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They're not man's best friend, but fortunately for them, they don't have to be.

Thanks to a program started two years ago, Lincoln cats that are not suitable for indoor living are getting a second chance to thrive. 

Joining Forces Saving Lives is a local nonprofit with a mission to help cats, and recently that's been carried out through a program that takes cats that would be unhappy living with humans indoors and places them on local farms, where they can spend their days hunting mice. In exchange for their help keeping unwanted pests off the property, farmers provide the cats with a stable environment and food, water and shelter.

"Some cats just do not do well indoors," said Melissa Money-Beecher, the president of JFSL.

In 2017, JFSL received a grant from Maddie's Fund, a nonprofit that has been awarding grants to animal organizations since 1994. Throughout its history, Maddie's Fund has awarded more than $225 million to help support shelters, animal health care and more across the U.S. 

After receiving the grant, Money-Beecher had to decide how to use it. She said research was important, when it came to deciding where to funnel the money within her organization.

"I went to several conferences to research how we could use the money," Money-Beecher said. "Everywhere I went I just kept hearing about this barn-cat idea."

So she decided to launch a working/barn cat program in Lincoln. Partnering with the Capital Humane Society, cats that may not work so well indoors are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, treated for fleas and ear mites and microchipped. 

Money-Beecher says she's already placed six barn cat groupings and a total of 28 cats. She expects to place another 100 in 2019.

Elaine Capps has helped out with the program for the past few months. An avid cat lover, she lives on a farm and has 15 cats that help control the mouse population. More importantly, her cats have a second chance to be happy animals.  

"Some of these cats we come across just simply are not adoptable," Capps said. "They need to be able to be where they want to be and do what they want."

Capps said she's happy knowing that her cats are in a place where they can finally have the life they want. 

"There are not a lot of places that can take these types of cats," Capps said. "I have a unique situation here because we don't even have close neighbors. They can just be out and about and be kitties here."

Money-Beecher values her organization's relationship with the Capital Humane Society and says that the two groups working together toward the same goal shows the importance of the program.

"Just seeing cats that wouldn't have a chance being able to have a chance out in the world is a gift," Money-Beecher said. "Knowing that these cats have a chance and knowing they can have a full life is why I want to do this." 

For more information on the working/barn cat program or to make a donation to Joining Forces Saving Lives, visit its website at http://www.joiningforcessavinglives.org/. You can also contact it directly via email at info@JoiningForcesSavingLives.org

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7223 or zpenrice@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @zacharypenrice1

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City desk intern

Spring semester city desk intern at the Journal Star.

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