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‘Tales’ offers help to cats

Drake and Josh were found homeless, wandering a local street in Andalusia with no knowledge of how to survive on their own. Their sibling lay helpless nearby after being struck by a car, but help was not far away.

The touching story of Drake and Josh, two 4-week-old kittens now sheltered at Jones Veterinary Hospital in Andalusia, is what inspired Stacy Jones to create Cat Tales Inc., a non-profit feline rescue organization.

“There are just so many cats that are left to survive on their own,” Jones, executive director of Cat Tales, said. “I just feel as though anytime a loving home can be found for one of these cats it is a worthwhile endeavor.”

Jones said no feral or wild cats are accepted by the organization due to the tremendous work involved in domesticating the animals for adoption.

“We have to be able to work with the cats and prepare them for adoption,” she said. “Most feral cats are extremely wild and impossible to prepare for adoption.

“We are not currently accepting cats simply because the response to the program has been so overwhelming,” she added. “We currently have 15 cats sheltered and we have already found homes for five cats.”

Cat Tales is partnered with Iams for the company’s “Home 4 the Holidays” adoption campaign and is a registered shelter on the company’s Web site.

According to the Web site, in 1999 the Helen Woodward Animal Center teamed up with 14 San Diego area shelters to start the Iams “Home 4 the Holidays” program. That year, they found homes for 2,563 orphaned pets. Last year the program set a new world adoption record with 491,612 adoptions and the company wishes to raise the bar even higher with an adoption goal of 1 million for this holiday season.

Jones said she and her husband, veterinarian Dr. Troy Jones, had discussed opening the rescue, but had not planned to begin until early 2009. Word spread quickly though, according to Jones, and cats soon began arriving at the clinic.

“The first cat we took in about six weeks ago and he actually did not make it,” she said. “We named him Uno and he was brought in by one of our clients. He was in pretty bad shape with a number of physical ailments including an eye infection. We test all of our cats for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Uno was found to be in the final stages of feline leukemia.”

Cats brought to Cat Tales are initially isolated in a separate room, which has its own ventilation system, and observed for seven days. Each cat is tested for feline leukemia and FIV, provided any necessary shots and spayed or neutered. Any additional medical needs are also addressed before the cats are placed into a cage-free room to await adoption.

“We have one cat, Popeye, who was lost during Hurricane Ike,” Jones said. “He wandered up to a lady’s home who already had four cats of her own. She fed him for a short period of time, but eventually brought him into us. He is blind in one eye, which was also infected, and Troy operated on him to remove that eye. Popeye is now in recovery, but he should be ready for adoption soon.”

Jones said cats are kept in a back room separated from client pets and an additional room, once used to treat larger animals such as horses, will soon add to the space available to shelter cats.

“Troy used the room to treat larger animals, but he no longer treats large animals,” she said. “I got him to place a drop down ceiling in here and this area will soon be ready to provide additional cage space. Once the room is completed, we will be able to accept more kittens. We keep the small kittens separated from the larger cats and right now our space is limited for the smaller cats.”

Individuals who choose to adopt a cat from Cat Tales will pay a $100 adoption fee, which includes the cost of all tests and shots administered by the clinic. A master book is available to view cats available for adoption. The book includes a photo of each cat as well as detailed information about each feline.

“We have some that are kid friendly and some that are not,” Jones said. “I have a master book, one at Walker Business Supply in Andalusia and one here at Jones Veterinary Hospital, that has all of our cats listed. The book will indicate at the bottom whether the cat is kid friendly or not, if the cat works well with other cats and each cat’s individual tale.”

Adoption forms are available for pickup at Jones Veterinary Hospital and Walker Business Supply in Andalusia. For more information about Cat Tales Inc. — including how to donate time, money or supplies — contact Stacy Jones at (334) 430-2217 or (334) 222-4713.