Five Lucky Kittens

Rebecca contacted the HSBC TNR program last summer for help with a colony of feral kittens who were about to lose their home. As she explained, Rebecca’s mother had lived on a rural property in Munger with a man who had always lovingly cared for the multitude of cats that ended up on his property. Unfortunately, this kind gentleman suddenly passed away this past spring, leaving the property unoccupied. Rebecca still came by periodically to feed the cats, but when she learned the property was to be sold and the abandoned trailer demolished, she contacted us for assistance in saving the cats.

Meanwhile, Tony N. works the family farm in Rhodes along with his parents. They grow crops and raise cattle, and with their multiple barns holding grain and corn, they have an oversized rodent problem. When word came to the HSBC that Tony was looking for natural, pesticide-free rodent control (a.k.a. cats), we saw a perfect opportunity to relocate the Munger feral colony.

I trapped the colony property over two TNR cycles during August. At the second trapping Rebecca and her mom assisted, and together we trapped six young cats about six to seven months old. One was deemed social enough to be admitted into the HSBC Cat Foster Program for eventual placement in an indoor forever home. While sadly one cat died, the remaining four went to Tony’s farm after their spay/neuter surgery, rabies vaccinations and eartipping.

At the HSBC’s recommendation, Tony agreed to confine the cats in a large cage in one of his barns for a period of one week. This acclimation process would get the cats used to the sights, sounds and smells of their new place, greatly increasing the likelihood they would stay and consider it their home once released.

This beautiful working farm is now a haven for these feral kitties who were soon to be homeless. In return, Tony and family will surely notice and appreciate the decrease in the rodent population in their barns – a mutually beneficial relationship to be sure!

Note: All the cats in our HSBC Barn Cats Program are sterilized, vaccinated for rabies and are free if you are willing to provide daily food, water and shelter. If you have need for barn cats, please contact the HSBC TNR program at (989) 893-0451.

Foster Success Story: Baron and Henry

In April, the HSBC Dog Foster/Adoption Program was contacted by another rescue group in Saginaw County, asking for our assistance with a couple of dogs. Their owner had recently passed away, leaving three dogs behind. The Saginaw group took one, a miniature poodle, and our HSBC took the other two, senior Pomeranians.

They came to us in poor condition, having obviously been neglected for some time:
overgrown nails, dental issues, fleas, and ear infections. When examined by the
veterinarian, the smaller of the two was also diagnosed with a heart condition and
an enlarged liver. They were named Baron and Henry, and once their medical care was
completed, we set out to find homes for both of them – an adopter for Henry, and a
hospice placement for Baron, because of his health issues. Luckily, we found both of
them wonderful new homes in short order, and Henry is even serving as an emotional support animal for his adopter.



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Success Story: Trap, Neuter, and Return

Tommy Boy acclimating to his new home

The HSBC’s Trap, Neuter, Return program may be the most ambitious and significant program now being undertaken by our organization. This is just one story of feral cat caretakers who have become fans of our TNR Program through their personal experience.

Like many people who live on a large piece of property, Connie and Jack Joles have faced the problem of what to do about outdoor cats that take up residence and produce kittens at a startling rate. A few months ago, Connie decided to research the fertility of cats and was dismayed to learn that the unowned cats she saw coming and going around her house could soon become a huge colony. She and her husband, Jack, are animal lovers with pet indoor cats and a friendly chocolate Labrador, so she was not going to let the visitor cats starve, but how could she keep them from multiplying?

She decided that spaying and neutering was the only answer, but local vets in her area were unaffordable for so many cats. Then Connie discovered the HSBC TNR program. She borrowed some of our traps, caught the feral cats she was feeding, and sent them on the transport to All About Animals in Warren to be fixed, rabies-vaccinated, and returned to her the next day for just $25 each. The whole experience was so positive that Connie and Jack have become strong believers in the TNR program.

Connie says that the HSBC volunteers and AAAR employees at the transport were friendly and helpful. She also learned that the vets at the AAAR clinic in Warren not only spayed and neutered her cats, but also gave them a thorough wellness check and, in one case, administered treatment for ear mites after getting her approval. Fortunately, that cat is tame enough to allow her to continue the treatment at home. Another of those fixed cats has now befriended her chocolate Lab and follows him everywhere when he goes outside, sometimes staying embarrassingly close when he is trying to do his business.

The HSBC TNR program has enabled Connie and Jack Joles to care for and enjoy their colony of outdoor cats without worrying about unwanted litters of kittens. In fact, Connie and Jack have even accepted one of our unadoptable HSBC foster cats who needs an outdoor home, Tommie Boy, into their cat colony. After all, what’s one more (as long as they’re all fixed)

Foster Success Story: “Princess” Gracie


“Princess” Gracie

Fairy-tales begin with “Once upon a time” and often subject a beautiful princess to hardship and trial before granting her happiness forever. This is the story of a grey and white kitten born in the wild and lured into a live trap set by some of our HSBC Trap-Neuter-Return volunteers. Although to the kitten this experience must have seemed terrible at the time, she was actually being rescued by the first of many fairy godmothers who would transform her life. The volunteers took her to a generous vet who checked her over and spayed her. From there, she went to live temporarily with HSBC President Jeannie Nichols, who named her Gracie. Jeannie cared for and fed her but was not able to give Gracie the time necessary to socialize her. Then HSBC fostering volunteer Sherry Nelson took Gracie in, and slowly the timid little feral creature learned to enjoy human contact at Sherry’s home.

