April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month and local organizations like Operation Fancy Free (OFF), For Purrs Sake Feline Rescue Inc., and Meow Cat Rescue are looking to bring awareness to the importance of spaying and neutering as well as fostering and adoptions of cats.

Kathy and Bryan Stone, founders of OFF, started their non profit organization in 2013. They believe Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is the most humane and effective method for controlling the feral and community cat population in Jackson County.

In the five and a half years OFF has been in business, they have successfully trapped, fixed, and returned over 2,500 cats.

For Purrs Sake Feline Rescue Inc. has a mission to provide a foster-to-adopt alternative for cats and kittens that have been the victims of abuse, neglect, and abandonment in Jackson County. They encourage spay and neuter of all pets and strive to end animal cruelty.

President of For Purrs Sake Feline Rescue Inc. Laura Ricker, established her non profit organization in October of 2018, with the help of volunteers, and began the process of rescuing and placing felines in foster homes in November of 2018.

Ricker, who has several foster families for cats, organizes the fostering and adoption for their fur-ever homes.

“We rescue cats that need help, we vet them, get them their first vaccines, have them spayed or neutered, then put them up for adoption,” Ricker said. “We take in cats that have had a rough start to life and we get them good homes to provide them with a good ending.”

In 2018 For Purrs Sake took in 13 cats, had three courtesy posted and assisted adoptions and eight adoptions total. So far in 2019 they have taken in 31 cats and have had six adoptions.

Ricker recently hosted a foster-to-adopt event at the Tractor Supply store in Ripley to show some of the felines that are currently available.

Anyone interested in fostering or adopting cats can visit For Purrs Sake Feline Rescue Inc. on Facebook.

Natalie Holcomb has fostered and rescued cats for two years through OFF and currently through Meow Cat Rescue. She also continues to assist OFF and For Purrs Sake as needed.

“I would love to raise awareness on the importance of spay and neuter,” Holcomb said. “I love rescuing and fostering, but it is hard work.”

A full-time employee at the Division of Motor Vehicles as the public relations person, a teacher of a speech class at West Virginia University of Parkersburg, a seller of Ruby Ribbon and Tastefully Simple with two teams, and a mother of two children, not to mention a wife, Holcomb still finds the time to foster.

“Even though we all lead very busy lives, I want people to know they can still contribute to their communities through awareness, foster, and rescue,” Holcomb said.

Holcomb takes in feline mothers who are pregnant or have recently had kittens and have been thrown out to die or live in dire conditions. She has even set up a Facebook page dedicated to getting them fur-ever homes, The Momma Cat Tails.

“We just want to let everyone know how important it is to spay and neuter their animals,” Holcomb said. “We also want to let people know they can help by volunteering, fostering, or making a donation to any of these great organizations. It is vitally important to work together as a community to ensure no animals are left abandoned without a loving fur-ever home.”