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10 posts from July 2014


By Jen Mannas, Naturalist

Along with all of the baby birds, here at PAWS we have an array of baby mammals in our care; among them are Virginia opossums.

Most of the baby opossums, or joeys, brought to the Wildlife Center are orphaned as a result of their mothers being hit by cars. Opossums are very primitive mammals that have been around since the time of the dinosaurs and have changed little since then. They are very slow to react to headlights, other animals and even people, because their primitive brains process information very slowly.

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When we see opossums we may not immediately think about how unique they are or their ecological importance. They are the only marsupial in the United States and they have a long prehensile tail used for climbing trees and hanging upside down, although they do not sleep in that position.

They have 50 teeth, the most of any land mammal in North America, which they use to eat just about anything from seeds to meat - making them good seed dispersers, great at insect and rodent control, as well as keeping the roadways and sidewalks clean.

They have several anti-predator tactics and, although playing opossum helps them fend off some predators, they also have a super power against snakes. They are partially or totally immune to snake venom and will even kill them for food. They rarely become sick with rabies or other wildlife diseases and, even though they have a small brain, they have a very good memory and a very sensitive nose; enabling them to find and remember where food is.

Since females give birth to such a large number of babies at one time the litters brought to PAWS can be as many as 13 babies. This requires a lot of dedication and care from our staff and volunteers to raise them and release them back into the wild.

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By Katherine Spink, PAWS Staff

Having been in our care for several months now, this week’s Adorable Adoptables take patience to a new level. Given their love of tummy and cheek rubs, and super-sunny dispositions, the fact they’re still here is a surprise to the staff and volunteers that enjoy their company every day.

Tuxedo cat Timothy is two years old and has been at our Companion Animal Shelter in Lynnwood, WA since February. He’s become a firm staff favorite since he arrived, not least because of his incredible patience in waiting for his soul mate to walk through the door.

If you’re looking for someone playful, Timothy fits the bill perfectly. He enjoys everything from stringy things to jingle toys to furry toy mice:

And then there’s the attention seeking part of him that never turns down a good cheek rub! Timothy is a true gentleman and absolute sweetheart – so, why the long wait for a forever home?

One of the reasons Timothy might be being overlooked is that he has an Upper Respiratory Infection (commonly known as a URI), which affects his nose and throat. Its most recognizable symptoms include sneezing, nasal congestion, conjunctivitis, and discharges from the nose or eyes.

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The good news is that most cats with a URI can be treated at home. In cases where nasal congestion is a factor, simply spending 10 to 15 minutes in a steamy bathroom regularly can provide great relief. This congestion also affects a cat’s sense of smell, which often leads to a decreased appetite – serving a highly palatable canned food is the solution here. A simple moist tissue will help wipe any irritation-causing discharge away.

With lots of love and care, Timothy and his pet parents can enjoy a full, happy life together in spite of his snuffles. Escaping the hustle and bustle of the shelter environment is just what Timothy needs – the sooner he finds his forever home, the sooner he can kick back, relax and feel better.

Come spend time with Timothy in Lynnwood, WA today. We challenge you to resist his charms!

Ten-year old Chihuahua Mimi is a well-traveled pup who’s been searching for her forever home longer than most.Transferred from a Los Angeles shelter in 2013 and adopted in the Puget Sound area, she was subsequently surrendered to the Regional Animal Services of King County and transferred to PAWS in April of this year.

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Mimi’s been hanging out with one of our cherished foster care families recently, and is now back at PAWS in Lynnwood, WA ready to find her new pet parents.

Here’s a snippet from her exemplary foster care report:

“Her favorite activities are napping, cuddling with her people and getting treats! She gets very happy when you say her name – she’ll give you the best smile and even rolls on her back for tummy rubs. She sleeps through the night and likes to have some extra blankets in her bed in case she feels like burrowing in them! It may take her a few days to settle into her new surroundings, but her delightful and happy personality soon shines through.”

Sweet senior Mimi enjoys the quieter things in life so is hoping for a chilled out home where she can nap and cuddle her days away close to her humans. She also doesn’t mind the idea of having an easy-going buddy around, to share those moments only a canine companion can fully appreciate.

