 We have already seen localized improvement after 3 years and 3200 cats sterilized.  Because the cat population numbers for the county had become so excessive after years without any organized programs, it is going to take many more years of dedicated commitment by our volunteers, employees, directors and cooperation with county animal services to make the impact we need. 
 I urge you to help us make a difference by considering volunteering your time, making donations (either financial or with supplies) and spreading the word about Sheltering Hands and our mission to help the cats in our community through
Compassion, Adoptions, Treatment & Sterilization
Kathleen Fleck, President
May 2015
We have many wonderful, adoptable cats for you to choose from. Some of our cats can be seen at Pet'sMart on State Road 200 Wednesday from 11-2, Thursday and Friday from 12-3, Saturday from 11-3 and Sunday from 12-3 ( no adoptions on Monday and Tuesday).   If you are interested in a particular kind of cat, please call us ahead of time so we can make arrangements for you to meet with your special kitty. Our adoptions number is 352-817-4344.

First Quarter Adoptions

The first quarter of 2015 saw the adoption through PetSmart and Sheltering Hands of 43 mature cats and kittens. This is a wonderful improvement from the 28 cats that were adopted during the first quarter of 2014!  We are especially pleased that several of our mature cats have found loving homes.

Barbara's Passion

Barbara Weglarz has lived a busy and varied life.  She has worked at a variety of jobs and lived in a variety of places.  But always there were cats.  As a child in Chicago, Barbara loved Bootsie, a rescued calico, and cried when she died 13 years later.  “Bootsie had a couple of litters of kittens, and when it was time for the kittens to go to the pound, my mother would send me on an errand so that I would not know they were going.  But I always cried when I came home and found them gone.”
As an adult sharing an apartment in Chicago, Barbara and her friend Beverly adopted Teka, a solid black adult female.  Not much later, grey kitten Molly joined the household to liven things up with her exuberant personality.  She was still romping through Barbara’s life 18 years later then Barbara and her husband Hank moved to Fort Pierce, Florida.
Barbara has never been able to endure the sight of a homeless cat.  Even the Sheltering Hands adoptable cats at PetSmart make her want to take them all home.  So it was no surprise that when Barbara and Hank moved to Ocala, they found themselves with four indoor and six outdoor cats to transport.  Hank had the easy part – taking the furniture.  But Barbara got the cats.  When she and her hot, smelly, yowling cargo pulled up to the last toll booth outside of Ocala, the attendant looked, sniffed, and said, “Lady, just go through.”
Barbara had always been able to get her felines neutered and spayed by local veterinarians and thus maintain a reasonable limit to the size of her clowder of cats.  But when Hank was ill over a period of more than two years, she lost the ability to keep numbers of cats down, and her group experienced a mini-explosion.  After Hank’s death in 2013, Barbara found herself with a large number of cats needing spay and neuter right away!  That was when she saw an article in the Ocala Star Banner about Sheltering Hands and its TNR (trap-neuter-return) program.  After attending the obligatory class to become a Community Cats Program colony caregiver, Barbara was able trap her cats and bring them in for TNR.  Now her colony numbers remain stable, as even occasional newcomers can be trapped quickly for surgery.  But there is always that one holdout – usually a wily experienced female who just won’t be caught.  Barbara’s wary nemesis is Millie Tillie, who produces three litters a year and successfully evades all efforts to trap her.  But Barbara has no intention of giving up.  “I’ll keep trying, and I will get her,” Barbara vows.
Reflecting on her peaceful colony these days, Barbara states, “If I had not had Sheltering Hands to spay and neuter the cats so reasonably, I would probably have a colony of 180 cats now instead of a manageable number of 18.  When you are dealing with a multitude of cats, it is prohibitively expensive to get them all spayed and neutered.   So Sheltering Hands came along at just the right time for me to be able to keep going with my colony.  It is a wonderful organization, and I cannot say enough for how Sheltering Hands has helped.  We need to spread the word and get more volunteers to contribute their efforts to this extremely worthwhile cause.”


Meet Your Fellow Cat Lovers!

Join us at our meetings: the third Friday of each month, at 5:00pm at the Deputy Brian Litz substation of the Marion County Sheriff's office- 9048 SW Highway 200 in Ocala (just past Pine Run). You will be able to join discussions of issues involving local cats, meet fellow cat lovers, and find ways to help. Because dates may change, please check our calendar to be sure when our next meeting will be.

Wish List

Canned and dry cat food
Litter, all types
Gas cards for animal transport
Paper towels
Postage stamps, letter and post card
Dish and laundry soap
Towels, blankets, and throw rugs
Trash bags (13 and 39 gallon sizes)
Disposable beds, puppy pads
 New cat toys

If you would like to make a donation, please mail check or money order to: Sheltering Hands, P.O. Box 846, Williston, Fl. 32696

Check out our website at

Click here to learn other ways you can be involved.


