Like many cats at the Safe Haven shelter, 10-month-old Cafe-au-Lait was rescued from a negligent owner. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News)

Like many cats at the Safe Haven shelter, 10-month-old Cafe-au-Lait was rescued from a negligent owner. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News)

Pet food bank, cat adoptions reopen at Safe Haven

No-kill shelter taking appointments, in need of funding

PORT ANGELES — Business is picking up — and volunteers are pivoting — at Peninsula Friends of Animals, the 20-year-old nonprofit organization known for its cats, dog- and cat-food bank and potholders.

After a weeks-long closure, Safe Haven, PFOA’s no-kill shelter east of Port Angeles, has resumed cat and kitten adoptions by appointment and is operating its pet food pantry, said executive director Danette Grady. The low-cost spay/neuter clinics also restarted at Sequim Animal Hospital, with 14 dogs and cats undergoing surgery last Wednesday.

With some 20 cats adopted in the past month, “we’re all celebrating,” Grady said.

“We use Petfinder a lot,” she added, referring to the website for prospective adopters.

“We actually had seven bonded pairs go home,” Grady said. “The last three weeks have been very busy, and we’re still getting calls.”

Adoptable cats and information about PFOA’s many activities can be found at SafeHavenPFOA.org, while Grady and her team of volunteers can be reached at 360-452-0414.

Nancy Campbell, who’s worked with PFOA since it began in 2000, interviews and counsels people interested in rescuing cats, kittens or combinations of the two.

She noted that all felines coming into Safe Haven are quarantined for two weeks and checked out by doctors at Hadlock Veterinary Clinic, which “has been extremely generous.”

PFOA has kept its adoption fee at $85 for many years, Campbell added. The fee covers a cat’s immunizations and its spaying or neutering.

The emergency pet food bank is another longtime part of PFOA, and it’s now set up for safe pickups, Grady said.

Dog and cat owners should leave a message on the shelter’s phone, and she or a crew member will call them back to find out how many and what size pets are in the household. A pickup time will then be arranged; people should not go to Safe Haven’s front door without calling first.

At the same time, supporters are ordering food, cat toys and scratchers after seeing a wish list on PFOA’s website. Several have had such supplies delivered straight to Safe Haven at 257509 U.S. Highway 101, Port Angeles, WA 98362. For donation checks, the mailing address is PFOA, P.O. Box 404, Sequim, WA 98382.

The nonprofit group’s need for support is acute now that the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated cancellation of its April Catnip and Sip fashion show-auction-tea. Also canceled are the summer festivals during which the potholder team has sold thousands of kitchen hot pads.

This spring, the team members deployed their sewing machines to suit the times: They made masks, first for Clallam County Emergency Management and then for the public.

“We decided to do a benefit,” Grady said.

Two masks were sold for $20, with one for the donor and the other to be given to a person in need, she said.

Masks can be ordered by calling her at Safe Haven — she’s at extension 3 — or emailing [email protected] The news/announcements link at the bottom of PFOA’s website also has information.

Sharon Palmer, another steadfast animal advocate, has organized PFOA’s low-cost spay/neuter program for two decades. The clinics are held the third Wednesday of each month, with openings on June 17, July 15 and Aug. 19.

Palmer, who can be reached via the SafeHaven phone number, said her program provided surgeries for 188 animals last year.

It helps address PFOA’s mission, which is twofold: preventing the birth of unwanted kittens and puppies, and finding permanent homes for animals that have suffered abuse or neglect.

Grady looks forward to the day when her team, which she said numbers some 50 volunteers, can gather and work together again at Safe Haven.

They’re a kind of village, with longtime residents such as Tippy, shelter’s mascot cat marking his 16th birthday this May, and volunteers, including Barb Watts, who writes a check to PFOA at holiday time after recycling aluminum year-round.

“Our kitties inspire us to be our best,” Grady said, “and do our best for them.”

________

Diane Urbani de la Paz, a former features editor for the Peninsula Daily News, is a freelance writer living in Port Townsend.

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