1. What was the name and purpose of your Gold Award project?
My project, Feline Farm Friends, addresses the abundance of homeless cats in shelters that are not suitable for traditional adoption due to their feral tendencies. This alternate adoption method, a barn cat program, places fit, vaccinated, and fixed cats in a safe outdoor structure, such as a barn, stable, or warehouse. As Feline Farm Friends’ motto states “Save a Cat, Deter a Rat,” this program not only gives cats another chance at an enjoyable life, but it also provides the cat’s adopter with non-poisonous rodent control.
2. What sustainable impact did your Gold Award project have on the community?
Feline Farm Friends had multiple sustainable impacts on my community as well as surrounding communities. While starting Feline Farm Friends, I collaborated with a local cat rescue that had cats unsuitable for traditional adoption, but purr-fect for barn placement. As part of my effort to advertise Feline Farm Friends, I created an informational website and a Facebook page so people can learn about my project and contact me if they’re interested in adopting a cat. The website provides important documents for barn owners, biographies of available cats, and testimonials about successful barn cats. The Facebook page provides followers with updates on all of the cats, pictures, and articles about barn cats and adoption. From these online platforms, I was able to connect with interested barn owners, place nine cats, and create a partnership with another rescue.
3. What insights/takeaway did you gain from your project?
Although there’s an abundance of homeless cats, unfortunately, there are not enough barn owners interested in adopting some of these cats. Since I encountered this problem throughout my project, especially during the beginning, I challenged myself to try different methods of advertising my project, to stay optimistic, and to be persistent with finding adopters. This past summer, I had many interested barn owners and another cat rescue contact me after seeing one of the flyers I posted, hearing about Feline Farm Friends through other shelters, or finding my Facebook page and website. I was relieved and excited to have my persistence and willingness to try new approaches finally pay off. Now that I was able to place more cats, I felt like I was starting to run my own business!
4. What is your favorite memory from your time working on your Gold Award project?
My favorite memory from working on my Gold Award project was the process of placing my first barn cat. Prior to placing the cat, I began to feel a little doubtful about my project’s success since I couldn’t find any interested barn owners. But then I got an email from my first interested barn owner, and my attitude towards my project completely changed; I knew there was hope for Feline Farm Friends. Knowing that I was not only placing my first cat but that I was also saving a life made this one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had. Every year, thousands of cats are confined to crates and sometimes euthanized in shelters because they are unable to be given a second chance at an enjoyable life due to their feral tendencies. By placing some of these cats in a barn, less cats are euthanized, and more space is opened up in shelters for cats who can be adopted into a home. Creating Feline Farm Friends introduced me to a unique way to make a difference in the lives of cats and people.
5. Anything else you'd like to share?
Feel free to follow Feline Farm Friends on Facebook @felinefarmfriends and check out the website https://felinefarmfriends.weebly.com/. If you are interested in contacting Feline Farm Friends, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.