Gail Bowers reaches over and begins to gently pet Rocky and Yellow Sun as they sit on their post.
“Hey guys, we have some company,” the Seal Beach Animal Care Center volunteer says to Valentino, Silver Surfer, Rocky, and Yellow Sun as we enter Kitten Cottage, a the storage shed overtaken by lounging cats.
“Rocky was adopted as a kitten five years ago but his owner lost his job, so he had to come back here,” Bowers said. “This is Yellow Sun. He’s a very nice boy but he has no teeth. Don’t worry, he doesn’t have a problem eating.”
Bowers turns to pet Silver Surfer and Valentino.
“Valentino is a retired Tom,” Bowers explains.
As Silver Surfer starts to meow Bowers looks at him, pets his head and says, “What’s that all about?”
He relaxes. Perhaps it was the Black Keys song “Lonely Boy” playing in the background that got Silver Surfer singing in the first place.
Bowers and all the volunteers are preparing for a big St. Catrick’s Day special this Saturday. For $5 all cats aged 6-months or older are up for adoption. Adoptions are available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Last year, 18 cats were adopted and shelter volunteers are hoping to break the record this year.
“Hey Sassy girl,” Bowers says to the black and white 7 month-old kitten that greeted her at the door to Joseph’s room, named for the shelter cat Joseph. “You gotta get away from the door so we can get in.”
“This is Sassy, a very feisty girl who loves to play, nip, and climb,” Bowers said. “She’ll play with anybody and anything.”
I reach down to pet her, and right on cue she playfully swipes at my pen, prompting laughter from Bowers.
Bowers has volunteered at the center for six years. She started when she retired because she liked cats and needed something to do, she said. Now, she knows just about all150 cats at the center by name. Realistically, they can only accommodate 70 cats comfortably, but since they are a no-kill shelter, people bring pets they can no longer keep.
The shelter is in the process of building the Helen Sanders Cat Facility. The shelter currently has 60% of the funding in place for the new building but still needs donations. The shelter is also in need of donations to make improvements to the existing shelter for the care and comfort of dogs. A donation form can be found here.
As I finished up my tour with Bowers and the cats of the SBACC, Bowers stressed the role of the volunteers at the shelter.
“The only paid staff is kennel staff,” Bowers said. “We depend on our volunteers and our donations. We are in the process of putting up a new cat building but we don’t have enough money. We need donations. Put that in your article.”