MARYVILLE, Mo. — With kitten season just getting underway, local TNR Maryville founder says she’s seen an enormous increase in rescues in a single month.
Just since the beginning of kitten season, Jami Hull has received numerous tips about litters of kittens and pregnant mother cats throughout Maryville.
In February, the nonprofit had only 12 cats in its entire system of fosters. Since the start of the 2020 kitten season, Hull has taken in 40 adults and 42 kittens.
“And it’s just the beginning of kitten season,” Hull said.
Recently she and her husband, Michael, were out setting traps to safely capture two mother cats and two litters of kittens in the rain near a full Peach Creek. On Monday, Hull was able to finally catch the final kitten.
A 5-week-old litter and a 7-week-old litter are now all on site at the TNR facility. The 5-week-old litter is still recuperating, but doing well and eating heartily she said. They’ll be available for adoption soon.
The nonprofit survives off donations alone, Hull explained saying she is going through a lot of supplies during the annual swelling of tiny mouths to feed.
“We do use a lot of supplies,” Hull said. “We go through 80 pounds of cat litter a day. We’re going through 45 cans of cat food a day, plus the kitten dry food.”
She said in order to keep up with cleaning, they’re using a veterinarian-grade disinfectant that kills viruses spread from animal to animal.
“We’re paying almost $50 per gallon for that, but it seems to be worth it,” she said.
As for donations, Hull said the nonprofit received 8,000 pounds of litter from The Clorox Company in Spring Hill, Kansas. A volunteer drives down to get it, she said.
Hull’s organization recently received 18 donated Shoreline kennels from the KC Pet Project and many are now in use, but the facility’s doorways prevent some of them from being moved from area to area.
“Our entire quarantine (area) is full of these,” she said.
In that area are kittens recently caught and those recently born with their mothers. Those areas go through puppy pads and paper towels at a very quick rate.
Hull said the shift from foster to direct adoptions has been a relief, not only for the fosters, but also for her. Instead of having to call 70 fosters each day to check on the health of the cats, they’re on site and easier to track.
“That means that fosters can take in some of the cat mill cats that were really scared,” she said.
It also means the facility can focus more on standards for care, including the care provided to each cat before adoption.
The facility placed more than 55 cats in the month of May, it has recently toughened its stance on declawing.
Hull, a cat behaviorist, said the organization will not have a cat declawed in order for it to be adopted. She said they’ve received numerous requests for this, but explained that declawing a cat, can actually affect the cat’s behavior and temperament.
“At least 67 percent of all my clients who’ve had declawed cats have had behavioral issues,” she said.
Upon moving into the facility north of Maryville, a spot was designated “Carter’s Corner,” after Hull’s son. The area offers cat-themed books and toys for children to play with by themselves or with the cats who wander throughout the facility.
“This part right here is where I could, like, lay down and read,” Carter, 7, told The Forum. “There’s a bookshelf with my cat cutout on it and my cat barn on top.”
While Carter doesn’t pick out all books that are available for children to read while playing with kittens, he said he can move stuff around on the shelves.