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FROM READERS: Columbia resident fostered 48 cats through Second Chance

Friday, June 13, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT
Meko is Alyce Bader-Cooley's 48th Second Chance foster cat.

Alyce Bader-Cooley and her family have lived in Columbia since 1987. She is a member of No Kill Columbia, an animal advocacy group dedicated to saving lives of companion animals through education and awareness.

I volunteer with Spay, Neuter and Protect (SNAP) and Second Chance, two local animal rescue organizations. Two years ago, I helped these organizations rescue every abandoned cat we could find at the Regency Trailer Park that were left behind when the land was sold to developers. My family opened our house to a surrogate momma cat and two kittens. The kittens were found nearly dead in a cardboard box in the back of an old shed.

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At this point our lives as foster parents began.

My family had always been dog people, but we were willing to take on the challenge of getting to know all about cats. I have a nursing background, and after volunteering to assist with animal medical duties at the Second Chance Adoption Center, I felt comfortable enough to take on cats with both special medical needs and behavioral issues.

Our oldest daughter graduated from MU and was no longer living at home, which left us an open bathroom that I could isolate a cat in during their treatment of antibiotics. It also served as a calm and quiet spot in which a traumatized cat could rehabilitate.

Second Chance provided food, toys, bowls and even veterinary expenses. After the cats were healthy and comfortable in my home, I would introduce them to my home, which included my grandmother in her late 90s, our small dogs, a rabbit and our two cats. Introducing a cat to all these different elements is part of the equation in order to make this animal adoptable. Many of our foster cats have been quick turnarounds — either getting adopted from our home or going out to the Adoption Center.

I decided last fall to take a break from fostering, but it only lasted less than month. All I could do was think that we had the open space in our home and we could make a difference in an animal’s life. We could save another life by opening our home and hearts up again.

Meko is my 48th Second Chance foster cat. People ask me if it is hard to give up a cat or kitten that I’ve fostered, and, of course it is difficult to see them leave my house. However, the feeling when that foster gets adopted and seeing how happy the new family is makes it worth all my tears when they have found their forever home.

Contact Second Chance at:

What are you passionate about? This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.


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