Little Mews Rescue tackles the county's unwanted cat problem

NORWICH—Little Mews Rescue, located at 6 American Ave. in Norwich, plays a big role in helping unwanted cats find suitable homes in and around Chenango County.

Little Mews Rescue Inc. is a non profit, 501(c)3, no-kill rescue organization, run entirely by volunteers, that operates in Chenango County. They take in cats from many different situations – stray, unwanted, neglected, and abused. They can also refer interested people to other local organizations that have cats, dogs, and other animals for adoption. Little Mews is also the place to go for information on low cost spay and neuter options in the area.

The cats and kittens ready for adoption at Little Mews have all been checked by a vet, vaccinated for FVRCP, rabies (if over 4 months), tested for Feline Leukemia, FIV, wormed, and spayed or neutered if old enough. All health conditions are treated so that the cats can be adopted as healthy as possible.

The cats at Little Mews do not live in shelter cages. They are cared for by a network of foster homes with lots of love and attention. The cats are socialized with other cats and large friendly dogs, and they try to get them to adapt to normal family life so they will be ready to settle into their new homes with ease. Since the cats and kittens live in a home, not a shelter cage, they can take the time to get to know each cat personally. They can tell which ones are shy, which are outgoing, who is the most playful or the most quiet. This allows Little Mews to match you with a cat that will fit your lifestyle the best.

Upon adoption of a cat from Little Mews, they ask for an adoption donation that is used to help cover the costs that go into preparing the cat for adoption. All older kittens and adult cats are spayed or neutered before they are adopted and that is included in the adoption fee.

The goal of Little Mews is to find safe, healthy, forever homes for cats and to promote the spaying and neutering of pets so that the number of unwanted cats decreases every year. They want each cat adopted to a home where it will live forever and Little Mews always promises to take back any cats that are unable to remain with you at any time, for any reason.

Dona Rivas Olsen, the head of Little Mews Rescue, has been doing the rescue thing for about 10 years now, she just never had a physical location for the effort. “We are trying for a bigger place,” said Olsen, “But this is the best we could do for now.” As Little Mews is really a large network of foster homes – that currently has over 100 cats – the location on American Ave. in Norwich is primarily to gain some exposure in the community.

Little Mews depends on donations to cover all of the operating costs. “Our biggest expense is the vet bill,” said Olsen. Also, foster homes are always needed to help care for the cats and kittens until they can find permanent homes. Olsen said that they are always looking for donations and for folks to offer good homes to their cats.

There is an application process for adoption through Little Mews. “We don't just give the cats away to anyone,” said Olsen. “We always make sure that they are going to a secure family setting.”

“We like to make sure that they all go to good homes and we hope they stay there forever,” Olsen said.

Aside from just pairing unwanted cats to good homes, Little Mews Rescue is also a wealth of information on anything pet related. Olsen has info on low cost spay and neuter options around the area, she can provide info on how to handle pet emergencies, and she even can help people get food for that pets that cannot afford it. “We help a lot of low income people,” said Olsen, “They need the help the most.” Pets are not cheap. The veterinary costs of a single kitten can be hundreds of dollars, not to mention the costs of feeding the pet.

Olsen is currently working on trying to get some grant money so that Chenango County can get a spay/neuter clinic. “It is currently around $100 to spay a cat at the cheapest location around the county,” said Olsen. A clinic could feasibly lower that cost and ultimately help with the unwanted cat population in the area. “Without any low cost spay/neuter clinics in the area, just two cats can quickly get out of hand,” said Olsen.

Olsen also asserts that Chenango County is in dire need of a humane officer. Humane officers are typically county employees and are trained in animal welfare. “They know the laws and have the power to do something about it,” said Olsen. Currently, all animal neglect calls have to go through local law enforcement agencies who just do not have the time or resources to effectively deal with them.

The unwanted cat problem in Chenango County is a big one. Cats just seem to fall through the cracks and the problem quickly snowballs. Olsen is trying to change that.

Little Mews also spends some time working with children to try and educate the next generation on how to properly care for pets. “Our goal is to make the next generation kinder,” said Olsen.

Little Mews' non-profit, no-kill organization depends on your generous donations. Every penny of the donations goes towards caring for the cats and kittens to provide veterinary care, good food, supplies and whatever else they need. If you'd like to donate please contact Little Mews at 336-CATS, or visit them on the web at You can also find the shelter on Facebook.

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