ONTARIO — Black Friday was in full force in Ontario, but the shopping wasn’t all about gifts. The Ontario Feral Cat Project opened its doors for a few hours for cat lovers across the Ontario community.
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the project had cats up for adoption through its Constance McCullough House, located on the corner of Northwest Second Street and Northwest First Avenue — space used to shelter adoptable cats and kittens.
According to the group’s website, that wasn’t its original mission, which was to only reduce the community’s feral and stray cat overpopulation. Since the project purchased the space in 2015 because of an estate gift from Constance McCullough, it has helped more than 900 cats and kittens find a permanent home, according to its website.
“We just figured it would be a good time to offer a day for adoption,” said Amy Kee, a volunteer with the nonprofit organization.
This is the first year the cat project has hosted an adoption event on Black Friday, Kee said. According to her estimates, about 47 cats/kittens were available for adoption throughout the day.
“Any time we can find forever homes, we jump on that,” Kee said.
The Ontario Feral Cat Project began operations in 2009 at request of the Ontario Police Department, according to the nonprofit’s website. Several months of fundraising, along with support from the City of Ontario, led to the organization’s first trapping in November that year.
Cats and kittens came in a variety of shapes, sizes and ages, Kee said, and the nonprofit has helped about 200 of these cats and kittens find forever homes in this year alone.
Many times, the feral cat project has transferred cats and kittens over to PetSmart locations in Meridian and Nampa before being adopted.
However, despite the two PetSmarts being very accommodating with the Ontario Feral Cat Project, there is still quite a bit of stress for cats and kittens making the journey, Kee explained.
“We’re adopting them out of the building more and more,” she said, as a result. “We want the best for the kitties.”
In addition to partnering with PetSmart, the feral cat project also partners with PetSense in Ontario, and Petco in Nampa, to find homes for those cats and kittens. The nonprofit also provides adoptions at the Constance McCullough House one Saturday a month and by appointment.