“It’s a lot like Christmas here all the time,” says Holly Chapples, founder and director of Tiny Paws Kitten Rescue. “We are surrounded by innocent babies and it’s all about giving, coming together in a bond of joyful celebration of life. But we don’t find our presents under a tree. We find them in ditches, abandoned buildings, hollow logs, and engine compartments. The kittens are truly elves of gratefulness, teaching us how to live life as it is given and celebrating it fully.”
Chapples founded Tiny Paws as a 501(c)3 nonprofit in 2004 in her own home because there was no life option for orphaned newborn kittens. “These babies were considered unsavable and were euthanized,” said Chapples. In 2013, the rescue moved to an abandoned city owned building that was remodeled into Oklahoma’s only newborn kitten rescue facility. It took 12 months and countless volunteers and donations. The City of Stillwater has been very supportive of Tiny Paws, taking in about 350 bottle babies a year and caring for them with over 80 volunteers. Trained volunteers bottle feed, give medical care, wean, spay/neuter, test, and then adopt the kittens to screened forever homes.
According to Volunteer Coordinator Renee Huddleston, “The volunteers love to remember rescue and survival stories; the little girl with a broken back found in a garbage can, now a favorite at the Rescue; the siblings that survived a raccoon attack to become beloved family members; two blind kittens adopted into a home where they never knew they were disadvantaged; a baby found in a hole in a wall of an empty house. These are the stories that keep us going.”
Now, 5000 rescued/adopted kittens later, Tiny Paws is known across the state as an expert care facility for the most vulnerable population in municipal shelters. Stillwater is fortunate to have cooperative coordination of services between Tiny Paws, Stillwater Animal Welfare, the Humane Society, and OSU Operation Catnip. Chapples said, “We work together to improve the quality of life for the City’s animals.”
It takes a lot to keep the Rescue going, but it takes very little to help. There is a constant need of supplies like paper towels, unscented baby wipes, bleach, and baby blankets. Donors can sponsor a kitten for $250 or contribute to the medical care fund, which always needs replenishment because Tiny Paws accepts kittens regardless of their medical conditions. Many need critical lifesaving care because so many arrive in dire condition due to starvation, exposure to the elements, and even human cruelty. “Children ask their birthday party guests to give gifts to the kittens instead of themselves. We welcome memorial gifts, endowments, and payroll matching contributions. And, of course, more on-site hearts and hands are always needed,” said Chapples.
In this season of giving, take part in these upcoming fundraisers dedicated to raising money to care for the kittens.
- Dec. 2 – Stillwater Petco Mega Adoption Event 1 – 4 p.m.
- Dec. 9 – Bake Sale at Lakeview Plaza 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
- Dec. 14 – Gatsby’s Meow Mixer 6 – 9 p.m.
- Dec. 16 – Donation Drive at Lakeview Plaza 12 – 3 p.m.
If you have been looking for a good cause, the kittens will give you “paws.”