Local no-kill cat shelter Furry Friends has been adopting out cats and kittens to the community at a higher rate than normal during the COVID-19 pandemic. Local stay-at-home orders and quarantines can cause people to desire a furry and four-legged companion for company with all the extra time spent at home.
According to Furry Friends Marketing Director Diane Stevens, Furry Friends has adopted out 193 cats and kittens throughout 2020 and is on track to adopt out more cats this year than ever before. Stevens said around 200 cats and kittens would be adopted out in a big year for the shelter. This year, they’re on track to find homes for more than 250.
“One of the things we’re really happy with is that we’ve always had a percentage of cats that are unadoptable or hard to adopt out,” Stevens said. “Recently, we’ve adopted out several of those, and it’s amazing.”
Stevens said some cats can appear to have “attitude problems” while they’re at the shelter. However, once they find the perfect owner, it’s all cuddles and purrs.
“If they get into the right household, it just transforms them,” Stevens said.
Currently, the shelter has about 100 cats and kittens in its care, with 18 of them living at the shelter. The other 82 live with foster parents around Clark County who take care of them until the perfect owner takes them home.
Stevens said the shelter is looking for a few items to help with the large influx of cats and is accepting donations of the items or money to purchase them. Items needed include pet nail polish (to identify similar cats), ProPlan wet and dry kitten food, Natural Balance dry kitten food and gift cards to pet food stores. Donations can be dropped off at Woodin You Pampered Paws, 13305 NE Highway 99 102, Vancouver.
Because of COVID-19, adoption processes can look a little different than in years past. To limit the spread of the virus, those wishing to adopt a new friend need to make an appointment with the shelter, fill out an adoption application (this does not mean you must adopt the cat) and meet up with the cat at the shelter or its foster house. Stevens said that many potential adopters come to the shelter to meet with a certain cat and can end up going home with a different one. “They (cats) just know who they want to be with,” she said.
For Furry Friends, the biggest obstacle to adopting out more cats isn’t space but funding. Because the shelter is no-kill, medical costs for a single cat can be upwards of $5,000-$6,000, according to Stevens. Earlier this year, the shelter took in a 7-month-old kitten named Ravenpaw with two broken back legs. Because the breaks were clean breaks, volunteer vets at Furry Friends were able to give Ravenpaw full function of his legs and he is now living with his new owner. The medical costs of the surgery were just over $5,000. However, no matter the medical costs the non-profit burdens itself with, all adult cats are adopted out for around $100. High medical expenses such as surgery and medicine are a majority of the shelter’s expenses and the reason it holds auctions, fundraisers and donation drives.
Due to COVID-19, the shelter held its annual auction online this year. Because the auction is usually held in person, Stevens said she was unsure about how the online auction would go this year. However, the auction brought in around $62,000 this year and Stevens said she was “very pleased” with how it all turned out and “it was more than (the shelter) could have ever hoped for with an online auction.”
Along with the online auction earlier this month, Furry Friends also took part in Give More 24!, a 24-hour fundraising event in Southwest Washington, on Thursday, Sept. 24. Through the event, the shelter raised $11,495 for medical costs.
None of the money raised goes to anything other than care for the cats as the entire shelter is run by volunteers.
“That’s why we do fundraising,” Stevens said. “We’re just trying to make ends meet.”
As for why Stevens does what she does, she said it is “very rewarding” to see a cat or kitten find a home with a loving owner. Stevens said many of the cats and kittens at the shelter have been abused or neglected for some time, so getting them into a place where they are happy and healthy “fuels the fire” for Stevens.
Stevens also said the volunteers giving their time and efforts at Furry Friends are appreciated and the goodwill and caring they give animals in the community is a “wonderful thing, especially in this year where we have so much sadness.”
Along with funds for its medical costs, Stevens said the shelter is searching for another volunteer veterinary technician. The shelter needs all the help it can get, and Stevens said Furry Friends is happy with any amount of help a volunteer veterinary technician can give. Those interested in the position can email furryfriendswa.org/volunteer/.