Meanwhile, not far away, a woman named Colleen, her husband, and her three lovely teenaged daughters were talking of getting a companion for their cat, Mystique, a tall black cat Colleen describes as “The Best Cat Ever.” They had rescued Mystique a few months ago when she had been an emaciated stray with eye infections. It did not take long for Mystique’s sweet personality to emerge and for her to become a permanent part of their household, which also includes a gentle lab mix named Maxine. As the humans discussed Mystique’s future companion, the older daughter said that she would prefer a cat with grey and white fur.

At work the following day, Colleen mentioned to Sherry her daughter’s desire for a grey and white cat, and here is where the story takes on the magic of a fairy tale. Sherry was delighted to suggest Gracie as a possible new addition to Colleen’s family. Sherry told Colleen that the kitten might not be immediately approachable and would need some patience before she accepted the family. Colleen was amazed; her daughter expresses a wish, and that wish is granted the following day! Not only that, but Gracie was sixteen weeks old, the same age as Mystique.

So Gracie entered Colleen’s family. As Sherry predicted, the new kitten at first hid in corners or peeped at the family from behind an open door. Gracie always allowed her new owners to hold her, but soon she started going up to them to ask for affection. Now Gracie and Mystique frolic together without a care in the world, and she mingles freely with the family instead of observing them from a distance. Colleen says of Gracie, “She eats like a pig” and, “She is loved.”

If Gracie could talk, she might tell us that she feels like a fairy-tale princess rescued from an uncertain fate and magically spirited to a life of warmth and love. Her story has many fairy godmothers and the luck that gave her the grey and white coat her new family wanted in their next cat. Gracie’s good fortune also depended on the HSBC Trap-Neuter-Return program, in which volunteers trap feral cats so that they can be sterilized and their kittens can be socialized and adopted into good homes. Along the way, each person who cared for Gracie gave her the courage to discard her fears and become a playful and affectionate kitten. It is because of this HSBC TNR program and the incredible volunteers who manage it that Gracie will be indoors this winter, a great pet for a loving family and a happy friend of “The Best Cat Ever.”


Adoption Success Story: Rick

Rich with his new parents!

Rick is a 4-month-old calico long-haired kitten who was trapped by HSBC TNR volunteers with his feral mother and two littermates. While the mother cat was very wild and had to be returned to her outdoor home after her spay surgery, Rick and his two siblings were so tame that they were taken into our HSBC Cat Foster/Adoption Program for spay/neuter surgery and vaccinations before being put up for adoption.

Unfortunately, Rick’s long hair was so matted that it was an impossible job for our volunteers to comb him out. At that point, Sudsy Puppy came to the rescue by giving the HSBC a reduced price for de-matting and bathing Rick, plus clipping his nails since Rick was a rescue kitten. Right around that time a local couple who was looking to adopt a long-haired kitten contacted our HSBC website, and within a week they came to Rick’s foster home to meet him. They were immediately smitten and adopted Rick into their family, which also includes two adult cats. Rick is now fitting in fine in his first forever indoor home.

The Humane Society of Bay County is seeking foster homes for adoptable cats and dogs. Interested individuals and families must fill out an application, be willing to have a home visit prior to placement, provide food, water, litter, treats, etc., and be willing to pick up and/or drop off animals at adoption events. The animals will have been sterilized, vaccinated, de-wormed, and treated for fleas prior to fostering. The HSBC will cover costs for vet care if needed.

Please contact Cheryl McKenzie, HSBC Cat Foster Coordinator, or Stephanie Beiser, Dog Foster Coordinator, for more information at 989-893-0451 or email and – open your heart and home to save the life of an animal in need!

HSBC’s Cattery Project

Our friends at the Humane Society of Bay County have been working incredibly hard to complete their renovations and open their facility to the public. Check out the latest update on their progress!

The last major remodeling project to complete the new Pet Adoption Center of the Humane Society of Bay County is proceeding at a good pace.  This large “Cattery” area will feature four glass “cat condos” holding up to four cats each with beds, perches, toys and climbing blocks. Outside these cat enclosures there will be sitting areas for visitors and potential adopters to interact with the HSBC cats and kittens available for adoption.  To date, the ceiling, lighting and an exit door have been replaced, the original flooring removed, and, most recently, a new and easily sanitized extra-thick epoxy floor installed to meet the animal sheltering license requirements of the Michigan Dept. of Agriculture and Rural Development. While the Pet Adoption Center is not yet open to the public, the HSBC is hoping for a January 2019 completion date.  

Let’s help the HSBC achieve their goal! Please consider donating to this wonderful cause at