Cat rescue expands to accommodate increased demand

The Chronicle (Centralia)December 16, 2013 

Kitty Kat Haven, a no-kill, foster-based rescue for adult cats, had no choice but to expand its operation this fall.

The nonprofit shelter was called upon in late September to take in 35 cats from a hoarding situation in Centralia in which a total of 94 cats were kept in a second-story apartment , free to roam and allowed to defecate and urinate on everything in the apartment.

The Cat’s Meow of Lewis County took in the remaining cats, the ones considered barn cats, from the apartment. Kitty Kat Haven took the cats with the potential to be house cats.

“We took the ones that were looking for people’s attention that would be good candidates (for adoption),” said Valarie Filer, director of Kitty Kat Haven, said. “It took us to the next level. We were thrown into that situation.”

To accommodate, Filer and her husband turned their insulated two-car garage into a shelter. The new shelter, off Jackson Highway in Chehalis, has become the unofficial headquarters of Kitty Kat Haven.

“We weren’t scheduled to do anything building-wise until next summer,” Filer said.

Kitty Kat Haven held an open house to show the public its new space. The volunteer-based nonprofit still has about 30 cats from the hoarding situation left to adopt out.

Almost every cat seized had an upper respiratory infection, serious dental problems and other health issues. The cats are now healthy and gaining weight, Filer said.

Brandy Fay, a veterinarian at Chehalis Centralia Veterinary Hospital, made multiple trips to the Kitty Kat Haven shelter to care for the sick cats. Fay said the cats had to be quarantined while they recovered from the upper respiratory infections. Some of the cats need to have all their teeth removed.

“I’m actually amazed at how well they have turned around in the short amount of time Valarie has had them,” Fay said. “Most of them are very tame and hopefully will be adopted out to homes.”

Before being adopted, each cat is put through a wellness check, vaccinated, spayed or neutered, tested for feline AIDS, de-wormed, micro-chipped and treated for fleas.

“We do everything we can to make these cats as adoptable as possible,” Filer said.

Kitty Kat Haven relies on community donations to cover costs.

The nonprofit, run by about 10 volunteers, has plans to keep expanding. Filer is planning to start classes to educate the public and forge partnerships with other organizations around Lewis County.

Kitty Kat Haven’s mission is to offer temporary homes to adult cats (age 1 or older) that have been abandoned or given up by previous owners.

“We give cats their space and time to readjust,” Filer said. “They need their time and their space. You can usually tell they are grateful for their second chance.”

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