SPCA ACCEPTED INTO ‘WE FOSTER CHALLENGE!’

May 13, 2022
By: SPCA Vice President of Veterinary Services Melanie Rushforth

The SPCA Serving Erie County has been accepted into the Maddie’s Fund We Foster Challenge! 

The We Foster Challenge is meant to help shelter and rescue organizations create or expand community-based foster programs that will get community members involved and proudly saying, “We foster! So can you!” As we shift towards a more community-centric model of animal welfare, it’s important to get everyone in the Western NY area involved. After all, fostering is a job just about anyone can do.  Pet owners know the incredible bond that humans and animals have and the importance of keeping families together. Foster care is a powerful way to achieve that. That’s what the We Foster Challenge is all about!

SPIRIT is a Shadow Cat currently in a foster home. He’s made great progress in the home, and his foster mom Erica reports that he approaches her now when she holds a brush so he can take control of his own grooming.

Throughout the month of May, the SPCA Serving Erie County will be highlighting Shadow Cats as our We Foster Challenge project. Shadow Cats is a new initiative which works to meet shy or fearful cats where they are behaviorally to assist them in navigating the journey to becoming adoptable pets living out the rest of their lives in long-term homes.  We are seeing a positive response regarding the acceptance of these shy cats just the way they are, so we are expanding the adoption opportunities and housing of these cats to colony settings within the SPCA’s physical shelter as well.  While some Shadow Cats need to get out of the shelter to showcase their personalities, some are best kept with their buddies in the colony rooms that we have in our modern shelter.  We let the cats help us understand what they need.

SMOOCHIE was the first cat identified as a Shadow Cat. She is the “poster child” for the prestigious title, and serves as the spokeskitty! Her foster mom sent this photo and described the progress she is making in her home. Smoochie is still shy and prefers the shadows of her home, but she does come out to play, and follows foster mom around during meal time, and even approaches her for pets. Smoochie is available for adoption from foster mom’s home.

Shadow Cats are the best friend you don’t yet have.  They are quiet, stealth, and maybe just need a little extra time to acclimate into your home before they settle into being a lap cat.  Or perhaps they’ll remain the quiet and polite roommate that is grateful for your companionship and company….from a distance.  Shadow Cats offer the benefit of companionship without the burden of constant attention.  They’re great pets for individuals that work from home, or individuals who might work nontraditional shifts.  They’d be great roommates in apartments (they don’t need too much space!)

Pets are like people in so many ways, so why wouldn’t some of them be a little shyer than others?

This exciting Challenge is funded by Michelson Found Animals Foundation, Maddie’s Fund® and Cuddly in collaboration with Adopt-A-Pet.com, Adoptimize, American Pets Alive!, ASPCA, The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement, Best Friends Animal Society, Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity (CARE), Community Cats Podcast, Greater Good Charities, HeARTS Speak, Humane Society of the United States, National Animal Care and Control Association, Petco Love, and PetSmart Charities.  We are so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this important shift in the work of animal welfare.

Want to get involved with fostering (or even adopting) your own Shadow Cat?  Please contact the SPCA Serving Erie County’s Foster Care Department via email at FosterCare@YourSPCA.org.

 

 

 

The SPCA’s New SHADOW CAT Initiative

February 10, 2022
By: Vice President of Veterinary Services Melanie Rushforth

UPDATE 4/21/22: The adoption fee for all Shadow Cats, regardless of age, has been waived! This includes the adoption of Shadow Cats from either the SPCA shelter or a foster home! Wondering if an adoptable kitty has been designated as a Shadow Cat? Check out adoptable animal photos here >>  and click on individual listings of our cute cats to read their descriptions and find out if they are Shadow Cats!

******************

The SPCA Serving Erie County is proud to roll out a new initiative that shines the spotlight on a unique population of animals in our care.   Effective immediately, the SPCA’s Shadow Cat effort will work to meet shy or fearful cats where they are behaviorally to assist them in navigating the journey to becoming adoptable pets living out the rest of their lives in long-term homes. 

Fear is common and a perfectly normal, innate, and adaptive behavior in all animals. However, if fear isn’t addressed appropriately, it can develop into serious behavioral and health problems and result in deterioration. Our goal with Shadow Cats is to be proactive in managing a cat’s fearfulness or shyness should a cat surrendered to the SPCA present those behaviors while in the shelter.

Transitions and big changes are hard for many cats, even ones who are not identified as fearful. In preparing to introduce a cat into the home regardless of their confidence level, it is very important to set the cat up for a successful experience by making some small, but important adjustments.  The intent of Shadow Cats is to offer a home environment, in the form of a foster home setting, to allow the cat to gain confidence, relax, and build trust.  These cats may wind up being the best friend that was missing in that particular home, and we always consider that a foster “win” rather than the traditional term “foster fail.” Even if the stay is temporary, the effects of a loving and welcoming home environment will be permanent. 

