With their tiny meows and adorable, furry faces, it's no surprise that most families choose to adopt kittens instead of adult cats.
"It is important to remember all of those senior cats and senior animals in general that are in facilities, that simply do get overlooked, that still have a lot to offer a family," says April Delfosse with the Door County Humane Society.
The shelter started a feline foster program in April of 2016 for orphaned kittens and mothers and kittens. Leaders say the positive changes in the animals were incredible, so now they're extending the program to adult cats such as Pickle. After nearly two years at the shelter, she's struggling to thrive in that environment. Pickle is battling obesity and the longer she stays there, the more withdrawn she becomes.
"She really needs that loving home where she can explore and have one on one attention and has someone that's going to make her play to lose a couple of those extra pounds," Delfosse says. "She has a fantastic personality, great cat, just needs someone to take a chance on her."
Susan Leeder is a retired teacher in Sister Bay. She volunteers to take in cats through the shelter's fostering program. "I enjoyed it. It was a good experience."
Leeder makes sure the kittens eat properly, she plays with them, and invites visitors over to help the animals become more socialized.
"People that were having a bad day left saying, 'Oh this is just what I needed. I just needed to spend time with these kittens today.' So I call that kitten therapy."
Leeder says the humane society sets foster families up for success by providing free cat food, litter, medication, and medical care. They even match you with a mentor who's available 24/7.
"When the momma cat did have some veterinary concerns, the staff here was so responsive you know, answered my texts right away and talked to me about what to do, and they were just so helpful."
Delfosse says with extra TLC, the cats become much more adoptable. A loving home made all the difference for Ophelia.
"Her personality has just bloomed. She enjoys sitting on the owner's lap now. She's eating better. She's actually more vibrant and playful than what she ever was, so the transformation is just remarkable with so many of these cats," explains Delfosse.
Leeder enjoys seeing the progress during the short term commitment of two to eight weeks. She says it's gratifying knowing that she's helping them find a loving, forever home.
"I tell the kittens, you know, 'You're going to make somebody very happy someday.'"
The foster program also benefits the shelter. Delfosse says it helps prevent overcrowding and reduces a kitten's exposure to diseases.
Right now, the humane society houses 120 cats. They stress the importance of having your pet spayed or neutered to better control the pet population.
to learn more about the feline foster program or apply to volunteer.