Ohio Alleycat Resource (OAR) started in 1998 when a group of citizens came together to form an organization that embraced TNR as a humane method of controlling populations of stray and feral cats. They also established a small animal rescue to find homes for tame cats/kittens that they came across through their TNR efforts.
Based in Ohio, the group covers Cincinnati, OH and Northern, KY as well as parts of Indiana. Sloane Lee, who is the Shelter Director, has been with the group since October 2015. Sloane’s role with the rescue includes overseeing the daily operations, managing intake, pulling cats/kittens from euthanasia lists at county shelters, managing their Facebook page, and more.
Mission Statement: Ohio Alleycat Resource & Spay/Neuter Clinic is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Our mission is to enrich the lives of cats and communities in Greater Cincinnati by providing low-cost, high-quality spay/neuter services for ferals, strays and pets; offering TNR (trap-neuter-return) and other outreach programs; and running a no-kill adoption center dedicated to finding loving homes.
A conversation with Sloane
Why did you join the rescue?
I previously worked at a county “kill” shelter that had embraced the tenets of the “no kill equation” as put forth by Nathan Winograd. The Director there was extremely progressive and has aggressively led the shelter to higher and higher save rates over the course of the last few years. I became familiar with OAR and their mission through working with them at my previous job. I believed very strongly in their mission and the way they approached helping cats in Cincinnati. When I heard that they were hiring, I was very interested in working at OAR.
Does your rescue have a shelter or is it foster-based or both?
Both. We have a beautiful, fairly new Shelter.
About how many cats do you adopt out each year?
In 2015, we adopted out 481 cats.
What is the hardest part about running an animal rescue?
In all honesty, I am so lucky to be a part of an organization that has been around for so long. So many volunteers and employees before me established what methods work best for this group, so I don’t find too many things very hard. I suppose the one thing that comes to mind is that even though we are a no-kill rescue, we occasionally have cats in our care who cannot be treated/cured of medical issues and we have to accept that we cannot save every single cat. That is pretty difficult, and we work very hard to make sure it doesn’t happen often.
What is the best part about running an animal rescue?
The animals! I love coming to work every day and walking through to say hello to the cats first thing in the morning. They are what it’s all about!
What would you say is the most common misconception about running a rescue?
I think people think that this job is all kitten-cuddles and adoption fees, when in reality most rescues/shelters operate at a deficit, or are very fortunate to break even. There is a lot of heartbreak in the rescue world, and I don’t know that most people realize that.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting a rescue?
I would recommend you volunteer for at least a couple years with an established rescue/shelter, and really consider whether starting a new rescue is the way to go, or if you should just throw your enthusiasm behind an already established rescue. I don’t know that people realize the depth of work required to create and run a rescue. I have seen many rescues collapse within a year or two of being created because it just isn’t sustainable for the people involved.
What has been the best way to collect donations for your rescue?
Casting a wide net works for us—Facebook, Twitter, Email, flyers.
Do you hold adoption events?
We have adoptable cats in a few local retailers like PetSmart, and our adoption center in Cincinnati is open every weekend.
Do you find that it’s hard to come by volunteers or fosters?
We have a wonderful group of volunteers and have many new applications each month. We can always use more, though!
Anything else we should know about the rescue?
We work really hard to save cats! All of the cats in our adoption program come from local county shelters where they are in imminent danger of euthanasia.
What’s a fun fact about yourself?
I love cats and I have two at home, but I also have three dogs including a Great Dane!