OKANOGAN – More than 30 cats are settling into a new building for long-term residents of the Animal Foster Care Cat Shelter.
“The length of stay for our long-term residents weighs heavily on us,” said a shelter announcement. “Despite numerous and varied attempts, we have been unable to find many of them homes of their own.”
The new facility in Okanogan is being provided at no cost by an individual who wants to remain anonymous.
“The Cat House is an extension of Animal Foster Care Cat Shelter and will provide a home to the cats that have been in the shelter the longest,” said Stephanie Kraemer, a shelter volunteer. “This will consist of senior, under-socialized, shy or timid cats, as those are the ones that are most often overlooked for adoptions.”
Last week, 32 cats that had been there more than two years - and a few of them as many as five or six years – were moved to The Cat House.
“Our shelter is not set up for, nor intended for, long-term stays; in their new space they will have the chance to live kennel-free and have both indoor and outdoor space to explore safely,” said the organization.
Kraemer said the cats will be able to live freely, have access to an enclosed outdoor space and live a more enriching life.
“This, in turn, will free up space at the shelter to allow us to help more cats in need,” she said.
The Cat House will be run by volunteers, as is the shelter. Additional volunteers and supplies will be needed.
“Because most of them are timid and under-socialized, this was a very big transition for them and we want to give them plenty of quiet time to settle in and accept this as their new home until they can find their forever family,” Kraemer said. “After this transition period, we will begin posting (on Facebook) about each cat and if someone is interested in meeting them to pursue adoption, we can set up appointments for visits.
“The ultimate goal for these cats is still to find families of their own.”
Volunteers plan to work with the cats on being more comfortable around humans, making them easier to adopt, she said.
“We will need volunteers dedicated to this,” she said. “We continue to ask for and appreciate financial support, as it allows us to continue to take in the many cats in need in our county.”
“We look forward to this new opportunity; we are so excited to see how our cats will blossom in this new space,” said the group.
During June, the shelter took in 165 cats and kittens, said shelter president Dianne Gray.
They included 34 adults and 131 kittens. During the same time, two adults and eight kittens were adopted, and 86 cats were sent to the NOAH Center in Stanwood.
“Last Saturday (June 29) we took in 24 cats/kittens,” Gray said. “The great thing about that is all will be spayed and neutered, and help stop the overpopulation of cats. We continue to need food, litter and money for vet bills, vaccines and medications.”
The shelter is at 4 Spring Coulee Road, Okanogan. It’s open for adoptions from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.