Adopt or Hang Out With Cats at Petco
ACCT Philly partners with Andorra store in pet adoption effort.
When Petco debuted a new store in the Andorra Shopping Center, some stray cats found a friend.
Since the pet store opened, the Animal Control and Care Team of Philadelphia has partnered with it in an effort to find cats loving homes.
Petco provides a space for the ACCT Philly team, which cares for the cats and coordinates the adoption effort. With the help of about 18 local volunteers who spend time socializing with the animals, cleaning and caring for them, ACCT Philly has already found homes for 45 cats since February.
"We were looking for a more neighborhood adoption center. Our office (in Hunting Park) doesn't have this feel. And there's so many great homes in Northwest Philadelphia and pet-friendly areas here," said Natalie Smith, the director of life saving and prevention.
ACCT Philly serves as the city's animal control group, and Smith said it takes in about 20,000 cats annually. But that's just a portion of the group's mission, and finding permanent homes for animals is another aspect. They also have an off-site adoption center at the Petco in Willow Grove.
Haley Socha is the volunteer site manager for the Andorra location. She said these cats have are all socialized in foster homes in addition to the daily interaction with the volunteers at the store. She thinks the stigma against stray cats is unfair.
"I think there's this old model of 'shopping' for kittens. Just because a cat is stray doesn't mean that there's something wrong with them," she said.
All cats like Freddy, a white-and-orange playful cat, are already neutered or spayed. And some cats like Sprinkle, a pretty white cat with black splotches, come declawed.
The cats cost $40, come up-to-date on shots and are tested for diseases, like feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). They also have a microchip in them.
There's same-day adoptions, too, which Socha said is an added bonus. The Petco aspect also contributes to the convenience.
"People make a decision on a cat. Then they disappear for an hour looking at the toys," she said.
Smith said when people adopt the cats, ACCT walks them through what pet ownership is like if people are new.
"The one piece of advice, I'd say, is give the cats time to adjust. For these cats, it might be their third or fourth home," she said, referring to the foster home and Petco. "Hiding is normal."
For people who love animals but can't adopt, the Petco partnership with ACCT Philly provides a happy medium. Smith said people only need to commit to a two-hour shift once a month. Training is held at the store, and people can signup by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit the ACCT off-site adoption page for more information.