Finding a forever home

Lori Bailey, director/organizer of Community Cats of Owosso, left, looks on as Sonnet Thiele, 10, who came with her father, Joel Thiele of Owosso, pets Cocoz the cat during an adoption event Saturday at Owosso branch of the Shiawassee District Library.

OWOSSO — September is Happy Cat Month, and five young cats were made happy Saturday, getting adopted during a special event at the Owosso branch of the Shiawassee District Library.

A sixth cat got happy after a woman came to the event and found her furry pal, who had been lost.

Hosted by the library and the Community Cats of Owosso volunteer organization, the adoption event brought out dozens of people to look over 25 or so younger cats seeking loving homes.

“All of these cats have a story,” said Lori Bailey, director/organizer of Community Cats. “They all came from interesting backgrounds.”

There was Raven the black kitten, who was abandoned in downtown Owosso and was lucky enough to be found and sponsored by Susan Treen, owner of Appletree Lane on Washington Street.

Treen paid for Raven to be spayed/neutered and vaccinated — services all cats receive before being adopted out by Community Cats.

Another cat, having trouble delivering a litter, was rescued during a heavy rainstorm. All of her kittens except for one, featured at the library Saturday, have been placed in homes.

Joel Thiele of Owosso and his daughters, Sonnet, 10, and Vivianne, 7, came to the adoption event, held downstairs inside the children’s library, but only to pet the cats.

“My mom is allergic to cats, so we can’t get one,” Sonnet Thiele said as she stroked Cocoz, a friendly black kitten.

The stated purpose of Community Cats of Owosso, a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization formed in 2014, is to spay and neuter homeless cats.

However, Bailey said, sometimes the group has to take in cats. Currently, 12 volunteers are providing temporary foster homes.

Adoption events are held a couple of times a month — typically at Magoo’s Pet Outlet and Pet Supplies Plus — but Saturday was the first time one was held in the Owosso branch of the Shiawassee District Library.

“I think it’s going great. They’ve had several adopted today,” said Natalie Young, children’s librarian. “We were at the farmers market (in Owosso) one day and Community Cats was next to us. That gave us the idea to do that.”

Young said a lot of library regulars took the time to pet the young cats and at least think about adopting a furry friend.

Bailey said she was pleased with the response by library patrons.

“We had a lot more kids today than we usually do,” she said. “Being here gave us a new audience.”

She said Community Cats focus on trying to adopt out popular younger cats during the summer months — considered “adoption season” — and then shift to finding homes for older cats the rest of the year.

“Many people want kittens but a lot of people like the older cats,” Bailey said. “The older ones are over the play stage. They won’t rip apart your furniture.”

Bailey, a former Owosso City Council member, worked with city hall employee Rhonda Pritchett for a number of years. Pritchett became a Community Cats volunteer and foster home.

“I try to help because I love the cats and Lori really needs the help,” said Pritchett, who assisted Saturday along with volunteer Elaine Greenway (also a former Owosso City Council member).

Bailey said the group currently has seven active volunteers, including the local owner of a masonry, who helps set up and break down adoption events, using his work pickup truck and storing cages in his garage.

Saturday could be the beginning of a long-term relationship between Community Cats and the Shiawassee District Library.

“I would be more than happy to invite them back,” Young said.

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