Saluting Volunteer Hero Carley Ladow

Ms. Carley Ladow is one of the youngest of the Sheltering Hands volunteers – a skilled and enthusiastic one.  Carley grew up around animals and developed great compassion for them.  She is easily moved to tears by the plight of injured or homeless animals and wants to help as many as she can.  Carley and her family took in an abandoned kitten, Whiskers, several years ago.  After finding homes for all her littermates, they proceeded to spoil Whiskers shamelessly.  These days they cherish and spoil Molly, their mixed-breed dachshund.
Carley has treasured her experience at Sheltering Hands, both for her contact with hundreds of cats and also for the training she has received toward her goal of becoming a veterinary technician.   She has dedicated her life to the welfare of animals of all kinds.
A senior at Westport High School, eighteen-year-old Carley will graduate June 4 and devote most of her summer to volunteering in the Sheltering Hands Community Cats Program.  She is adept at preparing cats for spay and neuter surgery.  That task is more complex than it may sound to the uninitiated, since a cat’s bladder must be evacuated before surgery can be performed.   That part of the prep is a special skill that comes with persistence and experience.  Carley has become a pro.
When the school year begins in August, Carley will be a scholarship student at St. Petersburg College of Veterinary Technology.  Her scholarship covers a full two years of study, including tuition, books, and even gas for travel.  She envisions working in the Marion County area once she graduates as a certified veterinary technician. 
Carley credits her training and experience as a Sheltering Hands volunteer with helping her win her scholarship as well as affirming her goal to devote her career to the welfare of animals.  She is thrilled that Sheltering Hands will soon have a new facility and she is eager to pitch in with the preparation and moving.  Congratulations to Carley and her parents on her success!


Two Seniors Fall in Love

“Hello.  I can tell you have been gazing enraptured at my photo nearby.  I cannot blame you.
I am Mr. Handsome, a seal-point Siamese and the most recent Sheltering Hands “Seniors for Seniors” adoptee.  Sheltering Hands offered volunteer Pat Russell a chance to have me as her cat, and she immediately whisked me home and gave me my own special pillowed chair in the sun on her porch.  Of course, I have claimed just about every other piece of furniture in the house as occasional resting places, but this is my favorite.    
Pat has a special arrangement with Sheltering Hands whereby she has the privilege of homing, feeding, and loving me, while Sheltering Hands takes care of all my medical needs.  Sweet deal!
And this sweet deal is open to all seniors in Marion and Levy Counties who want a companion cat but cannot pay for medical bills or ensure its care if the caregiver dies or goes into a care facility.  This is a real problem-solver for so many seniors in our area, as it relieves them of worrying about the future and allows them to love a cat every day right now, knowing that if anything prevents them from continuing this care, Sheltering Hands will take over and keep
that cat safe and happy.
Pat has been a very active Sheltering Hands volunteer for two years, willing to do any task asked of her with no concern for credit or praise.  She remembers fondly her previous life in Massachusetts, but admits that she does not miss it at all.  She is too busy helping others here and enjoying the blissful warm weather.
As a life-time animal lover, Pat seems to have a special love for Labrador Retrievers.  I can tell, because for a year and a half she has been (to my shock!) a full-time trainer to a Lab named Abby, who is a Patriot Service Dog.  Abby was being trained to serve as a trauma dog for a veteran with post traumatic stress disorder.  I pretended to ignore what occurred, but I did see all the effort Pat devoted to working with Abby.  I was almost ignored!  Abby completed her training successfully and (fortunately for me) went to serve her veteran, a brave soldier who lost a limb in Afghanistan. 
But back to ME.  Pat and I have an understanding that no other felines will live here, because I am by nature an only cat and want to stay that way.  Although it took me a while to warm up to Pat and my new home, now we are a close as can be.  I heard her say the other day, “I have had cats all my life, but I am so madly in love with this one!   Sheltering Hands and Dr. Fleck could not have given me a better gift than Mr. Handsome.”  Well, of course….  I endorse that sentiment one hundred percent, as long as I get my breakfast at 6 am sharp and my dinner at 6 pm on the dot.   After all, standards must be maintained.
 I am a very talkative and social cat with no problem letting my opinions be known, so Pat and I seem ideally suited to one another.  We hope that more seniors in the area will take advantage of the wonderful opportunity Sheltering Hands offers to seniors to live with a great cat like me without the worry.  Check it out – you have nothing to lose and so much to gain.  You can take your pick of the senior cats available and you are bound to get a winner of your very own.”
Copyright © 2014 Sheltering Hands, Inc., All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is: P.O. Box 846, Williston, Fl. 32696