Call PAWS in Lynnwood, WA today and arrange a tummy rub with Mimi!

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By Kellie Benz, PAWS Staff

Before you go imagining what fun rehabilitating a teenage bear might be, consider this; we don’t want American Black Bear 2014-1317 to know anything about us here at PAWS, we don’t want her to bond with us, to appreciate the time and care we’re taking for her. In fact, we hope never to see her again once she is released.

While that might sound cold, it’s actually the kindest care we can offer her.

So it goes that when it’s time to deliver food to a wildlife patient at PAWS, like American Black Bear 2014-1317, not a word is said. She is remotely shifted to a clean enclosure, safely tucked away from staff. We clean her empty enclosure and search for leftover food items from the prior day. There is no face to face or verbal interaction between caretakers and bear patients.

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American Black Bear 2014-1317 arrived at PAWS a few months back, delivered to us by Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife officers when she was discovered frequenting garbage bins in Renton. This juvenile bear was much thinner than a bear her age should be.

She had obviously not found her own territory in the wild due to the enticing aromas coming from people’s food scraps outside their homes. She was a wild bear with wild instincts and she deserved a second chance to make it on her own in her own habitat.

Thanks to the care at PAWS, she’s now over 20lbs heavier and gobbling up a steady diet of bear-appropriate food. She is curious and interested, with a preference for long branches with leaves and buds and fruit to discover along the way. She’ll eat everything we give her, everything that is, except radishes.

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Her distaste for one root vegetable aside, American Black Bear 2014-1317 is growing every day and getting stronger. She still has a way to go and she still needs to gain more weight. But every indication says she’s doing well.

If all goes according to plan, she’ll be retrieved by the same WDFW Officer who brought her to us and returned to the wilderness, away from garbage bins, where she can be more successful.

Once released, her time with PAWS will be a forgettable experience that she puts behind her as she prepares to find a den of her own to sleep in through the upcoming winter months.

In the PAWS Wildlife Hospital kitchen there is a flurry of activity these days, rehabilitators and volunteers sharing information while chopping up fruits and vegetables and weighing portions. In another room, PAWS staff note the details of progress for each animal into our database system.

Black bears aren’t the only animals PAWS cares for day to day - there are about 120 different species spending time at PAWS hospital this summer. Native species like deer and owls and Harbor seals and hummingbirds – all with specific diets, unique needs and for some, routine and complicated surgeries and medical care – are finding their way to health and wholeness at PAWS as we speak. It’s a busy time of year, but one filled with hope, too.

American Black Bear 2014-1317 is one of many species who are getting a second chance thanks to PAWS Donors. Click here and help us help animals.

PAWS Wildlife always needs dedicated volunteers – find out how you can help.

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By Katherine Spink, PAWS Staff

Welcome to Where Are They Now?, a kind of PAWS ‘Hall of Fame’ where we check in with fur families that found each other through PAWS several years ago. First up, happy adopter Abigail reports back on an action-filled two years with Rhett and Felix, adopted in May 2012.

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What made you decide to adopt from a shelter?
Growing up I had two cats from a shelter, Kelly and Sphinx. To be honest I’m not sure I realized you could get cats any other way! Kelly passed away in 2009 and, when I moved to Seattle from Virginia in 2011 to start a graduate program, travel-averse Sphinx stayed with my mom. I knew I still wanted to have cats around. Luckily my boyfriend Alexander (Zan) is a cat person too!

How did you find Rhett and Felix?
I took to the internet, searching for “cute cats for adoption”. I think at the time I just wanted to look at pictures of cats (what else is the internet for, right?). Anyway, a picture of Rhett (aged 9) from the PAWS website came up. He sounded like a real gentleman and the perfect lap cat. His description encouraged me to check out his friend Felix (aged 8) too and, in no time, Zan and I were talking like they were ours.

We spent about a month thinking about them, then decided to go to PAWS Cat City. Even thought Rhett and Felix were at PAWS in Lynnwood, we thought we should look at other cats too seeing as we’d formed this attachment via only a few pictures and a brief description.

