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Rescuing the forgotten cats and dogs on campus

By Zachary Araki
On February 20, 2018

President of Forgotten Felines Hannah Louviere gives water to Hermione, the last in a litter of 11 dogs waiting to be adopted. Forgotten Felines Rescue helped adopt out the litter. Zachary Araki/The Lion’s Roar

Forgotten Felines Rescue of Louisiana extended its reach to help cats and dogs beyond campus.

From trapping, neutering and returning to fostering and facilitating adoptions, Forgotten Felines works with cats and dogs in southeast Louisiana. The rescue started with four officers as SLU Campus Cat Coalition when they found a cat with a litter of kittens on campus.

“We all kind of formed this group of ‘We gotta do something with this cat and these kittens,’” said 2016 alumna and Secretary of Forgotten Felines Katelyn Williams. “And then, we found out there’s a lot more than just that cat and these kittens. There’re a lot of cats on campus, so we ended up finding that litter, taking it, getting it adopted out. Other kittens on campus started popping out, got them adopted out, and in the meantime, fixing all the cats because it’s not good to have all these cats running around popping out babies.”

SLU Campus Cat Coalition became the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Forgotten Felines after experiencing difficulty with recognition at the university. Forgotten Felines continues its work on campus as an independent, outside rescue. Deciding to become a nonprofit brought with it the benefits of donations to help with costs, a veterinary discount for necessary animal treatments and more control over practice as opposed to volunteering with another rescue.

“Let’s say you found this litter of kittens, ‘Hey, I want to foster this litter of kittens for you,’ and they go, ‘I don’t have the funding. Sorry, but I have this other litter that I want you to take,’” said Williams. “And it’s like, I don’t want to take this other litter. I want to take this one I found, but you can’t ‘cause you’re with this other rescue, and they want you to do what they want you to do. But if you’re your own rescue, you can take that litter you just found.”

Senior biological sciences major and President of Forgotten Felines Hannah Louviere shared what she enjoys about the organization by recalling one of her first fosters.

“He was terrified of everybody,” said Louviere. “He didn’t want to be touched. We were just going to release him back because we didn’t think he was going to be friendly. But, it’s like, working with those animals and then having them socialize with you, you form bonds with them. Watching them overcome their fear of basically human interaction and then they’re like completely normal animals, that is one of the best things we’ve watched.”

To Williams, the organization also offers an opportunity to make human connections such as with one of their feeders, Alan.

“We just helped him with a feral cat colony of cats he was feeding, and he had no idea what he was doing,” said Williams. “He was very poor, could barely afford to feed his own cats. We gave him food for his own cats, and he ends up passing away. And we all went to his funeral. There were six of us, and there were eight total people at the funeral. And it’s just like, heartbreaking. It’s like this man would have had two people at his funeral, his dad and his one best friend if it weren’t for us. And I think it’s just one of the most amazing things.”

Williams shared her thoughts about the work.

“It’s definitely heartwarming to save these animals, but if you gave me an option and told me, ‘No, you don’t have to do that. I’ll do it for you,’ I honestly would not do it,” said Williams. “But I know we’re their only option. These animals that we’re helping, if we did not help them, they would be dead, and it’s like, how could I live with myself if I just let you die? It’s like, trust me, I’m not wanting to spend every weekend driving to Mississippi to get cats spayed and neutered.”

Two weeks after catching the dog Sketch, she gave birth to puppies but rejected them, leaving Forgotten Felines to bottle feed the puppies during finals.

“It got to the point we were trying to regulate our schedules,” said Louviere. “OK, I’ll leave at this time. You go bottle feed. We had to bottle feed every two to three hours. It got to the point, I’m just gonna bring them to class, and some professors were for it. Some weren’t. A lot of them were pretty understanding like let me bring the puppies in. I would bottle feed them while they lectured, and they were like, ‘OK.’”

Anyone interested in fostering can email Forgotten Felines and fill out an adoption form. Williams encourages anyone wanting to help to like Forgotten Felines’ Facebook page, donate or email forgottenfelinesla@gmail.com. Forgotten Felines holds adoption events in Gonzales and Covington and can help with trap, neuter and return. 

“If they have cats they need help with and they want to help us help with that colony, I think that helps as well,” said Williams. “If someone’s not just like, ‘Hey, there’s this cat over here. Bye.’ It’s like if you say, ‘Hey, there’s this cat over here. I want to help it. Can you help me help it?’”

President of Forgotten Felines Hannah Louviere holds Hermione. Forgotten Felines helps with fostering and adopting cats and dogs. Zachary Araki/The Lion’s Roar

 

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