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Newspaper Article -- Tuesday June 9th, 2020

Sue Gibbs holds a kitten at her home in Fairfield, Thursday, May 28, 2020. Cat Tales Rescue, a local nonprofit organization, has helped adopt approximately 125 kittens since the novel coronavirus pandemic mandates began in California. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic) Covid-19 brings earlier adoptions, fewer spay-neuter options for cat rescue By Amy Maginnis-Honey FAIRFIELD — Kris Cushing, who launched Cat Tales Rescue 11 years, has a little fun with those who foster kittens as they wait for their forever homes. “Free refills,” she said of families that foster one litter after another. The novel coronavirus pandemic has given the nonprofit a double-edged sword. More families are adopting kittens now with stay-at-home orders in place instead of waiting for the end of the school year or returning from summer vacation. On the other hand, keeping the population down is tough because volunteers in her group are traveling hours to find spay/neuter clinics due to Covid-19 guidelines. “It wasn’t considered essential,” Cushing said of the service. The group has already taken in more than 330 kittens in the past 10 weeks. That number closes in on last year’s 350 from September through December. There are still plenty of kittens for adoption, Cushing said. What’s different is that people are adopting right after the kittens are born and waiting two months before they can take them home. Spay and neutering must happen first. About 55 being fostered at home such as Sue Gibbs in Fairfield will make their way to their new homes in the next two weeks. Gibbs has a litter of seven, four males and three males, that are just a few weeks old and all have been adopted. Four of them were “adopted” when they were only 1 week old. “I was being contacted four to five times a day in March and April (about adopting kittens),” she said. She’s traveled as far as Rocklin to get them vaccinated. “They wait so long,” Gibbs said of adopters. “I try to keep them updated with photos and videos.” She does that a few times a week. Gibbs sits daily in the room where the kittens play, sleep and eat – to play with and cuddle them so they become social. She said she will start again with the process when this litter goes to their new homes. Cat Tales Rescue also has foster families in the Bay Area as well as Elk Grove. People are adopting from as far away as Santa Cruz, Cushing said. The organization also deals with felines that have been abused. One in care now was found in a plastic bag in a large outside trash bin. Cat Tales Rescue prior to the pandemic would take felines looking for homes to Petco. They haven’t been able to do that with current health guidelines in place. Cat Tales Rescue charges an adoption fee, which barely covers the cost of care for the felines in the first two months. The organization recently spent $1,500 on two kittens. One had to have an eye removed because it had developed an ulcer. Cushing noted the nonprofit is also seeing more special-needs kittens, which increases the veterinary bills.