Do you have the winter blues or maybe a bad case of cabin fever? Are you needing a little excitement in your life these cold January nights? I just might have the answer.

I don’t have a medical degree, but I highly recommend a cat scan. No, not the kind you get in the radiology department of our local hospital.

I am suggesting you go to the Beatrice Humane Society website at www.beatricehumanesociety.org or the organization’s Facebook page and “scan” through the photos of the beautiful cats and kittens that are available for adoption at the Beatrice Animal Shelter.

Throughout the past year, the shelter has experienced an unusually high number of feline admissions. Kitten season was longer and extended into the fall months. Consequently, your “scan” will show that we have been inundated with cats and kittens of all sizes, ages, colors, hair styles and personalities. And with this population explosion, we have had some special needs situations to deal with.

Box "Baby" update

In August, during the solar eclipse excitement, someone happened to notice a cardboard box tossed onto the shoulder of the highway. Upon further investigation, the good Samaritan noticed a small kitten duct-taped into the box.

The female buff-colored tabby, now known as “Baby,” has had a rough few months, but thanks to the kindness of people in this community, she is on the road to recovery.

Baby, about a year old now, was found with a large mass in her mouth that caused her tongue to hang out. Recently, she had surgery to remove the mass on the roof of her mouth. She also needed to have all of her teeth removed. Thankfully, she is recovering nicely.

Feline friends find safety 

Another feline friend who needed help is “Felicia.” The beautiful black and white tuxedo came into the shelter this past week as a stray, but something wasn’t quite right. A medical evaluation revealed that the four-month-old kitten had a broken pelvis. She is now getting the medical care she needs and should make a good recovery.

And then there’s “Jonesie.” Jonesie is one cool cat, and a very smart one. Two weeks ago, when the temperatures plummeted to 20 below zero, Jonesie was out in the elements.

Some way, somehow, the little guy found his way to the Beatrice Animal Shelter parking lot. (Yes, we have considered the possibility that he was “dumped” there.) He sensed that help was nearby.

About the same time, one of the shelter employees was preparing to leave through the garage exit. When she opened the door, she was startled by the black and white cat walking toward the open door. Without hesitation, Jonesie walked through the door and into the heated building. The whole incident was caught on the shelter’s security camera.

Thankfully, he is now safe and getting the care and nutrition he needs. It appears that he is a senior cat – approximately 14 years old. His fur was terribly matted and needed attention, but he seems otherwise healthy. The good news is that he has a second chance at a decent life and an opportunity to find a loving forever home, thanks again to people who care.

Coffin Cat Fund established

Taking care of animals like Baby, Felicia and Jonesie is what the Beatrice Humane Society is all about. But it takes more than love and compassion to make it happen. The reality is that financial resources determine what can and cannot be offered to the animals that come through the shelter doors. Whether it’s food, staff time, vaccinations, spay/neuter surgeries or paying the bills to keep the shelter going, money is an important part of the story.

In an attempt to be able to help cats with special needs, a new fund has been established through the generosity of Leigh and Marilyn Coffin. The Coffin Cat Fund will be a source of funding for felines that need special medical procedures that might otherwise be beyond the scope of the Humane Society’s budget.

The public is invited to donate to this special fund. If you would like to do so, send your check to me or to the Beatrice Humane Society, P.O. Box 646, Beatrice NE 68310, and be sure to indicate that it is for the Coffin Cat Fund. It is a great way to honor or memorialize a furry friend or a human friend or relative who loves cats.

A similar fund is already established for dogs. The Scully Fund for Dogs with Special Needs has been a wonderful resource for special surgeries and procedures for shelter dogs.

Thank you to all who have donated to the Beatrice Humane Society. Your support makes it possible for great things to happen for some deserving animals.

As Dr. Louis J. Camuti wrote, “By loving and understanding animals, perhaps we humans shall come to understand each other.”

Let’s hope so.

This column was written by Bette Anne Thaut, board member of the Beatrice Humane Society.