Bumblebee, Lizzard, Duckie and a host of other felines are hoping to soon find their forever homes.
They’re all up for adoption through the Humboldt Animal Rescue Team (HART), a small but spirited cat rescue nonprofit located at 8 W. Sixth St. in Eureka.
“What I really love about HART is the way they take care of the animals while they’re here. … The volunteers give them attention and really acclimate them,” said HART board member Gini Wozny.
An active and dedicated network of animal rescue and advocacy groups are hard at work day in, day out, throughout Humboldt County, working separately and sometimes together to help out cats, dogs, horses and other critters. In fact, the Humboldt Animal Rescue Team grew out of another nonprofit animal advocacy organization, the Humboldt Spay/Neuter Network.
“The woman who started HART is Wendy Kupilik. She was originally a volunteer with Humboldt Spay/Neuter Network, running our foster and adoption program,” said Jennifer Raymond, founder of the Humboldt Spay/Neuter Network, also known as Spay Humboldt!
“When we started the clinic in 2014, Wendy and I decided that it would be better for each of us if the foster and adoption program was separated from the spay/neuter program,” Raymond said. “She incorporated HART and ran it for almost four years. We still worked closely together, but as separate organizations.”
Today, HART operates under the purview of a volunteer board of directors and is assisted by a group of dedicated volunteers. It relies on surrender and adoption fees, donations and grant funding to operate.
“The board members are all volunteers and we have a volunteer staff … about a dozen volunteers right now. That’s how everything gets done,” Wozny said. “The cats are taken care of twice a day at least — fed and watered and their boxes and stuff are cleaned twice a day. There are some volunteers that come in and do meds every night. We’re open on Saturday and Sunday, so there are volunteers who staff the (facility). … We all have full-time jobs and lives and everybody puts in an extraordinary amount of time. It’s a labor of love.”
Cats come to the Humboldt Animal Rescue Team from several different situations. Some were strays originally housed at the county animal shelter and taken in by HART after a time of not being adopted at the shelter. Others have been surrendered directly to HART by their owners.
“They’re moving, people die unfortunately or they just decide they can’t keep the pet anymore for financial reasons. They become in dire straits and can’t afford it anymore. It’s really a tough thing for people to do,” Wozny said.
According to its website (www.humboldtanimalrescueteam.org), HART doesn’t always have the ability to accept new surrenders due to space constraints, but volunteers will always try to help animals in need by referring someone to another agency; offering resources to help keep the animal at home; or making courtesy posts on HART’s social media sites. A surrender fee is required to help provide veterinary and basic care of an animal until a new home is found.
Since its inception, HART has found homes for hundreds of animals through adoptions and, at any time, may have between 40 and 50 felines in its program.
Currently, there are many cats available for adoption through the Humboldt Animal Rescue Team, including the organization’s longest resident, Minnie, a young domestic shorthair tuxedo kitty who likes to play and receive lots of attention.
“She was up at the shelter. … She was what they call ‘unadoptable’ and I’m not sure exactly why except she would swat at people,” Wozny said. “We got her here and she was doing well and then we noticed she wasn’t doing well. We took her to the vet … We had to get her a hernia operation. They took care of her, she came back, she recovered and she’s better and now our hope is to find her a forever home — and she’s much sweeter than she used to be.”
Lizzard is a large one-eyed 4-year-old with plenty of personality. According to HART’s website, he’s had a rough life and doesn’t trust easily. He swats and sprays sometimes, but is becoming calmer over time. He’ll need a family willing to give him lots of love.
“He’s very cantankerous … but you can pick him up and hold him,” Wozny said. “His owner was in dire straits and didn’t want to have him living on the streets anymore. … He’s got his issues just like a lot of the cats. Lizzard is a cat that would take a little more work and patience and he would definitely need to be the only cat. He could be an amazing cat for somebody.”
Oliver is another handsome boy who’d also do better as a solo cat in a family.
“He had an owner for a long time. The people that owned him loved him and he came with medical records dating back and they took really good care of him,” Wozny said. “I think the story was he started to really not like the woman … and they just couldn’t keep him anymore. They brought him here and he’s been here for three months now and he’s a total sweetheart.”
To view these and other adoptable cats, go to HART’s website or stop by the facility. HART is open Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. and by appointment (email humboldtanimalrescue.gmail.com or call 707-616-6440.)
Adoption does require an application process. Adoption fees are $125 for kittens up to 9 months; $100 for cats 9 months to 9 years; $75 for senior cats and 25 percent off the total cost for bonded pairs of cats. All adoptable cats and kittens have been spayed or neutered, treated for fleas and worms, have had their first FVRCP vaccine and have tested negative for feline leukemia and the feline immunodeficiency virus.
For more information about the Humboldt Animal Rescue Team and how to become a volunteer or make a donation, visit www.humboldtanimalrescueteam.org.