Perry’s stray and abandoned cats still have folks in Perry who house them, feed them, see they get medical care, are played with, and hopefully help find them good homes.
But the people who work with the homeless felines, such as Dorothea Peterson, became worried the cats wouldn’t have one of their biggest supporters to help them out. And, if that person was gone, how in the world would Perry’s "Cattery" as it is called, stay open.
The volunteer she was talking about is Diana Treft of Perry. Since the facility opened about a year ago in a building that was once part of Stokely Lumber Co., and is still owned by family members, she and a handful of other people in the community have cared for the animals under the auspices of the Humane Society of Perry. Treft is the feline coordinator for the local Humane Society. She’s the one people call for adoptions, takes care of the cats’ medical needs, sets up vet appointments, administers some medications and more.
She has a part-time job, she said, and although it is volunteer, the work she does for the cattery is her other "part-time" job.
Concerned about the possibility of closing the cattery, Peterson wrote a letter to the editor, imploring people in Perry to help out with time, food, bedding, driving animals to veterinary appointments and simply helping socialize the cats so that the group’s work could continue.
"The response has been amazing," Peterson said. "We have some teenage girls who have come in to play with the cats and kittens and another woman who wanted to remain anonymous donated $1,000 through the Humane Society for assistance with the shelter."
And, Treft has decided to stick with volunteering at the cattery, she said.
Both the women want people to take more responsibility for their animals, whether they are cats or dogs or some other pet.
"Get them spayed and neutered so there aren’t more feral (wild) cats," Peterson said.
She wants people also to be aware of the trap, neuter and release program the local humane society has going now because of a grant. If people trap the wild cats in their area, bring them to the animal pound, and they will be neutered or spayed and released. Over time, the program helps slow down the growth of the cat population, experts say.
And, she said, anyone who would like to adopt a cat, or knows someone who wants to adopt a cat, to come by and take a look. There are currently 25 cats and 26 kittens in the cattery.
"I feel so good when someone adopts the cats or kittens, but then I turn around, and the next day we have three more come in," she said.
The cattery does also take feral cats, particularly if they need nursed back to health. They work at socializing and taming the cats so they will someday be ready for adoption.
"Look at this sweet cat. All she wants is to be loved by someone, she wants attention all the time. She was very wild when she came in here," Peterson said.