A Meow-zing Evening at the Cat and Kitten Intake Center at OHS

OHS welcomes new transports of cats and kittens thanks to PetSmart Charities grant

On a cool Friday evening in mid-September, the staff and volunteers at the OHS Cat and Kitten Intake Center were eagerly awaiting a special group of felines. The arrival of the 40 cats and kittens signaled a new partnership with PetSmart Charities to save lives in two underserved communities in central California. Madera Animal Services and Stanislaus County Animal Shelter were frequently struggling with way more felines coming in than being adopted.

The Cat and Kitten Intake Center at OHS opened in July and presented new opportunities to help save as many lives from Oregon and beyond as possible. The extra space meant that animals could have extra time to settle and get ready for adoption. As an adoption kennel at the main OHS shelter opens up, a cat or kitten from the Intake Center could move, and be one step closer to their forever home.

Although the transport vehicle was running late on the evening of Sept. 13, it didn’t dampen the spirits of the staff and volunteers, or lessen the significance of what these new arrivals symbolized. The OHS Second Chance program has worked with Madera Animal Services and Stanislaus County Animal Shelter for many years, bringing dogs to Portland to find a loving home. Now, it was the cats’ time to shine.

When the van arrived and the vehicle door opened, everyone’s attention turned to the praying mantis, a symbol of peace and calm, perched on top of the crates. According to the driver, the elegant insect was in the same place he was after they loaded up. For more than 700 miles, the praying mantis watched over the dozens of cats and kittens during their lifesaving journey. There was something odd and wonderful about this image that made everyone pause for a brief moment.

Then, the chorus of meows began. It was a long day for these cats and kittens and they were ready to stretch their legs, check out their new surroundings and have something to eat.

One-by-one, the cats and kittens were checked in. Some exhibited signs of a tough life on the street while others were craving affection – purring before they were even touched. Each feline got a brief exam, vaccines and had their photo taken. After that, it was time to rest in their new kennel with a soft bed and a big bowl of food. A new chapter in their life was beginning

Since July, more than 700 felines have come through the OHS Cat and Kitten Intake Center. More than 200 of those have arrived as a direct result of the PetSmart grant. This is in addition to the small transfers of cats, kittens and owner-surrendered felines that come in through the main shelter.

“This partnership is so important to the animals and our adopters, says Jessica Wiseley Kruger, Admissions Manager, OHS. “But it also gives struggling communities a boost.”

“This is a win win for everyone involved and we couldn’t be more thankful,” adds Kirsten Gross, Director, Madera County Animal Services.