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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, April 18, 2014

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In Kids & Family

For $130, you can adopt two kittens from Second Hand Purrs.

Second Hand Purrs houses unwanted felines


According to statistics from the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC), 4,481 cats were euthanized in 2009. Feline overpopulation is a problem, however, a non-profit, no-kill shelter called Second Hand Purrs, 4300 S. Howell Ave., is dedicated to giving cat owners an option other than euthanasia.

"We feel there is an additional need for more no-kill shelters for cats," says volunteer Giulia Caspari.

Second Hand Purrs opened in the fall of 2004 and is run entirely by volunteers. The organization is funded through donations, fund raisers, adoption fees and a special program called Sponsor-A-FurPal.

The next fundraiser is Sunday, Aug. 22 at Pizzeria Piccola, 7606 W. State St., from 4 to 9 p.m. The event includes a raffle and live music from Crossing Blue. A portion of food proceeds will go to Second Hand Purrs.

The cost to adopt a cat or kitten is $80 for one or $130 for two felines. The shelter does not adopt animals to anyone under the age of 21.

On average, the no-kill shelter houses about 50 cats in the facility and another 60 are in foster care. "We are a smaller shelter which enables us to spend quality time with each individual cat," says Caspari.

Most of the animals come directly from owners who cannot care for their cat any longer. According to Caspari, the number one reason for animals being surrendered is because owners are moving and cannot -- or will not -- take their cats along. Other reasons for relinquishment are an owner's death, a divorce or because people lose interest in caring for their current pet.

"Some of our animals are also found as strays," says Caspari. "Whatever the reason may be, we believe these cats deserve a second chance at a permanent and loving life-time home."

All of the animals that enter the shelter get a physical by a veterinarian during which the cats are tested for feline leukemia, given a distemper and rabies booster, a deworming preventative, fecal testing, flea bath and are spayed or neutered as long as they are at least six months old.

"We want our cats to be as healthy as possible, however, we are very up-front about any health or behavioral issues that may exist. We want to absolutely match up the right cat with the right person," says Caspari.

At this point, the shelter is only focusing on cats, even though there are many dogs in Milwaukee that need homes, too.

"It is very difficult to run a small facility with both cats and dogs because barking really upsets the cats. The two do not group together very well," says Caspari.


Talkbacks

spayyourpet | Aug. 23, 2010 at 9:51 a.m. (report)

It's unfortunate that Second Hand Purrs staff didn't allow an adoption to the family of the writer below. They could have encouraged her to adopt an older adult cat if they were concerned about age. There are no guarantees in life, the kitten could pass away before the adopter. Just glad she was able to adopt at another facility and be happy!

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warrenbrady | Aug. 22, 2010 at 3:01 p.m. (report)

my mom wanted a kitten, since her husband, dog and cat all of which she had for upto 55 years passed away in a short span of time. she went there to look and after calling vets in the area to she if she took in her animals in for wellness check ups every year and telling her she was too old, they refused to let her get a cat. your article says how many thousands of cats were euthanised when this place did what they did. they should not be allowed to operate on fund money. My mom just got a 8 week old kitten yesterday and that cat will have of life of nothing but love. Second hand purrs was a terrible experience for our family. I wrote several letters in my moms behalf asking that they please call me which they never did.

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Lisa_Pearl | Aug. 22, 2010 at 11:20 a.m. (report)

I have been there and it is a wonderful facility. The volunteers were very nice and helpful, and thankful for the donations I brought. I previously donated (once) to Happy Endings, where the volunteers won't even talk to you and didn't even say thank you for the donations I brought. Two others I know have had the same experiences with these two shelters.

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