Cat Adoption Team

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Flooding at CAT - April 2012

In the dead of night (or the wee hours of the morning of April 9), a pipe burst causing flooding all over the cat–only shelter.  Over sixty percent of our shelter was damaged in some way by the water.

While we repaired essentials like flooring and walls, we seized the opportunity to update key service areas of the shelter. This included improvements to the veterinary hospital, our foster intake area known as Kitten Headquarters, and our “meet and greet” rooms.

What happened


When shelter staff arrived in the early morning of April 9, a half-inch of water was found all over the main adoption area (upstairs), cat hospital, offices, and the kitten headquarters (non-public area for CAT’s foster program).

Kizmin, the lucky black kitty allowed to spend the night in the spacious get acquainted room (a common practice to allow some cats more space to roam overnight), probably didn’t consider herself so lucky in the end. With a half-inch of water on the floor, she sought refuge overnight on the highest ground offered, a chair. When shelter staff retrieved her, she pitifully meowed protests at being stranded in an ocean of water (still a half inch but from a cat’s perspective….).

None of the cats were harmed nor received an unexpected shower as the water poured in overnight.

Throughout the repair process, we’ve made huge adjustments to how we operate. At one point, all the cats from our main adoption area upstairs were moved, temporarily, downstairs as flooring and other repairs prohibited staff and the public access to that area.

No sooner did we move the cats back upstairs, we closed down access to the main lobby entrance of the building. Clients were directed around the corner of the building to a side door.  The crazy path staff and volunteers had to take just to get from one side the building to another was almost comical. Yet we were still able to do business, spay/neuter cats, and find homes for those in our care.

Check out all the photos.

Damage to 60 percent of shelter


Water is very damaging. Thankfully, the areas most damaged were nonpublic areas and away from the main adoption rooms. However, the repairs disrupted our normal business routine quite a bit for three months.

Drying out the walls

Servpro of Tigard/Tualatin spent the better part of two weeks working to dry out the walls, find damaged areas, and remove the most damaged walling and flooring in the hospital, isolation rooms, and kitten intake area.

We had more fans around the building those weeks than people. Plastic encased doors, walls, and flooring as warm air was pumped in.

Walls in Kitten Headquarters, utility rooms, bathrooms, and some offices were torn down to studs.

New flooring

Downstairs, 14-year-old flooring and carpet that once was under our feet, was replaced with higher quality, easier to clean and sanitize flooring throughout the entire shelter.

Gone is the black and white checkered tile in the kitten adoption room. It was starting to look more grey and dark grey due to wear and tear.

We struggled to keep the downstairs carpet ultra clean. Carpet is a wonderful breeding ground for nasties and yukies and is very hard to completely sanitize. We did not “allow” cats to roam downstairs for that reason.

Fresh coat of paint

You know how nice your home looks when you slap a fresh coat of paint on the walls. That’s how CAT feels now. We were able to paint almost every wall in the building. Now they are clean and bright.

We repaired holes and gouges in the walls at the same time. And soon, we’ll be hanging up some kitty art.

Hospital changes

One of the biggest changes and improvements the public will probably never get to see happened in the hospital. Our 10-year-old feline hospital not only got new flooring and clean painted walls, but a few more square feet of workable space were added.

An awkward hallway was removed and unused access doors walled in. Then we moved our pharmacy and work station into the void that was the hallway. Viola, more room. With the addition of another wet / exam table, the space is more efficient.

CAT’s hospital staff is grateful to be back in our veterinary space. We want to thank Multnomah County Animal Services for loaning us their Spay Station. Without that mobile vet clinic, we would have shut down most, if not, of all our medical services. Using the Spay Station, we were able to keep our shelter cats healthy AND continue to offer low-cost spay/neuter services for publicly owned cats.

Spay Station on loan from Multnomah County

Thank you



Thank you to Nestle Purina Petcare Company for donating $50,000 to our relief fund.

Thank you to Petco Foundation for donating $38,000 towards repairs to the shelter no covered by insurance.

CAT wants to give a huge shout out of appreciation to all our shelter partners who stepped up with help, support, or just an ear to hear our plight.  A huge thank you goes to our staff and volunteers who are being so flexible with the changes while still giving the cats top notch care. And thank you for your well wishes, donations, and caring.


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