Feral cat nonprofit retains gold star rating

Courtesy photo

Tripod is one of the permanent residents at Taos Feral Feline Friends.

The nonprofit Taos Feral Feline Friends, founded in 2004, earned GuideStar's 2019 Gold Seal of Transparency. The seal is given by the global nonprofit monitoring site to nonprofits that adhere to strict financial reporting and documentation standards. The Gold Seal award is earned by fewer than 1 out of every 200 nonprofits, according to GuideStar.

In its latest annual summary of its charitable activity, Taos Feral Feline Friends calculated it had helped 129 cats in total during 2019. This includes "cats residing at the TFFF shelter during 2019, cats handled through the Trap, Neuter and Return spay/neuter service and the Pays to Help Strays adoption service, but excludes cats that were supplied free cat food or veterinary care via the low-income caregiver assistance programs," according to a statement from the nonprofit.

TFFF adopted out 24 cats through the Pays to Help Strays and shelter combined, in 2019. "Each Pays to Help Strays case was a homeless cat taken into a permanent home by a Taos-area resident with TFFF paying for the spay/neuter surgery, disease screenings and vaccinations, the only spay/neuter program in Taos County that pays for all recommended veterinary tests and treatments," according to the organization's statement.

In addition, TFFF reported 48 Trap, Neuter, Return feral cat cases in 2019. "Each TNR cat was trapped, fixed, given a veterinary exam, treated for injuries or illnesses and vaccinated for rabies before being returned to its caregiver. All programs combined, local cats received 67 spay/neuter surgeries paid by TFFF during the year," according to the nonprofit.

The TFFF shelter ended the year with 51 residents, unchanged from Dec. 31, 2018. TFFF also assisted low-income Taos-area residents, mostly feral cat caregivers, by providing over $5,200 of free cat food and veterinary expense reimbursement during 2019.

Leanne Mitchell, president of TFFF, said, "[The year] 2019 also saw the successful completion of our second Paws for the Cause Walkathon in its new virtual format, raising over $30,000 to help homeless cats. Many thanks to the local businesses who supported our event: Gold sponsors - Acorn Graphics, Ammann Gallery, Columbine Inn, Embudo Valley Organics and the Taos Spa and Tennis Club; Silver sponsors - Iko's Auto Repair, Rio Grande Ace Hardware and the Taos News."

"Taos, along with the rest of nation, is suffering severe financial stress during the COVID-19 pandemic," Mitchell continued in a press release. "If you are providing daily food and water to feral cats and having money issues, please inquire with us about receiving free cat food from TFFF. Also, in general, if you need any cat-related help, contact us because we have solutions to many common problems and are happy to refer you to the best community services available.

"With many out of work, this is a great time for anyone who loves animals to get involved by volunteering with or adopting from Stray Hearts or TFFF. In fact, our feral cat Spring Adoption Special is underway! During April and May, two feral cats can be adopted for only $15. They are fixed, vaccinated and ready to hunt mice. Call (575) 758-3519 for more information."

In total, TFFF has helped over 4,600 cats since Mitchell founded the nonprofit.

For more details on the nonprofit's accomplishments, goals, programs and financial condition, the 2019 annual report can be reviewed or downloaded at the TFFF website: taosferalfelinefriends.tripod.com.

- Compiled by Staci Matlock

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