A local cat shelter celebrating their 20th anniversary, started the year off with a gift they were not expecting.
Just before Christmas, Katie’s Place received a call from a local business that there was a cat colony on their property.
So, volunteers from the Maple Ridge no-kill cat shelter set up numerous live traps and by New Year had trapped and transported 24 felines to their facility on Jackson Avenue.
On January 17, the cats were then brought to Maple Ridge Veterinary Hospital where three dedicated veterinarians and a team of support staff weighed, sedated, performed blood work, trimmed nails, prepped for surgery and spayed or neutered and tattooed and further monitored each cat before they were returned to Katie’s Place.
“We were planning on throwing a huge party to celebrate our birthday but because of the pandemic all party plans were put on hold. Instead we started this year with a spay and neuter marathon for 24 cats,” said Magda Romanow, a volunteer at the shelter.
These 24 cats are only a fraction of the amount of felines, among other animals, that volunteers at the shelter have helped since its opening.
To date more than 4,000 cats, in addition to a couple of sheep, numerous bunnies, several rats and a few birds, have been taken in.
Two volunteers helped start the shelter that was run out of a little red barn behind a Maple Ridge home in 2001.
Then, with the help of the city and the Maple Ridge branch of the BC SPCA, they found a new plot of land along Jackson Road.
Now the shelter can house up to 125 cats at a time, with separate enclosures for new or convalescent cats or those sick with the feline leukemia virus.
Volunteers either adopt out the animals or provide a permanent sanctuary for the rest.
“It has been 20 years since we opened our doors without a solid plan, no money, a couple of stray cats, a ton of faith, and a grumpy feline resident of the original barn named Katie,” said Romanow.
“We had no idea how long we would actually last, how big we would grow, and how much support we would get from this amazing community,” she added.
Katie’s Place, noted Romanow, has become a safe haven for animals that other rescues cannot accommodate.
“The animals that end up in our care have special needs, are high maintenance, and some are just plain peculiar,” added the long-time volunteer.
Currently there are more than 100 volunteers at the shelter.
January 17, wasn’t all about the 24 cats that were saved, said Romanow. It was also about the kittens that would not be born to discarded pets living on the streets.
Romanow is hoping to make 2021 a memorable year for the shelter and the community that has supported them.
The team will be planning events and fundraisers to mark their anniversary throughout the year.
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