Tough economy a dual challenge for no-kill cat shelter - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Tough economy a dual challenge for no-kill cat shelter

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

KANEOHE (KHNL) - As the economy goes to the dogs, many pet owners are finding there are fewer places to put their animals, if they can no longer care for them.

And some end up on the the streets, instead of the shelter.

At the no kill shelter on the Windward side of Oahu - Joey's Feline Friends, hundreds of cats are found. Some are playful, others are shy, a few even exotic but all have one thing in common, they all need a home.

Each year about 300 of these cats find a new place to live.

But the recent economic downturn has made that job more difficult as more people give away their pets.

"Its been extremely busy in the past few weeks, of phone calls for us every day to take pets in. In the past three days I've had calls to take in dozens, that was just in the last three days," said Tedra Villaroz, the founder of Joey's Feline Friends.

But the cathouse is at full capacity, because as demand for help has grown, funding for this non-profit has shrunk.

"We're taking a big drop in donations because people have been hit hard and so we're real reluctant to take in anymore cats"

What is even worse than the shelter seeing more cats who need a home, is that island wide caretakers have also seen an increase in unwanted pets being dumped into feral cat populations.

As the economy sours, many end up tightening their belts. But pets may be left to fend for themselves. Which is a shame because even though it costs to care for an animal, they repay owners in their own special way.

"With the animals you see the love when they come in. And the love and joy they bring to the people that adopt them," added Villaroz.

Animal experts add that those unable to take care of a pet, should never just release them into the wild, but take them to a shelter.

For more information on the no-kill shelter on the Windward side of Oahu contact joeysfelinefriends.org or for information on the Hawaiian Humane Society in Honolulu go to hawaiianhumane.org.

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