By Stephanie Leaf
Special to Plumas News
This is the time of year when organizations come around asking you for money. Well, that’s not what this is about. This isn’t about asking for anything. It’s about giving something. It’s about giving thanks.
For almost 22 years, the Plumas Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) has been rescuing, providing medical care, and finding loving homes for the many abandoned, neglected, and homeless cats in Plumas County. In that time, we’ve seen lots of ups and downs, but 2020 has been a year like no other.
With the covid pandemic and shutdown in March, and the resulting economic crisis in the months that followed, we at PAWS, like many small businesses and nonprofits, feared for our continued existence. But thanks to the leadership of our co-directors Louise Delaney and Alice Parlier, with the help of a dedicated crew of volunteers, and with the continued support of many wonderful people, we managed to survive.
Despite obstacles, we kept “The Cathouse” open. And through these difficult months, we also stayed mindful of our neighbors suffering financial hardship. We gave out cat food (and some dog food) to those in need and did our best to continue our distribution of spay/neuter discount certificates to Plumas County residents unable to afford this surgery on their own.
Then came the fires of August. The Cathouse was forced to evacuate!
Under the direction of Alice and thanks to the help of volunteer Liz Zeiner, 30 cats were loaded up and moved to Greenhorn. When that area came under evacuation orders, the cats were moved AGAIN, this time to Chester.
Thanks to the work of PAWS board member Barbara Montandon, space and volunteers were quickly organized to provide for the daily needs of our feline evacuees. They received medical care and other assistance thanks to Dr. Roberta Wiederholt and the staff of the Chester Vet Clinic.
Many people in the Chester-Lake Almanor area opened their hearts to help us, and our deepest thanks goes out to all of them. After two weeks, 20 PAWS cats (ten were adopted by some wonderful Chester folk) were packed up again and returned to their home at The Cathouse.
Throughout this challenging year, the work of our directors and volunteers never stopped. And the numbers prove it. As of the end of November, the year 2020 saw us rescue 180 cats and kittens. Of these, 150 have been placed in loving homes. We spayed or neutered dozens and provided expensive life-saving surgery for several.
We couldn’t have done this without the tireless efforts of our directors, Alice and Louise, other board members Barbara Montandon, Melissa Bishop, and Marilyn Irish, and especially our incredible volunteers: Liz, Johanna, Krissy, Kerry, Bernadette, Betty and others. Most especially, we couldn’t have done this without our donors.
So we want to thank every single one of you from the bottom of our hearts for your generosity. We hope we can continue to count on your support as we work to save the lives of the many beautiful innocent Plumas County cats and kittens still in need of loving homes.
In response to current conditions, The Cathouse is now open by appointment only. We require masks and practice recommended distancing. To meet our fabulous felines or learn more about our work, call 283-5433 or email us at [email protected].
And yes, we always need money. Donations can be made through our Facebook page or sent to PAWS, Box 125, Quincy 95971.
From all of us at The Cathouse (especially the cats) we wish you and your family a safe and serene holiday season and a better year to come in 2021. Merry Catsmas to all!