Lily, her mother and her nine siblings were rescued by North Georgia Animal Alliance, an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that helps homeless cats and dogs of Catoosa and Walker counties.

It’s kitten season in Catoosa and Walker counties, which means a lot of work for North Georgia Animal Alliance.

“At this time of year,” says NGAA president Valerie Hayes, “the kittens just come pouring in. Some have lost their mothers and have to be bottle-fed, some are sick, all of them need forever homes.”

Hayes says that when cats and kittens come into the NGAA system, they see a vet, receive any medicines they need and are placed in a foster home. “Once they’re healthy and happy and spayed or neutered, they’re ready to go to someone who wishes to adopt them.”

NGAA places most of their cats and kittens at Fort Oglethorpe Petsense for adoption. On July 6, the group held a special adoption event at which 50 kittens and cats were available for adoption. “There’s not room at Petsense for that many cats on a regular basis,” says Hayes, “but we brought a lot in from our fosters for the occasion.”

Hayes says the event was a huge success, but that far from all the cats found homes. “A number of people adopted two, which was very encouraging,” she says.

“Rescue work is often hard,” says Hayes, “but it’s also rewarding. Our volunteers love what they do. They get as much love back from the animals they help as they give out.”

Hayes says NGAA is a 26-year-old, all-volunteer, 501©(3) nonprofit. She says the greatest needs of the organization at this time are:

♦ Foster homes for cats and kittens. Foster parents can care for one or more than one cat. NGAA provides most supplies, as well as training. Cats are in foster care anywhere from a month to a few months.

♦ People to run cats to spay/neuter clinics and pick them up. There are morning and evening runs to Dixie Day Spay twice a month and morning and evening runs to McKamey four times a week.

♦ People to help clean cat pens at Petsense in Fort Oglethorpe mornings and evenings. Training is provided and volunteers can choose to help as their schedules allow.

♦ Donations. Hayes says NGAA’s vet bills can run as high as $5,000 a month during kitten season. “Donations have been down recently,” she says. “That’s partly because we’ve been so busy we haven’t been asking. We’re asking now. We really need help. Not only do we provide all vet care for animals in our system, we provide spay/neuter assistance to the public, as well as many other services. Our helpline stays busy all the time.”

Tamara Wolk is a reporter for The Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga., and Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga.