4 Paws expands for furry frolicking - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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4 Paws expands for furry frolicking

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Posted: Thursday, May 12, 2011 12:45 pm

Sun Cities 4 Paws Rescue understands that sometimes companionship comes in a furry form.

4 Paws is celebrating its annual kitten shower and the opening of a new free-roam Kitty Korner this Sunday, inviting members of the surrounding communities to adopt a new pet, shop in the thrift store that supports the shelter, or come by to learn more about the organization and its programs.

Manager Pam Stene said she expects a good turnout for the event and hopes to see many of the about 60 cats at the facility to be adopted.

“It’s really kind of a baby shower combination open house,” Stene said. 4 Paws is also asking for donations such as kitten formula, toys and food to help the shelter care for the animals. The new Kitty Korner space will be the highlight of the open house.

The mural-decorated area is big and open and the cats have a lot of places to play and sleep, Stene said, sitting on a rocking chair placed in the room for guests to enjoy watching the animals gamboling around amid the toys, scratching posts, cozy beds and climbing the tower trees.

Many of the cats roaming the room are older cats that are often difficult to adopt out. That’s where the 4 Paws Seniors Fostering Seniors program comes in.

The program pairs older cats with residents in the Sun Cities area in a foster program, so instead of adopting the cats out, the shelter maintains ownership, paying for shots, annual check-ups and medical expenses.

Sun Citians Valerie Myers and her husband Harry love having the cat they call Jake around so much, they are thinking about adopting him, which Stene said is pretty common through the fostering program.

“So far we’ve been very happy with the cat we got,” Myers said. “He’s a very pleasant cat. Jake just plays all the time, and he loves to sit on laps and be petted.”

Myers said after the death of a previous cat, she and her husband decided it was too lonesome without a pet around the house.

“It’s kind of nice to have someone waiting for you,” Myers said, adding that Jake often greets them in the kitchen when the couple arrives home.

“It’s great for seniors that are lonely and on a fixed income,” Stene said. “It’s been a really successful program.”

There are about 150 cats in homes through the program, and Stene said she doesn’t think there is anything else like it available.

Ray Kirwan of Sun City West is also happy with the Seniors Fostering Seniors program, and he has had his cat Dub since last June.

“It’s a good program,” he said, although he and Dub had to adjust a bit at first. “We get along pretty well now.”

Kirwan said after his wife passed away, someone suggested he get a cat rather than be alone and he chose Dub because the day he visited 4 Paws, the cat was watching the birds outside and Kirwan’s home has many windows and lots of birds for endless entertainment.

While Kirwan and Dub have had several months together, Sun Citian Marilyn Franzen has had her foster cat Reba for less than four weeks.

“She seems to have taken over very well,” Franzen said. “She is a lot of company, and she talks all the time and I’m alone so that’s fine.”

Franzen thought that with her limited income the foster program would be a better option than adoption, especially if medical issues were to arise.

But she couldn’t be more pleased with Reba.

“She’s very well behaved,” Franzen said, explaining she was prepared to train the cat not to scratch the furniture, not jump on counters, and more, but it wasn’t a problem.

“She’s the first cat I’ve ever had,” Franzen said. The family had a dog while her children were growing up, but that had been her only experience with pets.

“I’m very pleased with it this time because she’s a good girl.”

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