Chris Love was not a cat person.
Then several years ago, she found a one-day old kitten in need of feeding every two hours, and the rest was history.
I realized every one has such a different personality, she said.
Fast forward to November of this year, when Love started Purrfection Crew Inc., a animal advocacy organization based in Hermiston. Because the organization is still in its infancy, Love decided to start with the cats she once shied away from. She has adopted out several stray cats so far.
There are bound to be more, with the stray kittens of springtime beginning to sniff around.
A lot of the females I see are pregnant now, Love said. Their tummies are dragging down there.
Hermiston Pet Rescue is the municipal shelter, taking in the abandoned cats and dogs in the area. City police will pick up a stray dog in the area and bring it to Pet Rescue.
But unlike dogs, stray cats are allowed to run free. Pet Rescue manager Beau Putnam has five cats in the shelter right now, compared to about 20 dogs.
Putnam said it is important to differentiate between stray and feral cats.
Most cats out wandering are feral, he said. Theyre not meant to be a pet, theyre wild.
But Love wants to make sure that wild population doesnt continue growing. She added that strays may seem feral at first, but after just a few weeks with people they become domesticated.
Purrfection has yet to have any feral cats. Love said she plans on using the trap, neuter and release method to keep the feral population from growing. That method costs money, nearing $4,000 to safely trap, spay or neuter and release about 100 feral cats.
Love and Putnam both emphasized prevention as the best method to stopping animal neglect and overpopulation not just spaying and neutering, but realizing the responsibility of adopting a pet.
Everyone wants a cute puppy or kitten, Putnam said. But when they get bigger, (the shelters) end up getting them.
The shelter is able to adopt out about 60 percent of its animals. The rest are either sent to the no-kill Oregon Humane Society or put down. Putnam said most are euthanized because of sickness or aggression, and some because they have been there for months or years without being adopted.
People never want to focus on all the adoptions we do, he said. Were the ones trying to help them.
Love said she doesnt believe in euthanasia if the animal is healthy. To save more animals, she advocates for pet insurance, usually costing between $15 and $30 a month depending on the breed and age of the animal.
She had to put down a cat on Tuesday that was riddled with infection. Basic shots would have prevented the illness altogether.
Know what youre getting into before you get these cute little things, Love said. Theyre not a throw-away commodity.
Love is looking for volunteers to foster cats for two to four weeks at a time. For information on how to help, go to the Purrfection Crew, Inc. Facebook page or email PurrfectionCrew@live.com.
Contact Natalie Wheeler at email@example.com or 541-564-4536.