Loving the imperfect

When Katie’s Place first opened its doors about 12 years ago, we were an annex shelter for another rescue. We wanted to help out with the huge number of cats looking for homes, and provide a more central location for potential adopters.

When the shelter was first finished, the co-founder and I sat in the “Main Pen” with our two resident cats and said, “we really need more cats.” That was the last time those words would be spoken.

Over the years, Katie’s Place began to focus on the most needy cats in the community.  We started to take in cats with medical and behavioural issues that required extra work and financial support. In time, we became the shelter that other rescues could turn to with cats that were hard to place. Slowly but surely, Katie’s Place became a shelter for last chance animals.

Today we have senior cats, cats who require medical care, cats who are aggressive, or have litter box issues, cats that are extremely shy and cats that would most likely not have a chance anywhere else. We open our doors to cats from other shelters, to street cats with nowhere else to turn, and cats who will need months, if not years, of rehabilitation.

Because of our devotion to these types of animals, our veterinary bills and our level of commitment are high. We have a dedicated group of TLC volunteers who spend hours with the cats, coaxing them to eat, gaining their trust, monitoring their health. There are numerous volunteers who come in the morning and evening to administer medical attention to the many cats who require it on a regular basis.

There are close to 100 volunteers who come to clean all the pens and check on the cats in those pens. Then there are the fundraisers, the drivers, the trappers, the people who deal with all the administrative issues, and the people who spend time with the cats to give them the love and attention they desperately need.  Not a single person at our shelter is paid. Yet we all feel rewarded many times over by the animals who thrive in our care.

The cats that represent Katie’s Place and all that we stand for are cats like Tony –a FIV-positive (similar to human HIV) boy who was afraid and shy when he first arrived.  Tony will never get better physically, but he’s now a happy outgoing boy who runs to greet us at the door. He needs regular veterinary care, and needs to be watched closely to make sure he’s comfortable.

Then there is Stitch – a beautiful girl who was hit by a car, had her tail amputated, suffered nerve damage, and is often incontinent. She requires medication twice a day for the rest of her life and she needs to be monitored closely to make sure her bladder is emptied properly. Stitch is a love bug and we will gladly offer her a home for as long as she needs it.  She’s friendly and loving and we try to spoil her as much as possible.

We have cats like Crockett, who is extremely shy, and Rosie, who refuses to use the litter box. We have Bourbon, who is ancient, and Ferdinand, who is a diabetic. Then there is Shane, who is missing an eye, Marty, who has to mark every surface he comes in contact with, and Hank who’s handsome but cannot be trusted.

Bottom line is that if you are looking for a perfect cat at Katie’s Place, you may have a hard time finding one if your definition of perfect is young, healthy, and completely well adjusted. If you see perfection like we do, and that is a life worthy of living despite the imperfections, then this is your place.

We believe every animal should be given a chance and will do everything we can to find them the perfect home.  Our adopters are as special as our volunteers.

Magdalena Romanow is a volunteer at Katie’s Place animal shelter in Maple Ridge.

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