Introduction to a new home can be very challenging for a fearful cat. Fearful cats usually do best in relatively quiet homes or quiet areas of the home. Many fearful cats slowly become more confident as they get used to their living space and daily routine. The Foster Department of the SPCA Serving Erie County will assist new and experienced foster parents with whatever they may need to help  Shadow Cats acclimate to their homes.  Time, patience, love, and food are some of the ingredients that will help a Shadow Cat step into the light a little bit at a time. 

It is a special experience to build a relationship and bond with a fearful cat, and it is deeply rewarding. The journey may be long, but patience is a true gift to a nervous cat in need.  Just like people, cats can have vastly different personalities.  Some of these Shadow Cats may blossom into lap cats, while others may remain the quiet roommate that is grateful for love, attention (from a distance) and a safe place to call home.  Whatever the end result, we are grateful to have the opportunity to showcase these special cats in an effort to save more lives. 

Do you have room in your life for a Shadow Cat? Find out how you can get involved right here >>

 

Email MelanieR@yourspca.org for information or to register for the virtual session, or click on the image below for details on the SPCA’s Foster Care Department:

SHADOW CATS

Help a cat see the light! Become a member of the SPCA’s Foster Care team and bring home a “Shadow Cat!” And now, you can ADOPT a Shadow Cat for a waived adoption fee! Shadow Cats:
-Are quiet, polite roommates
-Are low-key
-Are not attention-seekers
-Keep to themselves
-Are perfect for those with busy lifestyles
-Only require food, a litter box, and plenty of hiding spots! 
NEW! Are available for adoption from either a foster home or the SPCA’s West Seneca shelter for a waived adoption fee! Read about this exciting update here! >>

Shadow Cat foster parents will foster cats in the home a minimum of two weeks; length of stay depends on each cat’s individual needs. As with all foster companions, the SPCA provides food, supplies, veterinary care, and guidance.

You can read more about the SPCA’s Shadow Cat Program here. If you’d like to help a Shadow Cat see the light, please contact the SPCA’s Foster Care Department at (716) 875-7360, ext. 216, or FosterCare@yourspca.org

Learn About the SPCA’s Foster Care Program >>

 

Scentimental SPCA Tale Blooms at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses 

July 29, 2021
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

People find love at the SPCA Serving Erie County every day.

They’ve called us Match.com. eHarmony.

But Ancestry.com? This was a first.

To be fair, this magic moment did not actually happen at the SPCA’s West Seneca shelter. It actually started nearly eight years ago at our former shelter in Tonawanda…November 30, 2013, to be exact…and continued this summer at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses in Williamsville.

That’s where Mark Yadon, vice president of Mischler’s, brings his dog, Foster, to work each day. As Yadon tells us, Foster happily greets customers as they begin their shopping…just for a few moments, Yadon said…then makes his way back to “dad.”

One day this summer, Foster left Yadon’s side to greet a male customer and didn’t immediately return. Yadon, wondering why Foster was uncharacteristically gone so long, headed to where the customer was shopping, and there with the shopper was Foster. Yadon says Foster simply would not leave the man’s side and kept sniffing his ankle and leg. When Yadon commented on this unusual behavior exhibited by Foster, the shopper replied that Foster may smell his own dog on him and that could be why Foster remained next to him.

Yadon and the customer started talking dogs, and the customer mentioned that he and his wife, Cheryl, had adopted their dog, an Australian Shepherd mix like Foster, from the SPCA Serving Erie County about seven years or so ago. He explained that their dog, Luke, was just  a puppy at the time, transported to the SPCA from Kentucky days earlier.

Yadon marveled at this adoption story because, like Luke, FOSTER was adopted from the SPCA Serving Erie County about seven years or so ago, and…yes…FOSTER was a puppy just transported to the SPCA from Kentucky.

Foster’s original name, Yadon shared, was “Randy.” Luke’s original name, the customer said, was “Travis.”

Randy. Travis. Littermates, it turns out, from the City Animal Shelter in Menifee, KY, transported from that overcrowded shelter to the SPCA Serving Erie County on November 26, 2013. Randy was adopted November 30, 2013 at 12:38 p.m., and Travis, the same day at 1:01 p.m.

The customer, Patrick Baird of Tonawanda, returned to Mischler’s the following week with Luke (Luke Skywalker is his full name) and the former Randy/Travis, now Foster/Luke, enjoyed a happy family reunion, all thanks to one expert sniffer who overstayed his welcome with a customer!

We know we speak for these two canines when we say being reunited must have felt so good. In the words of Randy Travis, they were too gone for too long.

You can meet the famous Foster at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Road in Williamsville!

See the story on WGRZ-TV here >>

A special thank you to Mark and Foster Yadon and Patrick, Cheryl, and Luke Baird for allowing us to share this heartwarming tale!

Get Email Updates