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Waltham Cat Rescue Group Wants New Shelter

The Cat Connection says it needs a new shelter to keep up with rescue services.

A Waltham-based cat rescue organization has proposed a new shelter in Waltham.

The Cat Connection, a cat rescue and adoption organization, has proposed taking over the former North Waltham Library branch next to the Kennedy Middle School as a shelter for rescued cats. Currently, the city does not have an animal shelter.

The group, which services Waltham, Newton, Belmont, Watertown, Brighton and Allston, says it needs the facility in order to resume rescuing cats, according to group officials. 

The Cat Connection was forced to stop rescuing felines on Jan. 1 because it does not have enough foster homes or an adequate facility in which to rehabilitate cats.

“We have exhausted that as a resource,” the group said in an open letter on its website.

As a result, The Cat Connection is seeking support to take over the Lexington Street building as a permanent shelter where rescued cats could be rehabilitated as the group tries to find permanent homes for them, according to The Cat Connection Board President Eva Miller.

“There is a responsibility to take care of our cats because they are out there," Miller told Waltham Patch.

The Cat Connection is trying to generate more support for the idea but has faced some obstacles. Miller said every time she and other connection officials ask the city to use the site, they have received “the runaround.”

Mayor Jeanette McCarthy, in an email, said a zoning change would be necessary for the Cat Connection to use the space. Councilor George Darcy told Waltham Patch he plans to file a zoning change that would allow the Cat Connection to use the former library site. Currently, the site is zoned for industrial uses, Darcy said. Then, the city would have to put the library site out to bid.

The group has raised enough money to take over and operate the site and would not ask taxpayers to foot the bill.

“Money is not the real issue,” said The Cat Connection Board Member Gabrielle Cunningham.

As part of its effort, The Cat Connection is asking people to sign an online petition to show support for the plan. The group plans to turn the petition over to the City Council.

"We're trying to see if the people are really interested in a shelter," Miller said.

As As of Feb. 5, 480 people had signed the petition.

The Cat Connection officials stressed the need for a shelter saying if the issue is not addressed, the city could see a spike in the number of feral cats. As of Dec. 31, The Cat Connection had 175 cats in foster homes, according to Miller. Since January, the group has seen an uptick in cat adoptions but are also finding more abandoned felines, Miller said.

“It’s overwhelming,” she said.

Miller further sharpened her point saying currently Waltham Police and Newton Police cannot provide assistance to cats and refer residents to The Cat Connection.

Tina February 11, 2013 at 01:42 PM
Please sign the petition so that the Cat Connection can continue its worthy mission of rescuing and adopting-out cats. We have adopted two precious, friendly felines from them, and these kitties have enriched our lives!
Underthebridge IP Daily February 11, 2013 at 02:13 PM
Why not revamp the old animal shelter on Felton Street?
JohnnyMass February 11, 2013 at 02:45 PM
If they were illegal alien cats, the mayor would have found a home for them by now.
Tina February 12, 2013 at 06:09 AM
Max, one of the cats we adopted from the Cat Connection, had lived with a family of illegal aliens. When they abruptly left town, they cruelly abandoned him in their basement. Some neighbors heard him crying, and he was brought to the Cat Connection. They had him examined and neutered by a veterinarian before we adopted him. It was a pitiful story with a happy ending. Someone in Max's former home must have loved him, because he came to us as a friendly, sociable cat. We found out about Max through the Cat Connection's weekly feature in the News Tribune, where his picture and story appeared and tugged at our hearts.
JohnnyMass February 12, 2013 at 01:23 PM
I have adopted two cats from the Cat Connection over the years. They are a great group of caring people who do it out of concern for the animals, and not for profit. The city needs to be bombarded with petition signatures on this one. Let's hope this turns out better than their crappy snow plowing job!

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