Wild Blue Critical Care Unit
In 2017, Wild Blue experienced exponential growth both in terms of intake (we brought in 697 kitties, which is 117 more than 2016) and manpower, but we do not have the space or the foster power to address the increasing number of treatable critical care cases that come with this growth.
We define ‘treatable critical care cases’ as those in which the feline needs close to round the clock care for a full recovery, such as:
- Neonatal orphaned kittens (those under 4 weeks)
- Cats and kittens recovering from major surgeries
- Felines needing supportive care- fluids, heating pads, a/d food, etc
- Unstabilized diabetics
- Panleukopenia cats/kittens
To date, we’ve addressed these cases with experienced fosters or through costly emergency animal services, but with only 5 fosters able to reliably bottle feed orphans, 1 foster that can keep a feral momma until her kittens are weaned, and only another 5 fosters able to do supportive care, we’re severely limited in how many critical cases we can take on at once.
As the only shelter in the area that takes bottle feeding kittens, demand is high every kitten season from both the public and from open admission shelters such as the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region and the Humane Society of Fremont County. We also attempt to treat Panleukopenia cases rather than euthanize, which is unique among our area’s shelters and requires strict quarantine, and if a veteran foster has a litter that breaks with Panleukopenia, we are ‘out’ that foster for a year, which can be crippling.
We have nearly 200 active volunteers who are unable to foster, but many of whom have the experience and willingness to take on a shift in a 24-7 nursery, allowing us to have someone checking in on critical care cases as needed.
Wild Blue has blueprints drawn up (see attachment) for a new critical care unit to be built on our sanctuary grounds. This unattached building will house an additional 10 isolation units for handling critical care cases and one community room for those felines needing strict medication schedules (such as diabetics). Additionally, the building will have its own washer/dryer and a bathroom with a bath and shower, and will provide the storage space necessary to house critical care supplies.
The additional space will bring much needed capacity for life saving as most critical care cases are resolved within a few weeks and the occupants can then be moved to appropriate fosters or adoptive homes.
Furthermore, this facility will both prevent volunteer and staff burn-out and allow us to handle more cases at once.
By adding this building to our sanctuary grounds we will increase our intake capacity as if we had gained 20 new fosters experienced enough to take on a critical care case. Currently, our fosters take on average one critical care cat or one litter of sick/neonatal kittens, whereas this facility will house an average of 50 kittens (sometimes with mothers) and 6-7 adults.
- Last year in 2017, we brought in and fostered 140 orphaned kittens, raising them by hand out of necessity–with only 5 fosters capable of bottle feeding.
- 39 orphaned kittens were placed with surrogate mothers (one of whom had false pregnancy symptoms)
- 6 had to be given supplemental care as their mother was a young cat from a hoarder situation and the kittens were not thriving.
- 10 adults needed experienced supportive care to regain weight/health
- Of 330 total neonatal kittens we cared for in 2017, only 22 died. (That’s a 94% save rate).
It is also notable that we actively support the save rate goals of the Humane Society of Fremont County, which has recently gone ‘no-kill’, by taking their neonatal kittens unconditionally.
In anticipation of our additional growth and the eventual need for this facility, we have been soliciting grants, donations, and have been setting aside funds for its construction; we have so far raised $20,000 through these methods. We expect costs to be at least $75,000 and possibly as much as $95,000. A $50,000 award from the Lauretta Boyd Charitable Trust will allow us to break ground within three months of award and complete our fundraising to make this facility a reality. Based on our current rate of acquisition, we conservatively project that collecting the final amount necessary and completing construction will take up to two years.