After completing adoption paperwork we met a couple of cats, including a guy called Joey who was a little standoffish, but Rhett and Felix were still on our minds. The next day we made the journey to Lynnwood. Maybe, we thought, they’ll be like Joey and then we won’t have to obsess anymore – we can wash our hands of these cats we’ve been pretending are already ours.

When we finally saw them in the flesh, it was like a celebrity sighting after all those days looking at their pictures online! Within half an hour, we were driving home with Rhett and Felix meowing in the back seat.

We had a great adoption experience with PAWS. Filling out the paperwork was easy and we got great information about our new animals’ history. We were also given notes on their personalities from PAWS staff and volunteers that had cared for them, which I really enjoyed reading.

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Tell us about your first journey home and settling in together.
After we got them in the back of the car, panic set in. We hadn’t really expected to come home with two cats that day, and had no food, litter boxes, cat bowls, or toys at home. So we stopped at a pet store on the way to pick up the basics. Zan stayed in the car with Rhett and Felix while I ran through the aisles like a crazy woman grabbing all the essentials!

When we got them home, the first thing Felix did was run to the bathroom, pull out a drawer, and slide into the space behind the drawer. I’m still not sure how a 22-pound cat managed to squeeze into such a small space, but he did! Rhett took a more typical route and hid under a bed. But they came around very quickly, and within two days they ruled the roost.

What have you been through together?
We’ve had an eventful two years! The biggest upheaval was moving back to Arlington, Virginia a few months after the adoption – an unmissable job opportunity turned what we’d thought would be at least six years in Seattle into only one. Rhett and Felix adjusted well to our unexpected relocation of over 2,500 miles, and it’s good to be home again. We love the area and we love having our fur babies with us every step of the way.

Being adult-approaching-senior cats, we’ve had a couple of trips to our friendly veterinarian with both Rhett and Felix. Though stressful and emotional times, the good news is they’re both perfectly healthy and happy cats, and we wouldn’t change them for the world. Felix has even slimmed down from a cuddly 22 pounds to a more modest 13 pounds. His ability to open drawers and cupboards with ease remains however, so we still hide their food on top shelves and in locked cabinets!

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What have they brought to your life?
Everything. Joy, love, emotional stability – on hard days, their purring is balm to the soul. Rhett’s blue eyes are always so kind looking, and he’s always quietly there when we need him.

Felix is my study buddy and like a teddy bear. I can grab him up in my arms like a stuffed animal and he’ll stay all night, just happily purring right next to my chest.

What would you say to anyone who isn’t convinced about cats as companions?
Give them a chance! I often hear people say they want an animal that doesn’t just “use” them, but needs them, so they get a dog. Cats do need us. Felix and Rhett follow me from room to room, snuggle on the couch for TV nights, and snuggle in bed with me on sick days. We can tell they love us, and I think that’s because they can tell we love them. It’s a reciprocal relationship.

On a more practical note, cats are less work than a dog. We don’t wonder whether they need to go out to pee – their litter boxes are right there! We keep a scratch pad around at all times and have never had an issue with damage to our apartment. And, cats do play. Despite being older cats, our boys still have a lot of fun with feather wands, toy mice, and iPad games!

Thank you Abigail and Zan for sharing your story, and giving Rhett and Felix the forever home they so desperately needed and deserved.

If, like Abigail and Zan, you found your perfect match at PAWS, we want to hear about it! Email us to be featured in a future Where Are They Now?.

Help animals in our care find loving homes like Rhett and Felix – volunteer.

Find your ‘furever’ friend – adopt.

Donate now and help us continue providing a safe place for companion animals in need.


By Jen Mannas, Naturalist

We treat a variety of wildlife injuries here at PAWS Wildlife Center, but one of the most delicate and difficult to treat is eye injuries.

Most wildlife species depend heavily on their sight for survival so when that is compromised it can be very hard, if not impossible, to find food and stay away from predators.This is especially true if your eyes are stuck shut due to an infection, which is exactly what happened to a House Finch in Carnation, Washington.

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When the home owners first saw the House Finch flittering around their farm they noticed he had something wrong with his eyes. They monitored his condition and after a few days they noticed he was unable to fly and one of his eyes seemed to be stuck shut.

