Until recently, the western Oklahoma town of Hinton only had one dog rescue and a rising feral cat population. Katherine Piatt and Caitlin Sumler, co-founders of 9 Lives Rescue Oklahoma, addressed the issue through a program called TNR — trap, neuter and return.
They set traps for the roaming cats, retrieve them and transport the felines to a clinic to be spayed or neutered. The cats are then returned to the location where they were trapped.
“We have helped 288 cats, and we have had 76 dogs that we helped transfer to other rescues as well as six other species,” Piatt said. “We try to help any animal that comes our way.”
Piatt said they have noticed a decrease in the number of complaints about the cat population since 9 Lives opened in March 2018. But it does more than save and foster cats. The rescue helps law enforcement with hoarding cases across the state and has rescued dogs, donkeys, hamsters, ducks and more. A lot of the cases are from law enforcement but also include owner surrenders or deaths when relatives cannot care for a pet anymore.
One of its most recent hoarding cases occurred when police called in 9 Lives Rescue on a case. When the team arrived at the house, Sumler said fecal matter had built up so high on the floor that even hunched over, members of the 9 Lives crew hit their heads on a ceiling fan.
Many of the cats were sick, but all of them have since been adopted.
“We took most of the severe medical cases. Some of them ended up having one or both eyes removed due to severe infection,” Sumler said.
Director of adoption outreach Stephanie Jarvis, one of six staffers at 9 Lives, helps place cats with adopters through its barn cat program, which requires potential new owners to provide shelter, food and water for the cats as well as proof of vet records to show they use a veterinarian consistently.
9 Lives charges an $85 adoption fee for kittens 6 months old and younger and $65 for adult cats. All cats are spayed or neutered, microchipped, dewormed and vaccinated. Find 9 Lives’ cats on PetFinder or visit ninelivesrescueoklahoma.weebly.com to fill out an adoption application. Questions include the name of your vet and your current home address. All adopted cats can be returned to 9 Lives at any time.
The rescue accepts donations of dry and wet food, treats, blankets, bowls, toys, litter and more. It also posts an Amazon wish list and can accept cash donations through PayPal.