Whitestown Town Hall providing temporary home for adoptable kittens

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By Chris Bavender 

Walk into Whitestown Town Hall and you’ll find the usual workplace environment, with three furry exceptions – kittens, looking for a home.

Two months ago, at a Humane Society for Boone Co. board meeting, members were discussing different ways to display the kittens and cats filling foster homes.

“Dogs seem to get a lot of exposure, but cats really don’t,” said Michelle Atkinson, director of fosters at the Humane Society. “Tanya (Sumner) mentioned perhaps the town hall could take a few in. We thought that was such a great idea.”

Sumner, director of public relations for Whitestown, said the town was happy to help the Humane Society through its busy spring kitten “explosion” season.

“We have the space, and we get a lot of foot traffic through the lobby here at the Whitestown Municipal Complex, so it seemed like a natural partnership,” Sumner said. “Until the new, permanent Humane Society for Boone Co. rescue shelter is built here in Whitestown, this seemed like a great option for exposure for these little kittens looking for a new home. And hopefully, town hall will be a convenient place for families looking for a new pet to visit during normal business hours.”

So, on May 3, Tiny Tim, Oliver and Bluto – gray male tabbies – moved into Town Hall, complete with biographies and adoption forms. Within days the trio found their “forever” homes.

Because of the success getting the first three adopted, two more felines – Petey, 10, and Suzie, 5, –settled into Town Hall on May 12. Their stories, however, are a bit different. Petey, a black and white male, and Suzie, a tabby female, were surrendered to HSBC after their owner went into a nursing home. Atkinson said both are loving, social cats but will need some time to warm up in a new environment. The move helps the shelter by freeing up much needed space in foster homes.

“We have taken in several litters in the last month, and the foster home keeps them until they are 3 months old and can be spayed or neutered, so now their foster has room and can bottle feed a new litter instead of having big kittens at her house,” Atkinson said.

While HSBC has partnered with area vet clinics in the past to feature adoptable cats, this is the first time it’s been done at a town hall or business. Atkinson hopes it won’t be the last time.

“I would certainly hope others would consider doing this. Maybe an insurance company or a storefront on the brick street – anyone who is interested,” she said. “We can get all the supplies they need and send volunteers to them. If we have more opportunities like this, then it means we can take in more animals in need, because there will be a time I will have to say I can’t take a litter of kittens because we have no room. And then what will happen to them?”

Atkinson also hopes this helps reinforce the message to spay and neuter – even if it’s a stray neighborhood cat.

“We can do a trap and release and come get them to be spayed and neutered and returned back. You will still have a stray in your area, but it will be fixed and won’t be having litters. A lot of people don’t know that a kitten that is 6-months-old can get pregnant,” she said. “And, a mama cat can get pregnant while she is nursing her litter by two different males and (can) carry two different litters. She doesn’t even have to be in heat to get pregnant. In fact, assuming a mama cat lives to be 8, in her lifetime, she can have 360 kittens if she isn’t spayed.”

For more on hosting kittens or fostering, contact Atkinson at hsforbc@gmail.com.

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