Cat feverOver 400 cats adopted through Pet Depot, WCHS partnership--------------------A partnership in Jasper has helped over 400 cats be adopted.Pet Depot and the Walker County Humane Society (WCHS) …
Over 400 cats adopted through Pet Depot, WCHS partnership
A partnership in Jasper has helped over 400 cats be adopted.
Pet Depot and the Walker County Humane Society (WCHS) organization formed a partnership last year to help reduce the county's stray and feral cat population by finding homes for many cats that would have been destined for life on the streets.
When a customer walks in Pet Depot at Highway 78 East in Jasper they are first met with cages that provide a safe haven for around 10 cats or kittens. The felines are housed in a clean environment and pampered with toys, bedding and a litter box while they wait for potential adopters.
Brent Williams, manager of Pet Depot, said in 438 days they have found homes for 411 cats. The first cat was adopted on May 27, 2017, and their 400th cat found a loving home on July 31, 2018.
Prior to starting Pet Depot's Cat Adoption Center, Williams was on a lunch break last year when he decided to visit the Walker County Humane and Adoption Center, and he rescued a cat.
"It was supposed to be a Pet Depot cat, and she was supposed to stay here," he said. "My wheels got to turning, and I wanted to do something to make a difference."
Williams said there are adoption outlets for dogs in Walker County, thanks to various animal rescue organizations, but there isn't a rescue only dedicated to cats. He wanted to provide an adoption outlet specifically for felines, so he contacted WCHS Board Director Susie Vann, who was immediately on board.
"Susie stepped forward and said we would do it together, we would make it work," Williams said.
"We were honored and thrilled to death," Vann said. "Brent and Madi Minderhout (Pet Depot assistant manager), all of them, they are wonderful to work with, and it was Brent's vision. We just stepped in to help him fulfill the vision."
Cats and kittens at Pet Depot are currently available for $20 each. All have been vaccinated and many are spayed or neutered if they are over 12 weeks old. Those who adopt cats under 12 weeks will be provided with a voucher for the cat to be altered, free of charge.
Each person who adopts a cat is also provided with a free bag of food, valued at $16. Adopters only have to pay tax of $1.44 to receive the food.
The WCHS provides the spay and neuter vouchers. Vaccines and other needs are primarily provided through adoption fees, and volunteers help Pet Depot keep the cages clean and comfortable for each cat.
"By and large, in a year and a half, we've only taken half a dozen cats from the shelter," Vann said. "These are all from people here in Walker County needing help because the shelters are so full."
In addition to adopting out over 400 cats at Pet Depot, Vann said a trap, neuter, return (TNR) program last year resulted in 228 cats being spayed and neutered, meaning over 600 cats will no longer be able to contribute to the stray cat population in Walker County.
Vann said spay and neuter is critical, considering in six years one female cat and her offspring can produce roughly 420,000 cats.
"Pet Depot and this particular program is filling a most definite need in Walker County, in that, for whatever reason, people don't spay and neuter their animals as we feel that they should," Vann said. "The county and the city shelter are always at max capacity, and the people are turning to us instead of doing what some people do, which is just put them out. We're most grateful that they're not doing that."
Williams said he was met with uncertainty when he started the cat adoption program. One person said Pet Depot would be lucky to adopt out one cat each week; however, on average, at least one cat is adopted daily at Pet Depot.
Vann and Williams said they are thankful to veterinarians in the county who have offered their prompt assistance to care for cats in the program, and they are also appreciative of animal rescues in the county that have allowed some cats they have rescued to be homed through Pet Depot's adoption center.
People may donate at Pet Depot to support their efforts, and donations may also be made to WCHS (firstname.lastname@example.org) to fund spay and neuter vouchers. Other inquires may be made by calling Pet Depot at (205) 387-7765.
The Pet Depot Cat Adoption Center Facebook page shares daily updates on the number of cats finding their forever homes. The store is open for adoptions Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m.