Cat Coalition looking for home
Like the wild cats it rescues, Chico Cat Coalition will soon be homeless.
The organization has been informed that the property on which its cat shelter is located is for sale. The prospective buyer does not want the coalition to continue using the property.
The shelter is located in a detached garage and a small wooden barn behind an orchard home on the outskirts of Chico. The garage has been converted to look more like a small cottage by adding dividing walls, fans and lights.
Three years ago the coalition signed a lease that expires in 2007. The coalition is seeking legal advice about whether the new owner must honor the lease.
Chico Cat Coalition is unsure when it must leave the property and is seeking a new location immediately. It is looking to buy or lease a new property in Chico for either the long or short term, said Jill Hargrove, its public relations officer.
Temporary and permanent homes are also needed for the cats. Temporary foster homes are important because they help socialize wild cats and turn kittens into the lap cats everyone wants, Hargrove said.
The coalition is leaving its options open to the type of building needed, but a rural location is preferred, Hargrove said. A barn, warehouse, garage, old house, office building, portable building or land on which to place a portable building would be suitable. Leasing to the coalition would be a great opportunity for a tax write-off, she said.
Since its formation in 1998, the coalition has rescued over 600 feral cats and kittens, 60 of which remain at the shelter, Hargrove said. The cats are housed in two buildings behind a rural home.
The larger building contains three rooms full of cat beds and toys. In the main room volunteers play with the tame cats, while the wild cats congregate in the outdoor cages. Cat doors allow the animals to move indoors or outdoors, to be around people or alone.
“No matter how hot it is there are always cats laying out in the sun,” Hargrove said.
The second building contains cats that are infected with the feline immunodeficiency virus, similar to HIV in humans. Cats infected with FIV must be kept separate from the healthy cats so that the virus does not spread. FIV can be passed between cats through bites but cannot spread to humans.
Many of the cats come from generations of wild cats and are not adoptable into traditional homes, Hargrove said. The coalition gives these cats food, shelter, medical attention and the opportunity to live out their lives.
The organization does not kill animals that are not adopted, unless they are sick. “They’re just little souls that need us,” Hargrove said. “They’re all deserving of loving homes.”
Volunteer Jeanne Hansen decided to volunteer for the coalition after adopting a cat.
“It’s so rewarding to know that we rescued cats that would have had such a miserable existence and found them homes where the owners are ecstatic,” Hansen said.
Chico Cat Coalition’s shelter is not open to the public. Adoptions are handled on Sundays at Petco, although people wishing to adopt an animal can call the coalition to make arrangements. Only a handful of volunteers regularly enter the property.
Chico Cat Coalition is an all-volunteer organization funded by donations from private individuals, Paw Prints Thrift Store, and the City of Chico. All money donated to the organization goes directly to caring for cats. For more information: 894-1365; e-mail: email@example.com; www.chicocatcoalition.org.