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Billings woman rehabilitating feral cats since 2009

Feral cat trapped by Savage Cat Rescue
Posted at 5:43 PM, Sep 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-10 20:29:19-04

BILLINGS — Multiple times a day, Lorie Howard receives calls for help from local residents regarding stray or feral cats. In 2022, Howard has successfully rehabilitated more than 180 cats—but believes the battle has only just begun.

"It’s frustrating, but I just have to keep doing what I’m doing, and hope it makes a difference. We’ll find out next Spring," Howard said as she crossed her fingers. Howard has been working to trap and rehabilitate feral cats for over 13 years.

Howard reflects that she started this project after volunteering with her son at the local PetSmart, helping to adopt out cats and kittens. That quickly turned into something much bigger.

For years, Howard has dedicated her own time and money to this cause. I asked her, "How many cats would you say you have successfully trapped and found homes for?" to which she laughed and asked, "This year?".

Annually, Howard can re-home around 150 cats. But this year, she is on track to a record 200.

Howard ensures all of the cats go to loving forever homes through an in-depth application process. She says that she even delivers the cats to the homes.

Two separate cats that Howard has trapped ended up having owners, one missing for over a year and the other for more than two years.

However, Howard believes that a large number of these cats were dumped or abandoned. She says that unspayed females reproduce very quickly, sometimes having multiple litters a year.

"They say that when you spay or neuter one cat, five more are avoided," Howard says.

Her efforts have not gone unnoticed by members of the community.

"Lorie is the most heartfelt and compassionate animal lover I have ever met," says Nicole Dell. Dell says that she has volunteered with Howard on her endeavors many times, and believes Howard radiates love for these animals. "You're truly a blessing to the animal community," Dell says.

Patricia McCaslin also has spent time helping Howard trap feral cats.

After putting up security cameras, McCaslin started to notice dozens of cats roaming her property in Laurel. She says that she reached out for help on social media and with animal services in Laurel, but found none.

After feeling helpless, McCaslin found relief through the help of Howard. Working together for over a year, Howard and McCaslin were able to trap and rehabilitate all of the cats. "(She) came out and spent so much time, effort, and energy," says McCaslin.

Howard named her project "Savage Cat Rescue", and recently got the paperwork to classify as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. This means that all future donations will be tax deductible, which Howard hopes will increase donations so she can help more cats in need.

“I’m hoping at some point to maybe get some government involvement or some sort of assistance because right now there isn’t any," Howard says.

Howard says that places like Laurel and Sheridan are hot spots in desperate need of help. Oftentimes it is difficult to have county animal services involved in these feral cat cases because they are normally outside of the county, Howard explains.

“It feels really good that there’s a lot of community support. People want to donate their time, supplies, or monetary donations, which all are much appreciated. It takes a village," Howard says.

If you are interested in learning more about Savage Cat Rescue, please click here.