The organization, run by Executive Director Jessica Myers, rescued and found homes for close to 600 kittens last year.
Community Cats of Palm Coast is outgrowing its thrift store. At the same time, its mission to reduce the county’s stray cat population is outgrowing its foster network.
A bold move was necessary, said Jessica Myers, the nonprofit’s executive director. So Community Cats of Palm Coast is closing its thrift store business at the Island Walk Shopping Center on April 3 and opening a new thrift store with more than three times the space at the Alamo Business Center, 4500 N. U.S. 1, on April 6.
The new thrift store, with about 3,000 square feet of space, accounts for two-thirds of the space the organization has leased at its new location. An adjoining 1,500-square-foot suite is slated to house an adoption center that will include an intake area for the kittens, a reception area, a meet-and-greet room and a room to house the kittens.
“Previously we were doing private meet and greets in foster homes or if we had an abundance of kittens at one time, we would hold an adoption event,” Myers said. “Now we’ll be able to have all of our available kittens for adoption in one location.”
Right now, the adoption center is just an open space with bathrooms. Walls, electricity, cat enclosures and fixtures could cost around $15,000, Myers said. The organization has commenced a fund-raising campaign for construction and other costs associated with the undertaking.
“Ultimately we would like to raise $30,000-40,000,” Myers said. “That’s a little pie-in-the-sky. We don’t actually need that much to get in the doors, but we’d like to have bit of money to fall back on.”
Community Cats of Palm Coast is running two campaigns to raise funds, one for sponsors and major supporters with incremental donations from $500 to $5,000 and another for $50 to $200 donations. Donors’ names or the names of a loved one or a pet will be displayed in cat-head wood cutouts ranging in sizes from 3 to 15 inches on CCOPC’s donor wall. Sponsors will receive recognition in social media be able to put their advertising in the thrift store and adoption center.
Community Cats of Palm Coast was founded by Elizabeth Robinson in 2013. It promotes the use of “Trap, Neuter and Return” to reduce the county’s feral cat population. It has also found homes for nearly 2,000 cats and kittens, according to its website.
Myers said the organization rescued and found homes for close to 600 kittens last year and TNR’d probably 200 more. Those numbers are hard to pinpoint, she said, because they loan out traps to people who are then responsible for spaying or neutering the captured strays by taking them to the Flagler Humane Society, Flagler Cats (a clinic that provides low-cost spay/neuter surgery) or their own veterinarians.
An intake facility will allow Community Cats of Palm Coast to take in cats when the Flagler Humane Society is full. And while the Humane Society will only take in adoptable cats and TNR feral cats, CCOPC will also foster cats, socializing those with potential to be adopted.
“We definitely knew there was a need for an intake facility and an adoption center when we opened the small store in December of 2019,” Myers said. “It’s very small at 900 square feet, yet we’re doing very well there despite COVID and other obstacles. But we’re definitely maxed out, so we made this strategic move to move the thrift store (into the larger space) so it can continue to fund not only the rescue but the adoption center.
“Since we started in 2013 we do see (the feral cat problem) has gotten better, but we still have a huge, huge problem,” she said.
Donations to the two campaigns can be made online at communitycatspc.org/donors wall or communitycatspc.org/adoptioncenter or call 386-585-4092.