About The Friends of Cats Association

The Friends of Cats Association – Oradea – was founded on 22nd April 2010. It is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization in Oradea, Romania, focusing on the rescue, care, and re-homing of abandoned and stray cats.

Main aims of the organisation:

  • Provide a temporary no-cage, no-kill sanctuary for a number of maximum 40 feral and abandoned cats and kittens in Oradea;
  • Facilitate the adoption of cats into safe, loving, healthy and permanent homes;
  • Make the local community aware of the role they play in reducing the stray cat population by neutering in our city and in improving the overall quality of animal welfare.
  • Provide free of charge spay/neuter programs by attracting funding from international foundations

Capacity and other limitations

The capacity of our adoption center is of 40 cats. Exceeding this number results in the inability to pay recurring expenses. Which means not only reducing the quality of life for the cats in our care (eating less, reduced medical services), but also risking not being able to continue our activity.

Another limitation is that given by the extremely low number of volunteers and their possibilities. If newborns are found abandoned, there are no people who can feed them every two hours, as the volunteers all have a job.

The cat shelter is able to take a cat found on the streets, if the maximum capacity hasn`t been reached, but  there is no space to keep it in quarantine, which is absolutely necessary to avoid her transmitting the disease to other cats. In this case, too, the support of people who have space and are willing to foster a cat is needed.

Brief history and achievements:

2010, April 22 - The Friends of Cats Association was founded in in Oradea, by Mr. Adrian Gheara, being – to the best of our knowledge – the first of its kind in Romania. It functioned in a two-roomed, rented house, with a common yard, in Oradea. The rooms were converted into play rooms for the cats – shelves on the walls, play centers etc.

2010-2011 – Several attempts were made to involve the local authorities and possible sponsors into this project, with the purpose of obtaining a piece of land where we could have built a shelter of our own, so that no rent had to be paid and the capacity of the shelter could have been increased – with  no success whatsoever.

2011 – Financial problems appear. An English citizen, a real animal lover residing in Oradea, offered us a temporary solution, namely - he allowed us to shelter the cats in a house rented in Oradea and also build an annex in the yard.

So at the end of 2011 we moved from the old location to the new one. The construction of the annex began in the same period.

2012 – In May 2012, the annex was finished so the cats got access to the outside, too (enclosed space). Two rooms were transformed into sick wards – for incoming cats or kittens. Adoptions became very rare.

In September 2012, we were awarded a 3000 EUR grant from Fondation Brigitte Bardot, destined to cover part of the cost of food for the cats.

By December, the number of our feline inhabitants grew to 50. Also in December, five of our cats were welcomed by Maria Polman Foundation in Holland, where they found happy, forever homes.

During 2012, 25 cats were adopted.

2013 – At the beginning of April, we reached the end of the grant awarded by Fondation Brigitte Bardot. Attempts are made to find those people who are willing to donate 1 EUR/month for the cats. Adoptions to Holland continued with the help of the same foundation. Adoptions in Oradea decreased dramatically as the number of stray cats increased continuously and people who wanted a cat could easily find one on the street. Starting with May, the number of abandoned kittens just kept on growing and, by October 2013 we had in our care over 60 kittens, plus the 22 adult cats that couldn’t find a forever home by that time.

Severe financial problems starting with August, expenses with food and veterinary services explode.

In September 2013, a neutering campaign started with the help of Maria Polman Foundation, through FPCC.

78 of our cats found forever homes during 2013, either in Romania or in Holland. 

2014 - The neutering campaign started in 2013 ends in February, but requests for help keep on coming. In April, The Marchig Animal Welfare Trust grants us 2000 EUR for cat food.

At the end of April, abandoned kittens started coming and by mid-summer we reach the highest number of cats ever cared for in our shelter: 99. Inevitably, health problems appear and veterinary expenses rise enormously. Volunteers and foster parents take home as much found kittens as possible, due to over-population and health problems in the shelter.

At the end of June, our sponsor announces that he can no longer pay for rent, operational expenses and veterinary services, due to financial problems. At this point, only food was still covered by the grant awarded by The Marchig Animal Welfare Trust.

E-mails and requests are sent out, actions on Social Media start in order to raise money for rent and veterinary expenses. Besides people donating small amounts of money, we receive support from the Kitty Connections group in the U.K. with the help of whom we manage to pay rent. Help comes from Kindness Trust in Australia - a grant of 2000 EUR is awarded for "most urgent needs of the animals", which was used for food (starting with end of September when the previous grant ended until December 2014) and more urgent veterinary interventions.

At the end of July we get the approval letter from The Brigitte Bardot Foundation for sterilization of 600 stray cats (500 females and 100 males). The campaign starts in August.

Different fundraising activities are organized at the end of the year in order to raise money for rent, food, vaccines and treatments for the cats: food fundraising, Christmas concert, calendar sale. The money ​raised help us pay existing debts and survive for a couple of more months.

141 cats find forever homes in 2014, in Romania or with the help of Maria Polman Foundation in Holland.

2015 - The Maria Polman Foundation in Holland closes its gates and adoptions decrease.Regular donations from cat lovers decrease from January to March, mainly because ups and downs in people's own financial situation.
As adoption possibilities, as well as financial resources decrease, and health problems persist, we can only take in a limited number of cats - and very few, ideally after having been vaccinated (until then, kept in foster care) and after some more cats are adopted - so there is a waiting list for taking in cats from foster care.

Health problems persist although the cats are fully vaccinated and seen by the vet 3 times a week, treated and sheltered in good conditions. Seeing no chance of moving to a new place, build according to standards, we decide to remove the old floor and place tiles instead - more appropriate for our situation, hoping that the cats' health will improve considerably and consequently, medical expenses decrease.

With the support of Help Animals International and donations, we were able to ensure necessary food for the cats during 2015.

41 cats find their forever home by the end of the year, many of them thanks to our wonderful friends at Stray Cats Netherlands who help with adoptions. As a rule, when a home is found, the cats can travel directly to their family (maximum of several hours spent at the foundation before being picked up by the owner, due to lack of space).

2016 - During the first months of the year, the results of previous year's renovation and the constant disinfection performed start to show: the overall health of the cats has indeed improved, except cases like e.g. chronic stomatitis which need constant care and treatment. Other chronic or terminal diseases surface in the case of older cats - and not only (no wonder after the life they had on the streets) and our efforts are redirected to saving their lives and improving their health.

We resume the writing of our project for a new shelter, in order to get rid of rent, but at the end of May we are given notice: until 1st August we need to vacate the house, demolish what we had built because the owners have decided to sell. After one month of searching, we finally find a place where we are accepted to move with the 63 cats in our care. Although it doesn't have a yard or garden, there is no alternative: it's either too expensive, or they won't accept cats. Before this terrible news, we take in abandoned kittens found in boxes or bags, until there are no more quarantine rooms left, thus reaching 75 cats at one point. The need of a TNR campaign is obvious.

Repairs must be done at the new place and conditions improved. Debts at the veterinary clinic pile up, also because we need to prepare the space but also because cats need food, we need to pay for utilities, rent etc. and we have no help except monthly donations and what we can raise by handmade items or by asking for help on Social Media. All these combined cannot possibly cover all expenses that are needed.
22 kittens and cats found their forever homes so far.

 

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