We are a 501(c)(3) Organization
Heartland Cats provides a safe and loving sanctuary for older cats regardless of age, illness or disability. Our no kill organization will work with the community to prevent needless euthanasia by offering short and long term care, adoption, foster, hospice, and educational programs.
The purpose of the Heartland Cats is to work with the community, local shelters, rescue groups and veterinary offices to take in older cats that might otherwise be running out of options due to age, medical problems and/or loss of home. Our long term goals are:
- Maintain a true “no kill” for older cats
- Provide Heartland cats the same quality medical care that we want for our own pets.
- Partner with other community organizations to maximize lives saved.
- Educate on responsible pet ownership and the value of cats.
- Increase the number of adoptive homes through innovative placement strategies.
- Advise of affordable spay/neuter programs and services to eliminate feline overpopulation.
- Provide a safe haven for cats in need of long term and/or hospice care
- Proactively educate the public and generate positive participation in defining and offering solutions.
- Provide assistance and leadership in organizing similar organizations.
- Offer foster care for cats belonging to area military members deployed to serve our country during the time of war/disputes.
- Offer foster care for people with health care needs where they may not be able to have their cat in their home while undergoing treatment.
Today we can handle 70 cats at a given time. We are concentrating our efforts on the older cats as they are the least likely to be adopted and are often euthanized in our area shelters to free up space for younger animals. We know that older cats take longer to place but are willing to care for them for however long it takes to find them a new home. Our Senior Companion program has been implemented to address this need and provides an older person purpose and companionship to help fill a lonely day.
We are aware that our military personnel are placed in situations where they may need to find other alternatives for their pets. We have set aside space to assist those members who are unable to find a friend or family to care for their cat while they are away. Our Military Deployment Fostering program is designed to help ease the burden for such members in need.
In such events, (as a stem cell transplant), where a person is at risk having their cat in their home and they cannot find a family member or friend to help; we will foster the cat during their recovery until such time they can have their companion back. Our Health Care Fostering program serves this need in our community.
We typically do not take in kittens unless they qualify for one of or fostering programs. Additionally, we feel a pet should be considered a family member and not disposable property. We hope when a pet is adopted the guardian recognizes this to be a lifelong commitment that may exceed twenty years.
As space permits, we accept cats from those entering the next level of health care where they cannot take their pet with them and for those entering hospice care. We do not accept cats from people who are moving, have allergies, added another pet into the household, or for other situations where alternatives other than relinquishing their companion are available.
Planning our Future
We are just beginning and have a long way to go to attain our vision. But with your help, perhaps we can meet most of our goals within five years. We converted a warehouse space, while not fancy, is very functional and allows us to provide much better care. We have the ability treat sick cats in areas away from the general population.
In order to better meet the needs of our community, we want to lease a 3000 sq/ft facility in conjunction with or in proximity to a veterinary clinic; or build a new dedicated facility with all the appropriate equipment to provide better health care. Specialized equipment will help us maintain costs by not having the cats hospitalized outside the facility.
All of our cats are spayed or neutered, up to date on their vaccinations, microchipped and treated for medical needs. Some are on special diets and medications. All of our cats will be allowed to live out their natural lives. We are a true “No Kill” and will never euthanize for lack of space, medical, or behavioral problems. Euthanasia is only utilized for sick or injured animals that are suffering and cannot be treated.
We firmly believe no cat is "unadoptable." All they need is for the right person to come along and fall in love with them. We also understand there simply are not enough homes for all the relinquished pets and many will live out their lives under our care. It is our goal to help as many of cats as we can responsibly care for.
Statement of Need
It is estimated by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the US that 70% of the cats entering shelters are euthanized with 90% of the older cats being euthanized. Some of these older cats are from military service personnel who have had to part from their pet due to overseas wartime deployment. Others are relinquished by senior citizens who can no longer care for or have a pet cat in their living situation. It is recognized that independently living seniors that have pets have better physical health and mental well-being, however, many seniors cannot afford the cost of caring for a pet. Tanya S. Liddy, owner and operator of the Feline Country Club in Omaha, NE, determined these issues needed to be addressed and in 2010, Heartland Cats (HC), a 501©3 organization was established. Ms. Liddy has been in business since 2005 and is currently serving as the President of the HC Board of Directors (BOD) and as Director of Operations for the organization. There are no paid employees at this time and all work is provided by volunteers and through synergy with Ms. Liddy’s business.
The mission and purpose of HC is to work with the community, local shelters, rescue organizations and veterinary clinics to accept older cats who may no longer be wanted due to their age, medical issues or their owner family circumstances. The HC BOD has established the following goals:1) No cat taken in, will ever be euthanized unless appropriate to prevent suffering for sick or injured animals; 2) Partnering with other organizations to maximize the number of cats saved from euthanasia; 3) To educate the public on responsible pet ownership and the intrinsic value of cats; 4) To increase the number of adoptive homes through innovative placement strategies, particularly to improve the health and well-being of senior citizens; 5) Offering foster care for cats belonging to area military members being deployed for service during time of military conflict; 6) Offering foster care for people with health needs that may preclude having a cat in their home for a time; and 7) Develop HC as a model organization so that the mission and purpose can be replicated in other localities. The meeting of these goals will help reduce the likelihood that a loving cat will be euthanized.
Several pilot programs have been developed based on these goals as follows: 1) HC Surrender Acceptance, 2) Long Term Care for Abused and Medical needs Cats, 3) Military Foster Care, 4) Medical Foster Care, and 5) Senior Companion Placement Program. Cats are accepted to the HC organization according to a strict protocol. As of this date, over 100 cats have been accepted into Heartland Cats. Twenty-one cats have been placed in Senior Companion homes. Thirty (30) are available for adoption, 6 are in our foster programs, and 32 are in our sponsor program (due to illness or rehabilitation needs).
These pilot programs have been well received and, due to the overwhelming need, the BOD has determined that an organized fund raising effort is required to solicit an operating fund base so the organization can become self-sufficient and sustainable. The BOD has prioritized the immediate needs as follows: 1) A leased 3000 sq/ft facility in conjunction with, or proximity to, a veterinary clinic ($15 to $20/sq/ft @ $45,000-$60,000/year) or, a dedicated 3000 sq/ft facility of new construction and equipment ($250/sq/ft @$750,000); 2) Specialized equipment for emergency, rehabilitation and long term care ($10,000 to $15,000), and 3) A full time salaried staff member ($30,000 salary and benefits $10,000 to $12,000).
Donations, both big and small are appreciated and welcomed.
Through your help, we can make a difference.