The Cat’s Meow seeks help to continue providing services

The Chronicle (Centralia)March 24, 2013 

A Lewis County organization that offers a fix for feral cats will have to close its doors unless the community steps up with some support.

The Cat’s Meow of Lewis County is looking for 500 people to commit to a monthly pledge of $10 to keep the organization running.

“I have been footing the bill,” said Twila Collins, the organization’s executive director. “I can’t do it anymore.”

Collins controls the local cat population by transporting between 20 and 30 felines to a spay-and-neuter facility in Lynnwood three times a month. Collins, who has taken nearly 1,000 cats to the clinic over the years, hopes to eliminate the drive by establishing a similar clinic in Lewis County.

The nonprofit is working to open a 1,000-square-foot clinic at 404 S. Tower Ave. in Centralia that will serve Lewis, Thurston, Cowlitz, Wahkiakum, Grays Harbor and Pacific counties.

Initially, the new facility would spay or neuter at least 50 cats a week for between $10 and $30 each. Collins said the fees to fix each cat might drop and the number of felines could increase as funds become available.

The Cat’s Meow had expected to have the facility up and running by August, but now the opening depends on whether the nonprofit can get enough pledges to survive.

“The critical part of this is we cannot write grants until we’re sustainable,” said Collins, who has worked for the organization for three years. “If the community doesn’t support us, we’re obviously not sustainable.”

The Cat’s Meow has formed a coalition with Kitty Kat Haven and Almost Home, formerly Friends of the Lewis County Animal Shelter. Almost Home is planning to build a no-kill shelter for cats and dogs that will include a spay-and-neuter facility on Kresky Avenue, near the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds.

Patty Kaija, president of Almost Home, said the groups formed a coalition to offer more services to Lewis County.

“We jokingly call it the three F’s. We feed ’em, fix ’em and find ’em homes,” Kaija said last April.

Collins, who also sits on Almost Home’s board, said the two organizations may combine their facilities if they find that they do not have enough work to justify both in the future.

For now, Collins said, she is focusing on funding for The Cat’s Meow.

Though the nonprofit mostly needs monthly pledge support, Collins said, she is also looking for volunteers and youth groups who can commit time regularly. “We’re looking for some responsible, professional people that can help,” she said.

Additionally, the organization is seeking supplies from paper towels to surgical equipment.

The nonprofit will hold the Stuff the Van Supply Drive on Saturday. Collins will have kittens and cats for adoption at the event.

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