A few stray cats in a woman’s back yard became the start of something big: the only cat rescue in Miami County, Indiana! In 2005, Shelley Shircliff (pictured) started rescuing neighborhood strays, getting them vaccinated, spayed/neutered and finding them homes. Now she is the CEO and director of Scratching Post Cat Rescue, Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit corporation organized for the care and placement of cats that are homeless and at risk of euthanasia. Located in Peru, Ind., the group has helped more than 1,000 cats find homes.
Tiffany Pope, vice president and board member of the organization, also volunteers with the rescue. She says that Scratching Post, like most rescues, rely on donations and volunteers to keep it going. Getting a facility and moving beyond fostering the animals took some time. “In 2010, we built a small building, like a shed with a door and windows and a doggie door leading into an enclosure,” she says. “Then we bought a big building in 2012, which used to be an old store. We gutted it, and it took till 2016 to get it all cleaned out.”
There are cages for sick cats and incoming cats. “After they are fixed and tested, and get a clean bill of health, we have four free-roaming rooms that are like communities” for the adoptable kitties, says Pope. “We’ve taken in quite a few elderly cats, but sometimes we have to say no if there is no space or funds for them. People turn to us for help if they can’t afford their vet bills, and Shelley will help them.” Upstairs is a room for cats with FIV, an autoimmune disease. “A lot of people don’t understand what the disease is, and that cats can live a long life with FIV, but we segregate them,” she says.
Once, the rescue took in an older cat that had gotten shot in the elbow and had an injured face. “We put lots of money into him, amputated his leg, and now he’s living in Kentucky as a happy cat!” says Pope. “People don’t know what to do with sick or hurt strays. We all work together. Sometimes I don’t think the cats know they’re in a rescue!” Scratching Post generally has about 60 to 70 felines at any given time, and during kitten season there are close to 100. People contact the group to take in stray moms with litters and offer nursing moms for orphaned kittens.
The rescue has abbreviated hours and usually shows cats by appointment. One volunteer is there from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays, but appointments are encouraged as only three volunteers are able to do adoptions. Located at 600 Chili Avenue, Peru, Ind. 46970, Scratching Post also does weekend adoptions, events and fundraisers. Call (765) 475-4926 or contact them on Facebook to make an appointment to visit – and maybe take home – a furry friend! For more info, click here: www.scratchingpostcatrescue.com