The day after Memorial Day I met an adopter exiting La Casa de Los Gatos on our Main Campus. He had chosen that day to adopt a feline, after living decades without a cat. When I congratulated and thanked him for adopting, he shared that his first child, a son, was allergic to cats. So after being raised with cats and owning felines as an adult, he went cat-less for his eldest. With his son graduated from college and serving in the U.S. Navy, he decided to adopt a feline in celebration of his son, the men & women serving in our armed forces and his love of cats. And a very special pet, Ashes, found a new loving home.
Sweet Ashes — a beautiful 7-year-old surrendered to our shelter — is one of 1,500+ cats we’ll place into homes this year. She left our care how most do, adopted from our Main Campus (or Westside Adoption Center); but over the years Animal Humane has developed some unique placement avenues for felines.
Now in its 9th year, our Cats Around Town (CAT) program has led to 1,400+ felines finding their perfect match throughout our metro area. CAT partners range from The Yarn Store at Nob Hill, to the Albuquerque Cat Clinic to Clark’s Pet Emporium — our TOP CAT adoption business since 2013! Currently eight CAT partners showcase our pets and take great pride in introducing them to their patrons. And pet lovers leave their establishments with a surprise new friend in tow.
Launched this summer, our Working Cat program finds customized placements for felines who would not thrive in typical home settings. Adrianne Lommasson, Adoptions Manager, took the reins in designing our online request system for people offering the perfect ‘jobs’ for cats.
“It is a fulfilling experience to join the growing list of progressive shelters nationwide who have set up a Working Cat program. It’s rewarding to match a cat who is fearful of humans to an environment that fits their needs perfectly. These are cats who would not thrive in a traditional home setting, so workshops, stables, wineries and hobby farms are wonderful, safe & fulfilling alternatives. Adopters have later shared that their cats shadow them as they go about their work, observing from a safe distance. These are cats who previously were so frightened of people they avoided contact at all costs. Hearing how successful our Working Cats are in their new homes has been the best part of implementing our program,” shares Adrianne.
How cats arrive at Animal Humane has changed greatly over the years. When launched in 2009, Project Fetch, our transfer program, largely focused on relocating dogs from rural shelters and tribal lands with limited resources and, in some cases, hoarding situations. However, the success of our Trap/Neuter/Return program has decreased owner surrenders & stray intakes of felines, and resulted in significant reductions in kitten intakes, too. The effects of our 13,000+ spay/neuters of community cats over the last decade (plus 47,000+ S/N of shelter & owned cats and dogs), have presented the opportunity to develop new cat-centric transfer partners. Now homeless felines from Albuquerque, Los Lunas, Espanola, Farmington, Jemez Springs, Las Cruces, Moriarty & Rio Rancho are finding refuge — and ultimately loving homes — through our transport, sterilization & adoption services.
Trinity was one of those transfers. She arrived at the Farmington Animal Shelter as a stray. Two weeks later, this sweet 8-year-old girl was transferred to our shelter. She was timid at first but, following needed dental work, she was adopted by a loving family. These adopters were so tickled with Trinity, they returned shortly to adopt Clive, a 4-year-old Chihuahua and the four-footed siblings are reportedly two peas in a pod.
Special arrivals and placements are not exclusive to cats at Animal Humane — as every dog & puppy we shelter are expertly cared for, too. Although most follow the traditional adoption path, others have remarkable departures ,which are made possible by the creative & tireless efforts of our team and donors.
Pets like Tye, who came to us when her owner moved out-of-state. We were told Tye was deaf, but we quickly learned that her sight was also quite limited. Naturally, Tye was frightened of her new surroundings and cautious about meeting strangers. Our team immediately contacted a rescue group, Tootsie’s Vision, specializing in care for dogs without two of their five senses. The group found an experienced adopter & organized transportation so Tye could travel to her new home in San Francisco. By the time Tye departed Animal Humane, she had blossomed while developing strong connections with our skilled behaviorists. Her new mother reports that Tye (now Luna) never leaves her side & sleeps with her daughter at night. That’s the power of connecting hands & hearts in our community and across the country so that each pet finds the love they deserve.
Every day, your support allows us to harbor, heal & transform lives. Most of our pets leave our adoption locations within a few days or weeks right through our front doors. Others, with special traits, find their perfect homes through remarkable journeys. Together, our love for homeless pets places thousands of cats & dogs throughout the year. Each made possible by you.
Donna M. Stumpf