Kittens And Criminals: An Unlikely Match
Last week, we tweeted about a cat-fostering program taking place in Ohio's Madison Correctional Facility, where prisoners care for, train, and socialize cats and kittens for adoption. We were a little trepidatious about the idea of convicted murderers and other felons handling and caring for helpless little kittens so we decided to delve deeper. It turns out, there are many cat fostering programs all around the country and they seemingly do much more good than harm - for both the prisoners and the animals. The inmates have to apply and qualify for a position as a cat fosterer. The requirements vary from prison to prison, but all generally fall along the lines of:
- Exemplary conduct and a history of good behavior
- Exceptional hygiene
- Interview/screening process with prison staff
- Psychiatric stability
- No history of animal abuse or violent crimes
And, the individuals selected also receive special training to properly care for the animals. Many of the cats they receive have been abused, are semi-feral, or extremely shy. These cats are in desperate need of socialization so that they are more highly adoptable.
In addition to socializing the animals, members of the foster program provide care taking duties such as cleaning litter boxes and cages, feeding, and grooming. The programs across the country have been fairly successful, easing the cats into social interactions with humans and helping them get adopted.
The cats have also been beneficial to the prisoners. A participating inmate in Indiana said, “Love will change characteristics from anybody’s tortured past. That goes for animals and humans, really.”
Image Credits: The Columbus Dispatch