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Last November, Donna Schmid, who runs Hardin Haven Cat Rescue, received a call about a black kitten whose head was stuck in a jar.
The woman who called had found the kitten in an abandoned house nearby. When Schmid arrived, the kitten was still, breathing laboredly, Schmid said.
She put vitamin E oil around the opening of the glass jar and the kitten’s neck, grabbed the skin of her neck, and gently pulled the kitten’s head out of the jar.
She named the cat “Mason” and he became a member of the Hardin Haven feline family.
“It was one of the most rewarding kitten rescue days I’ve ever had,” she wrote on Hardin Haven’s Facebook page.
Since 2006, Hardin Haven, which is separate but affiliated with Humanitarians of Florida, has been a home for stray, rescued, abandoned or abandoned cats to prevent them from being euthanized.
“Citrus County has many dog rescue organizations, but only a few cat rescues,” Schmid said.
People were bringing cats to aid workers to hand them over, but they had no place to put them.
Thanks to a generous donor, Gloria Hardin, they were able to open Hardin Haven.
All cats that come to the shelter are sterilized or neutered, tested for feline leukemia and feline AIDS, dewormed and vaccinated.
They also take care of sick and neglected cats and nurse them back to health.
Schmid runs Hardin Haven and is the founder of the Humanitarians veterinary clinic.
Hardin Haven adopts an average of 23 cats per month.
Homes are found by people searching Petfinder.com, seeing biographies and photos of adoptable cats in the Wednesday Chronicle or posted on Hardin Haven’s Facebook page, or by word of mouth.
The adoption fee is $75.
Cat adoptions are held every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Pet Supermarket, 2649 E. Gulf-to-Lake Highway, Inverness. They also keep cats in a cat tower at the store that are available for adoption.
Funding for felines
With an annual budget of around $55,000, Hardin Haven relies solely on donations and occasional fundraisers, such as garage sales.
It costs Hardin Haven about $100 to groom a cat for adoption (neuter, injections, food, litter, etc.). Some cats need surgery or medical attention that can cost several thousand dollars, Schmid said.
Caring for kittens
Cats need care every day of the year, including holidays and weekends, and Hardin Haven has a dedicated and committed team of volunteers, but they currently need more.
Volunteer shifts average three to four hours, starting in the morning, usually around 9 a.m.
Volunteers can work one day per week, one day per month or more, on weekdays or weekends.
“What I really need are foster homes, someone to take a litter and a mom until they’re ready for adoption,” Schmid said.
Sometimes they will have a motherless kitten or litter of kittens and this requires bottle feeding the kittens.
Schmid said fostering kittens typically lasts four to six weeks.
They also always welcome donations of cat food, litter, etc.
Make the difference
“People don’t realize how many cats live in Citrus County, in the woods, in colonies everywhere,” Schmid said.
Humanitarians have the TNR, “Trap, Neutralize and Return” program for feral cats, which helps reduce the cat population, she said.
Hardin Haven’s mission, whether they can achieve it or not, is to spay or neuter every cat in Citrus County, keep their vaccinations up to date, and find a good home where they are cared for and loved.
Contact Hardin Haven at 352-422-5525.
Email: [email protected]