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New Fairplay cat refuge seeks funding, volunteers

CAITLIN ROW
summit daily news
Special to the Daily Action at the Cat Casita in Fairplay
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FAIRPLAY – To aid the numerous cats in need of housing in the High Country, Animal Rescue of the Rockies recently opened Cat Casita, a feline adoption room in Fairplay. It’s located above Chow Down – Fairplay’s pet supply store, and it’s seeking funds and volunteers to help with its upkeep.

“We’ve been working toward this goal for about five years, and using foster homes previously,” said Karen Martiny, the president of Animal Rescue of the Rockies. “We wanted a place where we could house 10 cats at a time in a cage-free environment.”

Animal Rescue of the Rockies formed in 2003 as an alternative to the Summit County Animal Shelter for homeless pets. According to its website, the local volunteer-run organization has provided foster homes and subsequent permanent homes for more than 60 dogs and cats. It didn’t have a permanent shelter facility until now, so foster homes have traditionally been used to house the animals.

According to Martiny, Cat Casita is set up like a cat playroom with wall-mounted cubbies and shelves, as well as lots of hiding places and perches. There are cat toys and tents, plus plenty of windows for natural light. Eight cats live there now, with room for two more.

“There’s always a lot of cats that need housing,” Martiny said.

Five cats were recently rescued from an abandoned house without food or water, and despite their ordeal they’re sweet, friendly and up for adoption. Several cats were relinquished because people needed to move and couldn’t keep them, while two stray female cats were found living outside.

“We really need volunteers to help with morning cleaning and feeding, which takes about an hour,” Martiny said. “As you know, cats like squeaky-clean living quarters, and we want to keep it that way for them. We also need volunteers to just hang out with the cats, socialize with them and give them lots of TLC. We’ve included two chairs so you can relax, read a book and enjoy the warmth of a cat – or two – on your lap.”

The next project for Animal Rescue of the Rockies is to create an indoor facility with an outdoor play-yard for dogs. Further in the future, the nonprofit aims to purchase land to establish an animal sanctuary for both animals.

Donations to Animal Rescue of the Rockies can also be made by shopping at its Breckenridge thrift shop – For Pet’s Sake.

To sign up for volunteer shifts, call Renee Ryan at (720) 979-9310. For more information, visit http://www.animalrescueoftherockies.org or e-mail animalrescueoftherockies@yahoo.com.

Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at crow@summitdaily.com.


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