One of the three colony rooms is a dedicated home for the shelter’s special needs cats. The room currently houses three cats: Gigi and Mimi are sisters who are both on a special diet to lose weight, and Sid, who is diabetic.
“Gigi is grumpy, that’s her sister, Mimi, and she’s got only got one eyeball. She is not very friendly,” Simeone said while introducing some of the Columbian staff to the cats during a shelter tour. “Mimi is friendly, but she does not like to be picked up.”
The cat shelter is home to 19 cats, with another 13 in foster homes. The shelter has room to comfortably house 30 cats, though would take more if needed, according to Simeone.
When a cat is dropped off at the shelter, it first goes through an intake process. The intake room is filled with kennels where cats spend their first 14 days being monitored, undergoing a health evaluation and being spayed or neutered if necessary.
There can be a lot of stigma around surrendering an animal to a shelter, according to Simeone. In reality, that is the most humane way to deal with an animal if someone is no longer able to care for it for whatever reason.
“People who are surrendering their animals are totally beside themselves,” Simeone said.
“It is very judgment free (at our shelter),” added Mikhaila Todd, shelter coordinator.
On average, the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society cat shelter adopts out around 600 cats, according to Simeone. That is made possible by the 10 employees and around 200 volunteers who give around 33,000 total volunteer hours yearly, she said.
The shelter also helps support other animals in the Washougal/Camas area and beyond through programs such as their pet pantry and the Veterinary Assistance Fund to help low-income families take care of their pets in times of need.
For more information about the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society and how to adopt, foster, donate, volunteer, access the Veterinary Assistance Fund, access the pet pantry and much more, visit wcghs.org or call 360-835-3464.
The new cat building is located in the same spot as the old one was, right next door to the dog shelter. It is currently open by appointment only. The West Columbia Gorge Humane Society is located in Washougal at 2675 Index St.