A Whole Lotta’ Love at Cat City

Even on a wet winter Saturday, PAWS Cat City is bustling with potential adopters, while cats steadily stream out the door with new families in tow. It can get a bit crazy sometimes, but it leads to adoption numbers that are crazy good!

January marked the second anniversary in Seattle’s University District, and the move has been well worth it. In our first year at the new location, PAWS Cat City found homes for 916 cats and kittens, while last year that number grew to 1,391 adoptions!

According to PAWS Cat City manager Steph Renaud, the new adoption venue is just what the city needed.

“Seattle loves its cats, and we’ve got plenty of them.”

Renaud’s assessment is right on the money. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 29.5% of Seattle households include cats, making it one of the most cat-friendly cities in the country.

Just one look around the bright, colorful space, and you’ll see that demand is only part of the story. Most of the cats and kittens at PAWS Cat City are housed in open room “colonies.” This allows the cats to enjoy each other’s companionship while exploring towers, window shelves, wall perches, a variety of toys, and cozy bins for privacy.

According to PAWS Companion Animal Services Director Kay Joubert, the layout is the key to happy animals.

“It reduces the stress while they stay with us, keeping them healthier as well as happier. That’s important when you’re presenting them to potential adopters.”

This also allows prospective adopters to meet the cats and kittens in a comfortable and relaxed environment that is more similar to a home than the traditional shelter setting.

Keeping so many cats healthy and happy can be a challenge, and visitors often marvel at how relaxed they seem despite having so many furry roommates. To achieve this harmony, it sometimes takes a bit of shuffling.

“Sometimes it’s like being a camp counselor,” says a smiling Renaud. “We’ll occasionally move a cat or kitten to a different colony to make sure their roommates are better suited to their personalities.”

The staff at PAWS Cat City also works closely with the medical, foster and adoption staff at the Lynnwood shelter to achieve this relative harmony. Each cat’s health is monitored, and their weights are recorded weekly. If needed, they may return to Lynnwood or spend time in a foster home to get a break from communal living, or to have their health or eating habits more closely monitored.

Snazzy was a surrendered fiveyear-old tabby who struggled to adapt to the shelter and was eating poorly. After more than a month with an attentive foster family, she came back to PAWS Cat City. Staff watched her weight and separated her overnight to make sure she kept eating. In just over a week, we found her a new home.

It takes about 60 active volunteers with regular weekly shifts to keep PAWS Cat City running smoothly. Our volunteers help keep everything clean and fresh and spend important time playing with and socializing the cats and kittens. They also help welcome visitors and assist potential adopters in finding a great match for their homes.

On a Thursday night, volunteer Danica takes a break from the cat games to reflect on why PAWS Cat City works so well. “I think it gives potential adopters a good idea of each cat’s personality and how he or she gets along with other felines.”

In the year ahead, PAWS plans to continue ramping up transfers of adult cats, including many highly adoptable cats who are patiently waiting in other local shelters that have many more cats than adopters. This should allow us to serve our growing number of prospective adopters.

Whether adopting or volunteering, donating or just sharing our stories with your friends, your support of PAWS makes all this possible. Come visit us in Seattle, and let’s see how many more feline lives we can save!

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