They assumed he was having a hard time finding any food or water so they picked him up and brought him all the way to PAWS.

On his initial examination, the veterinarians found he had severe conjunctivitis in his right eye, it was swollen and crusted shut, he had several feathers missing from his head and he was very weak.

It was hard to say at first whether he would be able to see out of that eye again but, after a month of treatment and cage rest, his conjunctivitis cleared up, he regained his strength and was flying once again.

On July 14th he was returned to Carnation and released back on his farm where he could be heard singing from his favorite tree.

Found a bird you think might need help? Read our guide on what to do.

Want to help care for birds at PAWS? Become a Wildlife Bird Nursery Caretaker.

Help us to continue providing a safe haven for rehabilitating wildlife - make a donation.


By Katherine Spink, PAWS Staff

We’re scratching our heads over this week’s adorable adoptables – Jake and Soda Pop – who are still searching for their forever homes after several months in our care. As staff favorites, we can’t understand why they’re still waiting! Could their perfect pet parent be reading this?

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Expert snuggler Jake is an eight year old Italian Greyhound mix, originally from Long Beach California. This perfectly petite little guy was found as a stray and transferred to PAWS in May.

Initially very nervous of his new surroundings, Jake has relaxed a lot in our care (we figure it must be due to copious cuddles and tasty treats!) and is ready to find his forever fur family.

If you’re the kind of person that likes to come home to a wagging tail and a LOT of attention, you need to meet Jake. He just LOVES to be with his people. 

Watch his delight (and adorable bum wiggling!) when a volunteer comes to visit his kennel:

He’s also a social guy with four-legged friends, enjoying the company of mellow dogs his size.

Jake’s idea of a perfect day is low-key with lots of people time, so he’d do best in a quieter home with kids over the age of 8 years. If you’re looking for a lap dog, Jake’s definitely your man. When he’s out for a walk with you, he may even ask to be carried for the home stretch… another excuse for cuddles.

Next time you’re visiting our Companion Animal Shelter in Lynnwood, WA ask to meet Jake and get ready to feel BIG love from this small superstar!

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Our kitty companion this week is Soda Pop, a beautiful orange tabby who arrived at PAWS in March. She was surrendered by her fur family due to a change of living arrangements following an incident of domestic violence.

Having been part of the family since she was a kitten and now 10 years old, the transition from home to shelter life was an emotional experience for Soda Pop, and it has taken time to adjust.

With the patience, affection and dedication of PAWS staff and volunteers, Soda Pop has blossomed into a talkative, friendly and affectionate character with lots of love to give.

She can seem shy at first and likes her own space (like everyone does now and again!), but with a little patience and gentle encouragement she’ll be your new best friend in no time.

Some of Soda Pop’s favorite things are chasing string toys, giving kisses while you pet her, and cat napping. She’s not such a fan of being brushed – she prefers to be in charge of her own grooming routine!

Soda Pop is still working on liking kids (she thinks they’re nice from far away) and is afraid of dogs. If you have a quiet and predictable adult-only home where Soda Pop can adjust at her own pace, she would love to meet you. Stop by PAWS in Lynnwood, WA and you might just be the one to get her kiss of approval.

Is your future playmate patiently waiting at PAWS?

Help us continue to provide care for all our adorable adoptables.

Check out our Senior Cat summer adoption special – adoption fees waived for cats like Soda Pop.


By Jen Mannas, Naturalist

We are half way through the bustling baby bird season here at PAWS and, similar to the American Crows we talked about a couple weeks ago, we are frequently receiving Dark-eyed Juncos at the Wildlife Center.

Adult Dark-eyed Juncos are small birds that have a dark head with a white belly and white outer tail feathers. When you see one of these birds flittering around your backyard you may think they just look like a typical bird but they are more than that. They have actually had a big impact on ecological research.

Biologists have been studying them since the 1920’s and, thanks to these little birds, we have a better understanding of bird biology and behavior. They are also one of the most common bird species in the United States and can be seen across the entire country.

