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October 06, 2011

HSUS Shelter for Rescued Cats Celebrates 2-Year Anniversary

Our staff are on the ground every day sheltering pets, in addition to our campaigns to protect all animals and combat cruelty on a broad scale. Our Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona, Calif.—where we rehabilitate wildlife and provide permanent sanctuary for formerly neglected animals—is also home to a special group of cats who would otherwise have been euthanized. In 2009, we worked with state and federal agencies to rescue these animals from San Nicolas Island, one of the remote Channel Islands off the coast of California.

270x240 san nicolas cat  -credit ray eubanks
Ray Eubanks/The HSUS
One of the San Nicolas cats in their special habitat.

San Nicolas is home to unique wildlife such as nesting seabirds and the endangered Channel Island fox. A population of feral cats had also become established there after people brought unsterilized pet cats to the island. Officials were planning to trap and kill the cats to protect this especially sensitive ecosystem, until The HSUS stepped in to fly more than 60 cats to the mainland and provide them with a new home.

We now operate a permanent shelter especially for these San Nicolas cats. With support from, we built a spacious outdoor enclosure at our Ramona facility with plenty of trees to climb and sunny spots for napping. We started introducing the cats to their enclosure in fall 2009, and in the two years since, these initially shy felines have come a long way. We’ve worked to socialize them and have found good homes for 15 animals. Those rescued as kittens easily adapted to people, while the adults were more skittish. But with regular meals, toys, and interactions with their caretakers, many of the adult cats are warming up to attention, and several have been adopted by loving families.

You can take a live look inside the cats’ enclosure and see what they're up to right now using our new, interactive webcam here.

In addition to our cat shelter in California, our other staff are often busy with the behind-the-scenes work of caring for pets at our emergency shelters. Our staff have been caring for as many as 697 cats in Florida since June, currently sheltering more than 170 cats who have not yet been adopted. We’ve been sheltering dozens of dogs rescued from fighting in North Carolina since early August, and we took care of more than 50 Labrador retrievers for about 7 weeks after saving them from a Vermont puppy mill. Our international staff continue to shelter more than 500 dogs rescued in Quebec last month. When you add all this up—along with our work to rescue and rehome horses through our Doris Day Horse Rescue and Adoption Center and to adopt out rabbits, guinea pigs, and other pets through our South Florida Wildlife Center—our work is making a big difference for all kinds of companion animals.

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