WARSAW — More than 230 cats are in need of homes and the Kosciusko County Animal Welfare League is turning to the local community for help.
According to AWL Executive Director Darla McCammon, 230 cats recently arrived at the shelter after several local pet hoarding situations were uncovered.
The current scene at the shelter is one of overcrowding. Stacks of cages and crates stand where there is usually open space. Cats have taken over nearly every room, including some places where dogs are normally housed. Noses and paws peek out from nearly every corner as workers put in extra hours to make sure every mouth is fed and every cage is clean. Food bowls are sterilized and around 15 loads of laundry are done daily.
Because the AWL is a no-kill shelter, all healthy animals are kept alive. This makes it unlikely that any of the 230 cats will be euthanized simply to make room for more animals.
“In the eight years I’ve been here, we’ve never put an animal down that was healthy,” McCammon said.
It also means, however, the AWL has has temporarily stopped taking new pets.
“I can’t do anything else right now,” McCammon said. “I have staff here that are working five, six, seven hours a day just to feed and clean cages out.”
Adoptions are still on however and, for now, the cost to take home a cat has been reduced to $45 for one. Owners who wish to adopt two cats pay $25 for the second.
“So, for just $70, they get two wonderful pets,” McCammon said.
People sometimes ask why the shelter charges an adoption fee at all. To this, McCammon responds, each pet that comes into the shelter is vaccinated, tested, spayed or neutered, dewormed, treated for parasites like fleas and receives a health check.
“We’ll probably break even or lose money on every cat,” McCammon said. “By the time a dog or cat is up for adoption, we’ve invested a significant amount of money in it.”
The AWL is also looking for foster homes to keep cats until they are adopted. Fostering helps keep the shelter from becoming overcrowded. However, McCammon especially looks forward to the day when the shelter can move into its new location across U.S. 30.
So far, more than $800,000 has been raised toward renovating the new building and making sure it meets all requirements. Of that, nearly half has gone into purchasing the property and completing government-required environmental tests and impact studies, plus architect fees.
Donations are welcome, not just for the new building, but for any and all expenses the shelter may face.
Those interested in fostering or adopting a cat through the AWL are invited to stop by and bring their families and existing pets. The shelter has a weekend foster program that allows potential owners to take a pet home until the following Tuesday to make sure it is a good fit.
For more information about donating, fostering or adopting, click here or call (574) 267-3008. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.