Guest Post by Dr. Karen Pentz
Faculty Member, School of Business, American Public University System
At APUS, our faculty and staff hail from many diverse backgrounds, professional and education experience, and personal interests. Dr. Karen Pentz teaches supply chain management for our School of Business and has a second interest in rescuing cats from shelters that euthanize them. She writes this week about her dedication to cat rescue in North Carolina.
Supply chain management is the field of study I am passionate about, but something else takes all my attention at times. That would be cats!
I work actively with cat rescues in my state of North Carolina. Although I have had many cats over the years, this is something I never thought about until three years ago when I first connected with people working in cat rescue.
Approximately 25 percent of cats and dogs that enter animal shelters in the United States never leave because they are euthanized. Estimates in some states are higher than that and, depending on the specific county shelter, the euthanization rate can be much higher, especially for cats. Approximately 4,100 dogs and cats are killed in shelters each day in the U.S.
Why Are There So Many Animals in Shelters?
Some of the animals in shelters are feral, some are strays, and many are turned in by their owners. Shelters generally try to find the owners for animals that are brought in, but many of these animals are not microchipped and it is difficult to find the owner if that person is not actively looking for their pet.
Shelters see an influx of animals shortly after holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, when many are bought and given as pets. People quickly find out a pet requires active work, and this work may be too much for a person or a family. Often, the animals are then dumped at shelters.
How to Help with Cat Rescues
I have acted in various roles and sometimes, one might be more dominant than another. A couple of years ago, I transported so many cats that I was tempted to get a business card with the title of “Cat Transporter.”
I still transport cats, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s from the animal shelter to a foster home or rescue facility or from a foster to a rescue. I pay for all expenses associated with the animal I transport.
Sometimes, I am the foster “parent,” which means I care for recently acquired cats that are not suited for the shelter. My participation as a foster is not as consistent as my transport activity.
Sometimes, I foster for a few weeks or months and then do not foster again for several months. Fostering depends on my work schedule and how much time I will be spending at home.
My home office is the usual place for fosters, especially for new mother cats with kittens who are too small to let out with my five cats. Having them in my home office allows me to give them extra attention, make sure they are healthy, identify if they need to go to the vet, and socialize the cats and kittens.
I frequently pay for all vet expenses for my fosters, but it depends on what the problem is and how expensive it will be. I also fund adoption fees as well as vet fees for animals in shelters, so they can be rescued. Much of my APUS pay goes to fund cats and kittens in need.
The Benefits of Cat Rescues
I enjoy working with cat rescues. I do not volunteer for the recognition, but I hope to make a difference for the cats and kittens I help. Three of my cats are from the same litter, and they came to me a year ago as cats to foster. These kitties were mistreated, were very wary of humans, and needed socialization.
Over time, I realized I was going to keep them. I am still working on improving their socialization skills, but I have made big gains with them. Two will sleep in my lap, but do not want to be picked up. The third is very standoffish; she will come up to me, but will not let me pet her.
My advice to people is to find something you are passionate about and then pursue it. For me, it is supply chain management and cat rescue. I need both; supply chain management pays the bills so I can continue with cat rescue.