Ellen Emerson is a self-admitted cat person. That works out nicely because she’s the cat adoption coordinator at PAWS, the non-profit Pet Animal Welfare Society–a no-kill shelter for cats and dogs in Norwalk.
Emerson began her current role at PAWS (founded in 1962) over two years ago, bringing over 25 years of volunteering at shelters and professional experience to the organization as well as a love for cats.
If you’re looking for a cat or kitten, consider PAWS, which typically houses 65 to 85 cats at a time. The process if fairly straightforward and Emerson recommends prospective cat parents peruse the PAWS website for available cats and kittens and start the paperwork before coming onsite.
“Typically it takes a day to process,” said Emerson. “We try to be flexible and encourage people to go online and look at available animals, fill out the adoption questionnaire and submit references.”
The references are typically from a previously used veterinarian and a landlord, and if those aren’t available, personal references are requested. There is a $150 suggested donation for a cat or $200 for a kitten.
Adoption numbers have been very good.
“My goal every month is one cat a day,” said Emerson. “We adopt out between 30 and 50 cats a month.”
Recently one particular cat found a place in the hearts of workers and volunteers at PAWS: Precious.
“Shy and sweet, Precious came to us originally when his senior owner could no longer provide care,” said Emerson. “He didn’t like other cats and could be quite fresh with people; he was depressed. When Precious was finally adopted after six months, we thought all would be well, but, sadly, he was returned a few months later.”
Precious was very stressed and unhappy and took it out on people who tried to give him attention. With unwavering patience, PAWS volunteers kept at him and he began to come around. Just when things were looking up and he was becoming friendlier, Precious started to lose weight. His diet was changed but initial blood work showed no issues. The weight, however, continued to drop and a second round of blood work revealed diabetes. Despite vet care and good diet to help with this at PAWS, he continued to go downhill and ended up in kitty ICU for a week. Once recovered, the crew at PAWS began to search for a forever home for Precious.
“After weeks of outreach, we got an inquiry from a wonderful woman who was willing to give it a try. From the first hour, he knew he was home,” said Emerson. “Precious walked out of the carrier and basically took over. It’s been going great ever since and “Mr P” loves to snuggle with her and purr up a storm.”
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