Through placement and prevention programs, Purrfect Pals works to end cat homelessness in the Puget Sound region – Because every cat matters. Purrfect Pals was founded in 1988 by a cat lover, Kathy Centala, who took a look around at her community and saw far too many unwanted cats and kittens whose only options were, in most cases, over-crowded shelters with high euthanasia rates. Kathy wondered what could be done to improve the odds of these cats, and quickly determined that the only solution was to take away the option of euthanasia completely. Kathy had never run a shelter and the only thing she had less of than money was fundraising experience. Determined to open the Puget Sound region’s first no-kill cat shelter, though, she somehow scraped together the down payment for a modest house on five acres in Arlington in 1993. Room by room, the house was renovated over the years, along with its two unattached garages, to create our existing shelter, veterinary clinic and sanctuaries.
Today, our facility has room for up to 225 cats, both short and long-term residents. Most are loose in large rooms, many with attached outdoor enclosures. We house an additional 50-250 cats and kittens in foster care, depending on the time of year. At Purrfect Pals, our highest priority is taking in the cats and kittens who need us most… those who other shelters and rescue groups might not have the resources to help. This includes older cats, cats with major medical needs, cats with chronic illnesses (including FIV and Feline Leukemia) and those with behavioral challenges. Cats who are not easily adoptable have a forever home in our sanctuaries. We use our Tipper Fund to pay for medical expenses above and beyond the care that our Shelter Veterinarian and her team provide in our shelter’s clinic. We partner with outside veterinary specialists and surgeons to provide any care necessary for those cats with special needs. Our cat adoption and rehabilitation programs help us place homeless cats, including those with special needs, in loving homes. We believe that every cat is adoptable; some just need more time than others to find the right match. Our ultimate goal is to place them, but these cats have a loving home in our Arlington sanctuary for as long as they need us. Our sanctuary is currently home to cats positive for FIV and Feline Leukemia, feral cats, geriatric cats and cats with chronic illnesses. All cats and kittens adopted out by Purrfect Pals have, at a minimum, been altered, microchipped, tested for FIV and Feline Leukemia, vaccinated, treated for fleas and round worms and examined by our Veterinarian. Our “permanent foster” program matches up special needs cats with families who commit to caring for them long-term. Since Purrfect Pals remains their legal owner, we are able to provide lifetime medical care for the cats. We have been very successful placing cats, including those who need hospice care or have FIV or Feline Leukemia, in homes thanks to this program. The permanent foster program has also been a great option for older or low-income cat lovers who want a lifetime companion but cannot afford the medical care a special needs cat will require.
Because of our rural location, Purrfect Pals has developed a robust network of offsite adoption centers and special events. Housed in pet stores and veterinary clinics, our adoption centers are fully staffed by volunteers who care for the cats and match them up with potential adopters. We currently have nine adoption centers throughout the Puget Sound region. Our cats and kittens are available for adoption in three Petco stores, four Petsmart stores and Denny’s Pet World. Purrfect Pals currently has a team of 600+ active volunteers who help make our offsite adoption program a success. In addition to finding homes for cats, Purrfect Pals helps prevent cat homelessness by assisting low-income cat owners in our community. We provide a free spay and neuter clinic weekly for individuals who would not otherwise have access to these services. We also offer low cost vaccines and flea treatment. Our pet food bank provides free cat food and supplies to those who are struggling financially. We also offer these services to caretakers of feral and free-roaming colonies. One of the most common reasons we see people surrendering their beloved cats is the inability to pay for emergency veterinary care. During times of crisis, these cat lovers are faced with either surrendering their pet or having them humanely euthanized. Neither seems like a good option so, in 2013, Purrfect Pals created the Angel Fund in response to these requests for help. This fund is used to pay the veterinary bills of low-income cat owners so they will not be forced to give up their feline friends.