'Everything has gone up': Animal shelters struggling to keep up with rising costs

Pet rescues are feeling the pinch with the cost of food, gas and many other items only getting pricier, making it all the more difficult for shelters to operate.

It's a busy room of felines at Miss J.LA's Fur Babies Cat Cafe and Adoption Centre, as the business holds one last fundraiser in its current location before moving.

The fundraiser is of increased importance as the cost of taking care of so many cats has gone up dramatically.

"Even looking for a place to rent, everything has gone up since we were looking in 2018," said owner Jennifer Laferriere in an interview on Sunday. "So costs are going up. Cat food's gone up, litter is going up, everything, vet care."

To help cover costs, Laferriere uses a variety of funds, even starting a GoFundMe page to raise money for a new location. 

"When we are open, we charge to see the kitties. That goes to taking care of them," she said. "We rely on donations. We do monthly auctions just to get a new location."

It's a similar story at Tails for Freedom Rescue.

The organization is averaging about $10,000 a month in vet bills -- a large cost when fewer donations are coming in.

"We're definitely seeing a slowdown because people are feeling the impacts of inflation themselves, and it's taking more money to run their household, and there's less leftover to help rescues," said Andrea Hilderman, the rescue's spay and neuter coordinator.

Tails for Freedom Rescue is also seeing fewer people volunteering to drive cats, something made worse with each jump at the pump.

"I always say at the end of our clinics that without drivers we don't have clinics," Hilderman said. "Our clinics are primarily in Treherne, with our vet in Treherne, and so we require people to get up at five o'clock in the morning and take 10 cats out to Treherne."

The driver shortage is also hitting the Animal Food Bank, which is still seeing increased demand for food and pet supplies.

"The delivery model is really close to my heart. It's how I founded the food bank, so I’d really like it to stay that way, and so we're hoping that we see a reprieve in costs because it is impacting our ability to provide food and supplies to pets in need," explained Nicole Wilks, founder of Animal Food Bank.

According to Wilks, the price of pet food has also risen, which is a problem as the organization is seeing a decrease in donations.

"All of the pet food manufacturers and the wholesalers are experiencing the same price increases, and you know it goes down the line,” Wilks said

Even with all the increases in fees and hardships, helping the animals is well worth it for the organizations.

"That's the whole goal. That's what we're here for, to save them and get them into a home where they're going be loved," said Laferriere.