PORT RICHEY — “We are Full!” proclaims a notice taped to the front door of the Tampabay Cat Alliance shelter. “No More Space or Funds.”
Ever since opening the shelter in April 2013, alliance leaders have tried to make the facility the cat’s meow for many wayward felines, but the nonprofit group is pleading for help.
“I’m not counting,” founder Alison Buckley said. “I don’t even want to know.”
The shelter staff borrowed space in the laundry room and a storeroom to set up extra, temporary cages for more cats.
Cages became necessary until the alliance gets money to expand its screened enclosures. Cages are much harder to clean, Buckley notes.
As a stopgap, the alliance is trying discounted adoption fees of $15 on Black Friday and Tabby Tuesday.
More fundraisers and yard sales are in the works, culminating with the annual auction in December.
The alliance adopted 83 kitties last year. The shelter has 165 cats since it opened.
“It’s getting overwhelming,” Buckley said about finances and overhead to rent the space at at 11720 U.S. 19. Construction on U.S. 19 has probably hindered visitors stopping at the shelter. The group belatedly placed a Tampabay Cat Alliance banner along the state highway for publicity, but they hope to get a sign company to paint the name of the group on the shelter windows.
The standard $45 adoption fee often doesn’t pay for all expenses when a cat arrives at the shelter for tests, shots, neutering or spaying. And that’s if the cat is healthy.
The alliance spent $3,700 on diabetic cat Oscar, but he died at age 3 nonetheless.
The wish list for donations is growing longer, including several brands of dry and canned cat food, scoopable litter, bleach, toilet paper, paper towels, large trash bags, laundry detergent, gift cards, cash and more.
More foster homes are needed as well.
Volunteer help has remained plentiful. Pati Delvecchio plays with a kitten, Dorothy, to give the youngster some exercise and time out of a cage. Ashley Charest nuzzled with Frito, a mostly black kitty.
Coming up with nicknames is fun for the alliance group. One mother cat and her kittens are called the Golden Girls while another litter earned the name Brady Bunch.
The alliance’s origins date back to 2009 when Buckley lost her home during the recession. She started the painful process of placing all of her rescued cats in new homes. She refused to send her cats to a shelter where they might be put to sleep.
In the process, she met so many other cat lovers that she started the alliance In December 2010. By July 2011, the group had obtained nonprofit status. Most of the cats up for adoption stayed in foster homes.
The alliance feeds and neuters feral cats and kittens in an effort to control the population.
To learn how to help, contact the alliance at (727) 857-7801 or firstname.lastname@example.org.