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The main reason juncos are brought to PAWS, on an almost daily basis, is that they nest on the ground. This makes them and their babies vulnerable to predators, especially cats. This leads to orphaned chicks and injured fledglings, which are what we primarily receive.

When the baby juncos first arrive at PAWS they are housed in the baby bird nursery where volunteers, interns and staff members take the place of their parents; diligently working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week to keep them fed and healthy.

Some of them will be in the nursery for several weeks before they are old enough to graduate to a larger enclosure where they then wait for their release.

Without the dedication of our baby bird nursery 'parents' these young juncos, along with the other baby birds that come to PAWS, would not survive and make it back to the wild.

Want to help care for baby birds at PAWS? Become a Wildlife Bird Nursery Caretaker.

Found a baby bird you think might need help? Read our guide on what to do.

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By Katherine Spink, PAWS Staff

Continuing our blog series championing overlooked (but no less adorable) adoptables, we profile two very special PAWS characters waiting for their forever families.

Long term loveable Milosh arrived at PAWS in October 2013, surrendered by his pet parents after 12 years of guardianship. He’s currently in our Foster Care Program, where his true character is blossoming – including one particularly irresistible trait…

Milosh loves to snuggle. He’s not necessarily a lap cat, but likes to be snuggled in right beside someone whenever possible. This makes him an excellent buddy to sleep late with on the weekends; he will settle in by your chest and purr all morning. And, if you happen to have a room with a view and a high perch to enjoy it, you’ll have a friend for life!

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Milosh is shy with new people at first but doesn’t take long to warm up if you show him a little love (and treats!). He has a very submissive, relaxed personality when it comes to interacting with other animals. His current foster family reports that he wants nothing more than to interact with their two torbie (tabby/tortoiseshell) girls. Unfortunately they’re rebutting his advances so far, but he’s very good at picking up their signals and respecting their space (pictured right keeping his distance, a true gentleman!). There are also two 50-60lb dogs to contend with, and Milosh doesn’t seem to be fazed by them at all.

And don’t let his advancing years deceive you – Milosh loves to play, a particular favorite being batting feather toys:

As distinguishing features go, the crook at the end of Milosh’s tail gives him a certain added charm, and his sleek black fur (with just a dash of white on his chest and belly) is simply beautiful. If sleek and snuggly is your thing, get in touch with our adoption advisors at PAWS and arrange to meet this stunning gent today.

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In our canine corner this week is one year old Hugo – a super smart, energetic boy who learns quickly and has a strong desire to please his people.

It’ll be no surprise then when we tell you that Hugo’s part Australian Cattle Dog, part Pit Bull Terrier; breeds known for their intelligence, loyalty, and proficiency for canine sports including agility, obedience and flyball.

Originally brought up to Washington State all the way from California and then surrendered at Everett Animal Shelter, Hugo was transferred to PAWS through our Placement Partner Program in March 2014. After a few weeks of brushing up on his obedience and manners, we waved a happy goodbye as Hugo left with what we thought was his forever family. Sadly he was returned to us in early June.

Hugo’s athleticism and full contact play style mean his perfect home would be with active adult pet parents who get a kick out of physical exercise and setting mental challenges on a daily basis – rain or shine. You’ll also win brownie points if you don’t mind retrieving the balls he loves to chase!

Watch Hugo in non-stop play mode with his PAWS pal Mattie

Hugo would enjoy having doggy friend play dates to burn some energy. His preferred method of greeting other dogs currently is by jumping on them, but with a little help mastering his ‘hello’ he’ll be an off-leash dog park etiquette expert in no time.

Next time you’re visiting PAWS in Lynnwood, ask to meet Hugo and get ready for an exuberant four-legged hello guaranteed to brighten your day!

Find out if your perfect match is patiently waiting at PAWS.

Help us continue to provide care for all our adorable adoptablesvolunteer, foster or make a donation.

Check out our Senior Cat adoption special – adoption fees waived for cats like Milosh this summer.


By Jen Mannas, Naturalist

The fall/winter season here at PAWS Wildlife Center is generally slower than the bustling spring/summer season. So everyone was a little surprised on December 07, 2013 when an adult American Bald Eagle was brought in to the wildlife center by an officer from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

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The eagle was found in a ditch on the side of the road, unable to fly, by a motorist who immediately called WDFW.

