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‘Paws For a Cause’ Stands Up for Cats

Photo by Joselyn King Jessica Mudge, director of Paws For A Cause, and Hilary Olexo hold kittens ready for adoption through the agency. The group has been setting up a station at the Wheeling Farmers Market, where the public can come meet the felines.

WHEELING — Sometimes the life of a feline isn’t a wonderful one, but a local group is among those looking to move them from a “fraidy-cat” existence to a forever home.

Paws For a Cause is a foster-based cat rescue organization based in Marshall County, but with fosters in both Ohio and West Virginia communities. Members rescue, foster and seek to adopt out the cats to appropriate environments.

The group may have as many as 130 cats in their care at any one time, according to director Jessica Mudge. They are placed in the homes of as many as 15 fosters in the area while they await adoption.

The group focuses on kittens, but also cares for adult cats, Mudge said. One cat currently being fostered is age 15, she said.

“We are always in need of fosters, and we try not to turn anyone down,” Mudge said. “The need for fosters is greater than what we have, but unfortunately sometimes we have to.”

Paws For A Cause seeks those “dedicated to helping,” and who can provide the environment needed for cats to thrive.

“We do like to have families that foster,” Mudge said. “It does help with the adoption process.

“Sometimes we get people who ask us, ‘I have a dog,’ or ‘I have children. Which cat would be good for me?'”

Experienced fosters who have dogs or children can help determine the answer to the question, she said.

Paws For A Cause is presently bringing its kittens setting up tables at the Wheeling Farmer’s Market on Saturday, the Ohio Valley Farmer’s Market on Thursday, and the Warwood Farmer’s Market the last Tuesday of each month.

It is here potential cat adopters can meet some of the feline clients of Paws for Cause, and discuss the adoption process.

Those wanting to adopt must fill out an application. The application asks basic questions such as if the potential adopter has children or other pets in the home, who their veterinarian is and if their pets have been spayed or neutered.

Veterinarian references are checked, according to Mudge.

Once approved, a meet and greet is arranged with the potential adopter. Usually, these take place at Mudge’s home in Woodsdale, she said.

“We really, really want to make sure the cat is going to its forever home,” Mudge said. “We do not adopt out on a first-come, first-serve basis, but consider who is best for the kitten.”

Sometimes Paws for Cause is called out to rescue kittens and tend to feral cats living on the streets. While those kittens are primed for adoption, that’s not often possible for the older felines, Mudge explained.

“These cats have lived on the streets all their lives, and they are reproducing,” she said. “We trap them, fix them, and put them back because that is the best place for them. They are familiar with the environment, and there are people feeding them.

“If we keep them and try to adopt them out, they would end up dying, unfortunately.”

The group also operates a barn program for cats who have been living in abandoned structures, and they are evicted when the structure is removed or demolished.

“They can live out their lives on a farm,” Mudge said.

She said “kitten season” is the time when most kittens are born, and extends from spring through fall. During the winter months, the number of kitten births typically is lower, she said.

Mudge asks that the public have patience with Paws For A Cause and other cat rescues as “kitten season is hard on everybody.”

“We try to get to everybody, but sometimes it’s not feasible,” she said.

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