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Cats Rule At New Cage-Free Shelter

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One of the residents of the Animal Welfare League's new cage-free cat shelter in Gaithersburg, Md. 
Elliott Francis
One of the residents of the Animal Welfare League's new cage-free cat shelter in Gaithersburg, Md. 

A new cage-less, no-kill cat shelter is open for business in Maryland. That’s right -- cage less. Instead, cats of all stripes are free to roam around this newly renovated 2,000-square foot, two-story townhouse in Olde Towne Gaithersburg. The rooms are filled with cat toys, trees, and furniture for the cats and for the folks who might adopt them. 

"We actually have a special room upstairs that looks like a living room where you can play with your kitty one-on-one in that room," she says. "You can spend an hour or two or however long you want with the cat."

The cats are more relaxed and adoptions are more likely in this environment, she adds. The average stay for most cats is 6 months. 

The shelter is non-profit and doesn’t rely on state funds, so they don’t euthanize. It’s a key point for a facility that has seen an uptick in admissions from families who can no longer afford a pet in a sluggish economy.

“We even saw two people who lived out of their car with their cat. They lost their house they were evicted and we were there for them, so it’s been helpful," Williams says. 

Shelter volunteer Donna Danils says new cats may spend a short time in a large cage to adjust. “But within three weeks, all the doors are open, the cats have full roam of the house and they’re getting along famously,” she says.

All the cats are spayed and neutered, adoption events are held weekly. Intakes are by appointment only.


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