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CTY paws10 Kim Ferguson, cat shelter supervisor, comforts a cat at Paws and Whiskers. The group will hold a big fund-raiser in October, but  officials say funds are needed now because of unexpected vet bills.
Kim Ferguson, cat shelter supervisor, comforts a cat at Paws and Whiskers. The group will hold a big fund-raiser in October, but officials say funds are needed now because of unexpected vet bills.
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Published: Monday, 9/10/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Influx of cats, vet bills has shelter scratching for funds

BY TANYA IRWIN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Summer is always challenging for Paws and Whiskers Cat Shelter because warm weather brings an influx of kittens and the nonprofit group's shelter becomes crowded until they are adopted.

This year brought more than just the pitter-patter of tiny paws. The 16-year-old group, whose shelter is at 32 Hillwyck Dr., also had to deal with an outbreak of Feline calicivirus.

About 20 of the shelter's cats and kittens were infected, with symptoms including fever, conjunctivitis, nasal discharge, sneezing, and ulceration of the mouth (stomatitis), said Kim Ferguson, the shelter's supervisor.

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Paws and Whiskers Cat Shelter
32 Hillwyck Dr., Toledo, Ohio, 43615

The monthly vet bill is usually $1,600, but August's tab zoomed to $4,300, even with discounts the shelter gets from SylvaniaVet, 4801 N. Holland-Sylvania Rd., Sylvania. Fifteen of the infected cats had to be hospitalized, which is very expensive, shelter manager Dave Plunkett said.

The good news is all the infected cats recovered from the virus and have started to go up for adoption. The bad news is the shelter is in desperate need of money.

"We were already operating on a month-to-month basis," Mr. Plunkett said. "This puts a little more stress on the situation."

Erica Alford, 19, looks for a kitten at Paws and Whiskers Cat Shelter. The nonprofit shelter in Toledo can comfortably accommodate 65 cats, but has 90 up for adoption and is running several adoption specials. Erica Alford, 19, looks for a kitten at Paws and Whiskers Cat Shelter. The nonprofit shelter in Toledo can comfortably accommodate 65 cats, but has 90 up for adoption and is running several adoption specials.
ZACK CONKLE/THE BLADE Enlarge | Buy This Photo

The Cool Cat Strut, traditionally one of the shelter's big fund-raisers of the year, is scheduled for Oct. 19 from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at St. Clement's Hall, 2990 Tremainsville Rd., but the group needs a cash infusion before that.

The shelter is seeking donations and is having several new fund-raisers, including a pasta sale.

Orders can be placed at the shelter or online at funpastafundraising.com/shop/products.php?id=6616.

The shelter receives 40 percent of the sales.

Max and Erma's restaurant, 1391 Arrowhead Rd., Maumee, will donate 20 percent of its sales Thursday from the bills of customers who bring in a coupon from Paws and Whiskers. The coupon is in the current shelter newsletter or can be obtained by calling the shelter at 419-536-1914.

The shelter also will have a table at the Dog Days of Summer event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Lucas County Fairgrounds, 1406 Key St., Maumee. The shelter's Krafting for Kitties volunteers, who create many handmade items --pet and nonpet related -- will be selling their wares.

Besides needing cash, the group needs to find adopters for the 90 cats and kittens in residence. The shelter can comfortably accommodate 65 cats, so to say it's stuffed to the gills is an understatement, Ms. Ferguson said.

The shelter is running several adoption specials, including $2 Tuesdays, where cats over 2 years old can be adopted for only $2 on Tuesdays. In honor of the 21st birthday of Mr. Plunkett's granddaughter Allison on Sept. 20, all cats ages 2 and older can be adopted for $9.20 the rest of the week. Cats younger than 2 can be adopted for $21.

Cats of all ages and colors and personalities are looking for homes. Many of those up for adoption are featured on the shelter's Web site at pawsandwhiskers.org/available-cats/. They include Basil, a 3-year-old female brown tabby, who was abandoned in a carrier left at night in front of the shelter.

Sampson, a 2-year-old male black-and-white shorthaired cat, was put outside to fend for himself by the family of his owner, who had to go into an extended care facility. A neighbor brought the cat to Paws and Whiskers to find a new home.

Contact Tanya Irwin at: tirwin@theblade.com or 419-724-6066.



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