What a Transformation

I have two hearts — one for Oakland Animal Services and one for Cat Town.

Which is why I must tell you how much Cat Town has changed the shelter.

When I began volunteering at the Oakland shelter 9 years ago, contagious diseases, even if treatable, were often cause for euthanasia. The shelter has just one vet for hundreds of animals, and there was no capacity to help these sick cats without also risking the lives of healthy ones.

  At the shelter, King hissed and swatted when people came near. But OAS volunteers saw a glimmer of his true personality, so Cat Town got him into foster care, where this big tabby blossomed into a total love.

At the shelter, King hissed and swatted when people came near. But OAS volunteers saw a glimmer of his true personality, so Cat Town got him into foster care, where this big tabby blossomed into a total love.

Ann Dunn, Cat Town's founder, was also a volunteer at the shelter, and she saw that sick cats would arrive needing treatment the shelter couldn’t provide. She saw depressed, older cats. Young, feisty cats whose big personalities didn’t fit in a cage, like King. She saw these cats passed over by rescue groups, and knew — when the shelter was full, and they had to make space, these were the cats who wouldn't make it.

So Ann came up with the idea for Cat Town to give these overlooked cats a safe way out. And she partnered with shelter staff and volunteers to make her vision a reality.

  Jamie is a regular volunteer at the shelter and at Cat Town. Photo by Cathy Niland.

Jamie is a regular volunteer at the shelter and at Cat Town. Photo by Cathy Niland.

Six years later, the transformation at the shelter has been amazing. 

Before Cat Town, I knew the cats who made it to the front of the shelter for adoption were never at risk, but it was difficult to visit the cats in the back who might be euthanized the next day. Now at Cat Town, I often help socialize shelter cats I couldn't let myself think about in the old days.

And now, when I visit the sick and scared cats in the back of the shelter, I know they’re safe. I know Cat Town will help them.

I have spent nearly a decade rescuing cats, so I know this kind of change doesn’t just happen. It takes vision. It takes staff. It takes volunteers and countless other resources. It’s a considerable expense to save these animals, and a tireless commitment.

Because of Cat Town, the shelter’s overlooked cats get attention and get adopted. I hope you’ll donate today to support Cat Town’s future, because we need this work to continue. 

With gratitude,

Jamie Gold
Volunteer at Oakland Animal Services and Cat Town

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