The summer was a heavy kitten season: Crystal Creek’s volunteers answered calls every day, trapping and rescuing multiple cats and even entire litters born in unsafe places and in precarious conditions. Responding to a few hoarding situations made things even more strained. As a result, CCR’s inventory was bursting at the seams with multiple cats and kittens living with our foster families, which stretches our already tight budget and fills us all with growing uncertainty over the future of our dear foster kitties. With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting families hard in the Northwest Arkansas area, adoptions and donations were – and still are – down. The solution was to partner with an organization that would welcome our cats and yet another that would help us get them there. That is how an alliance among Crystal Creek Rescue, the Denver Cat Company, and Pilots N Paws came to be.
The Denver Cat Company, the second cat café to open in the USA, provides its customers with a coffee shop experience which is made markedly better by adoptable cats and kittens that roam the space freely. They have consistently partnered with different rescues from other States to offer healthy cats and kittens for adoption. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Leila Qari, the founder, says the café has seen demand for cat adoptions rise five to six times the previous amount. CCR’s founder, Olivia Nagel, decided to couple their increased need for cats with our large and ever-growing inventory.
There is a lot that goes into each trip, be it by land or by air. Cats and kittens must be taken in, bathed, dewormed, checked and treated for fleas and ticks, examined by our veterinary, vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and microchipped. Each then receives a health certificate, which enables them to be taken to the Denver Cat Company. It is a massive undertaking for our tiny group. Our board member Verla Shafman does the indispensable work of organizing all the paperwork and coordinating with fosters for each trip, ensuring all information and documents for each cat is present and accurate and that all cats are clearly identified and loaded comfortably onto the transport. Without her, our volunteers, and our partners at Village Pet Hospital, none of this would be possible.
For the December 21 trip, six foster families took their cats and kittens to the Fixed Base Operation at Thaden Field before sunrise so that all fourteen cats could be transferred to George’s carriers in a calm and orderly manner. As he is a pro, he treated each cat with the utmost care and affection, and he knew exactly how to get everything settled and secured into his Cessna 172. George wanted to take off at around 8:00 AM, and that was made possible with the punctuality and cooperation of all involved. All fourteen kitties (and of course George!) arrived in Denver safe and sound.