Helping Houston Cats in the Midst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak grows more dire every day, people are increasingly turning to shelters and animal welfare groups to find lifesaving services and support for the cats in their care.

“Many people have had their employment put on hold or are out of a job entirely because of the coronavirus,” says Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “Many of these community members need, or will soon need, food and veterinary services for the animals they love. Everyone wants to keep their families together.”

That’s why Alley Cat Allies has been providing emergency funding to animal groups and shelters to help cats and kittens in need. We’ve already made an impact on communities in Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas, Nevada, Virginia, and California—with more emergency funds for animals being issued every day.

Friends For Life (FFL) Animal Shelter in Houston, Texas, which we have supported in previous emergencies, is one of the shelters we’ve provided with funding. Leadership and staff at the shelter were already feeling the devastating effects of the coronavirus crisis when Alley Cat Allies contacted them to check in.

“We’re having a ton of quiet and desperate conversations with people who are trying not to give up their animals,” FFL Founder and Director Salise Shuttlesworth told us. “We are hearing people desperate to get not just food, but basic veterinary care for their cats.”

Alley Cat Allies’ COVID-19 emergency funds are helping FFL keep more cats in their homes by supporting the shelter’s food bank—the first and, until just weeks ago, only free animal food bank in Houston in operation since 2008. FFL is also using our COVID-19 support funding to help run an outreach animal veterinary clinic every weekend, alongside daily “mini vet clinics,” to treat, vaccinate, and microchip animals at no cost.

FFL staff are employing social distancing and enhanced safety protocols for their food bank and clinics, making them a model for other shelters and animal welfare organizations to follow while providing care and support during this public health emergency.

Trespass, the adorable buff-colored kitten.

We’re doing all of this for community cats like Trespass, an adorable buff-colored kitten named for his timely last-minute dash into a Houston-area Starbucks. (Cats are so smart). The cafe was about to close its doors in response to the coronavirus when the little tabby hopped onto the counter and into the hearts of two baristas working their final shift. Though out of a job, they gave Trespass a home. However, they wanted to provide the kitten with the right care. They brought Trespass to FFL’s no-cost clinic, where he received a rabies and FVRCP vaccination, flea preventative, and two doses of de-wormer.

Stories like these are unfolding everywhere, every day. Alley Cat Allies is helping animal groups like FFL provide cats and kittens with funds and support at a critical time.

“I believe at the end of all of this, the only thing that will matter is how we treated each other,” Shuttlesworth said.

Alley Cat Allies agrees. To read more about our COVID-19 response, visit alleycat.org/Coronavirus.

To find animal food banks near you, visit www.alleycat.org/resources/animal-food-banks/.

To give a gift to support our COVID-19 emergency response, click here.