Upon the eagle’s examination at PAWS (pictured, right) she was found to be in good body condition but had facial abrasions and lacerations, a swollen right foot, and all of the primary feathers on her right wing were broken, leaving her grounded.

Her injuries and where she was found suggested she was struck by a car while feeding on a carcass on the side of the road, a common cause of injury and even death for scavenging wildlife.

Treatment started immediately to heal her skin wounds and over time her broken primary feathers were removed to stimulate growth of new, healthy, feathers which would allow her to fly once again.

This was all a lengthy process and in June she was deemed healthy enough to be moved to our flight pen (pictured, below right) where she attempted her first flight in 6 months.

Despite her right wing droop and the long wait for her new feathers to grow in, she is recovering quite well.

The staff continues to monitor her progress and, with more time in our largest flight pen, she continues to regain her strength and soon will be able to fly free once again.

Like all of the animals brought to PAWS Wildlife Center this eagle’s treatment and recovery could not have been possible without the dedication of our staff and volunteers as well as generous donations that have provided medical supplies and food for her long recovery.

Find out more about wildlife rehabilitation.

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By Katherine Spink, PAWS Staff

We work so closely with all the adoptable animals here at PAWS, it’s sometimes hard for us to understand why a certain cat or dog in our care is seemingly overlooked by potential adopters.

Each and every one of the companion animals at PAWS tugs at our heartstrings, and we know they all deserve to find the right family. In this new blog series, we reveal the personalities behind some very special companion animals at PAWS who are anxiously waiting for their forever humans to walk through the door.

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Take Tiger Rico, a seven year old bundle of Chihuahua love who arrived at PAWS in February. This wasn’t his first appearance at our doors – after adopting him from PAWS two years previously, his pet parents were moving away and surrendered him to PAWS instead of taking him along.

In those two quick years, the most striking difference in Tiger Rico was his weight. It had tripled since he was last in our care.

PAWS staff immediately enrolled Tiger Rico in a bootcamp-style training program with a new PAWS foster family – not such a popular switch of routine from Tiger Rico’s perspective, but hugely successful.

With a proper diet and moderate exercise, he lost 6 lbs and his energy levels increased dramatically. His once reserved, stoic personality blossomed into the complete Tiger Rico goofball he is today!

Now svelte and eager for the next chapter in his life, Tiger Rico is still most definitely a typical Chi, meaning he can be grumpy and bossy at times (can’t we all?!). He can also be pure love and offer up snuggling under the covers, playtime and doing tricks for treats.

We know from spending time with Tiger Rico that he deserves your notice. Next time you’re at PAWS in Lynnwood, be sure to take an extra moment to meet him.


Watch Tiger Rico in clicker training mode


Then there’s 10 year old Simba who, with his flowing luxurious golden coat, is aptly named.

Currently calling PAWS Cat City his home, Simba is another resident we’ve had a long, glorious relationship with. Brought to us in May 2013, Simba spent time in PAWS Foster Care Program before being adopted in October 2013. Sadly, he was returned to us only a few days later.

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Perhaps one of the reasons Simba’s search for the perfect pet parent has taken longer than most is due to the fact he has feline asthma. Much like the human version, feline asthma is a chronic condition in which airway inflammation leads to coughing, wheezing, and/or exercise intolerance.

Sound scary? It doesn’t have to be. With regular love, attention and the advice of a good veterinarian, this condition can be managed, especially in a home clean of second-hand smoke, dusty cat litters and strong perfumes. 

Aside from his need for a more experienced cat mom or dad, Simba has perfect litter box manners, loves being brushed and is a great fan of treats. Whichever PAWS Cat City visitor is lucky enough to be chosen by this quiet, gentle boy as his forever companion has a wonderful life ahead of them!

Find out if your perfect match is patiently waiting at PAWS.

Check out our Senior Cat adoption special – adoption fees waived for cats like Simba.

A monthly gift goes a long way towards helping companion animals like Tiger Rico and Simba - join our Constant Companions Club.