You’ve come a long way, kitty.
That’s what a number of attendees were saying Aug. 14 after touring the grand reopening of 4-Paws Rescue, 10807 N. 96th Ave., Peoria.
Over the last two years, the organization conducted a $200,000 remodel of the facility, including the recent addition of a 5,000-square-foot infirmary to treat cats fresh off the streets.
The volunteer nonprofit is a no kill cat shelter — the only one in Peoria — whose mission is to rescue cats in the West Valley and provide temporary care either in foster homes or in a permanent shelter, while facilitating their adoption. The facility in Peoria is in addition to the main location, 11129 W. Michigan Ave., Youngtown. The Youngtown location, which serves as an adoption center, includes a thrift store that helps fund the shelter.
The organization has cared for and found homes for more than 15,000 cats since opening in 1996.
Executive Director Deb Heise said the need for 4-Paws’ service is ongoing.
In 2019, around 900 cats were adopted. During the pandemic, that number decreased to around 700 adoptions. So far this year, adoptions are climbing back up, with as many as 400.
Volunteers are returning as well, with nearly 100 volunteers logging nearly 1,000 hours in July, which doubled since the height of the pandemic.
Heise said the refreshed digs was the work of many, which will bring more cats into the arms of those hoping to adopt.
“It has been long process, and I would love to take credit for the remodel. But really, it takes a village. So many volunteers have missed out on sleep to make this grand reopening happen,” Heise said. “But there is still a lot to be done, having a place where cats can be cared for and live out their lives.”
Dignitaries in attendance at the grand reopening included U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko and Arizona Rep. Kevin Payne.
Peoria councilwoman Denette Dunn, who represents the area where the Peoria facility is located, said 4-Paws is such a needed resource with so many stray cats across all districts of Peoria.
“I am really, really proud to see this addition. Now coming here after seeing it in the beginning and seeing it now, wow, what a difference,” she said. “This is a beautiful facility.”
The facility used to be able to hold 120 to 130 cats, now it can hold up to 200.
In the last year, 85 cats were provided lifetime sanctuary in foster homes and in free roam rooms at the shelter for those that have not been connected with a forever home.
With the expansion complete, all intake, medical and housing services are now in one location and not spread across other locations. The updated facility has a medical isolation unit for cats that can be treated for contagious diseases. Heise said ringworm, parasites and respiratory ailments are among the most common diseases the staff treats. Workers at the shelter can now treat up to 42 cats with various diseases.
The 4-Paws organization has three adoption centers, one in Youngtown and Pet Smart locations in Peoria, 25372 N. Lake Pleasant Parkway, and Surprise, 13764 W. Bell Road.
“What people don’t realize is that once you adopt cats and put them in your house with you, they get over their fears. They might hide for a couple weeks, but then all of a sudden you’ve got a friend for life,” Heise said.