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CAT's Story

Cat Adoption Team (CAT) is the largest cat shelter in the Pacific Northwest. We offer adoption, foster care, and veterinary services to homeless cats and kittens, and we provide programs that support people in caring for cats.

About Us

With 25 years of experience and over 60,000 adoptions, we know cats! While in our care, cats and kittens have access to enrichment activities, behavior modification, medical care, and a variety of housing options to meet their individual needs. What’s more, our community support programs offer support and resources that strengthen the bond between cats and the people who love them.

Our doors opened on May 1, 1998, and since that time we’ve remained dedicated to helping cats and people.

CAT’s staff and volunteers work tirelessly to care for and find a home for every cat and kitten we take in. Our shelter meets high standards of care established by national experts, and we are committed to providing a Fear Free environment. Through our carefully supervised adoption program, an average of over 3,000 cats and kittens are adopted into loving homes each year.

This lifesaving success is possible because of staff, volunteers, supporters, and all our partners in this work!

Our Mission

Cat Adoption Team’s mission is to save the lives of homeless, unwanted, sick, and injured cats and to work with our community to provide feline expertise and quality programs and services for people and cats.

CAT does so much for the felines in our community. We’re so lucky to have this great organization!

– Chandra H.

Cat Person? Us Too!

At CAT, we care about cats and people. Our values guide us in the work that we do and our interactions with others.

Compassion for cats. We focus on the individual welfare and future of each cat in need.

Expertise. We strive to be experts in cat welfare, health, behavior, sheltering, and related programs.

Respect for people. We treat our employees, volunteers, donors, clients, and community with respect.

Impact. We have a significant and measurable positive impact on the cats in our community.

Collaboration. We work with other individuals and organizations to save more lives.

Integrity. We act with integrity and value transparency.

Excellence. We strive for excellence in every aspect of our work.

At CAT, We Care

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Statement of Principle

Respect for people is a core value at Cat Adoption Team. We’re working to create a space where all people are welcome, respected, and valued. We know that we have a long way to go to address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion—both in our organization and within the animal welfare field. Bias and discrimination have prevented people from accessing employment, volunteerism, programs, and services. 

At CAT, we believe that every cat lover deserves to enjoy the love, laughter, and companionship of cats. We are committed to learning and growing so that we can better reflect and embrace our full community. Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, comprised of staff, volunteers, and board members, is working through a broad range of initiatives to ensure we make impactful change, not only in policy and procedure, but within our organizational culture. We know that this will be an ongoing process and we’re dedicated to transparency along the way. 

We welcome you to contact us at [email protected] with questions, ideas, comments, or concerns.

Our History

In the late ‘90s, county shelters in the Portland area were overrun with lost, stray, and surrendered cats. Euthanasia rates were high. Adoption numbers were low. Homeless cats didn’t have many options.

On May 1, 1998, with 35 cats for adoption and a dream to save more lives, a small private shelter opened its doors.

That shelter was Cat Adoption Team.

By the end of our first year, CAT had found homes for 219 cats.

The adoption numbers and shelter population more than doubled in 1999. During the following year, we celebrated our 1,000th adoption. In 2002, we became the first animal shelter in the Pacific Northwest to open an onsite veterinary hospital.

CAT was the first animal shelter in our area to open an veterinary hospital on site.

The Roger H. James Hospital at Cat Adoption Team provides preventive and urgent care to all our shelter cats, as well as providing a low-cost spay/neuter services for pet cats.

Though our shelter location hasn’t changed, we’ve made countless improvements over the years.

We upgraded to stainless steel kennels in the mid-2000s. Later, in 2014, we further updated this housing to give twice as much space to each cat. In 2019, we completed a kennel upgrade project that increased safety, improved disease control and appearance, and reduced noise in the shelter. And we continue to make adjustments in policy and procedure as we learn of advances in veterinary medicine and animal sheltering.

In 2019, the live release rate for cats in our area was over 95 percent.

Working collaboratively with other animal shelters, rescue groups, and veterinarians—and with the support of cat lovers, adopters, volunteers, and donors—CAT has helped transform the Portland metro area into one of the safest in the nation for homeless cats.


Over the past few years, we took dozens of steps to meet the rigorous standards in the Association of Shelter Veterinarian’s (ASV) Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters. In 2019, CAT became one of just a handful of shelters to meet all 254 “musts” in the ASV Guidelines. 

What started in just a few hundred square feet has grown into the largest cat-only animal shelter in our region.

Today, CAT is a nationally recognized, professional nonprofit. Our multiple adoption rooms, onsite hospital, private intake area, and offices fill about 16,000 square feet — all in the building where we got our start!

None of this would be possible without the support of our entire CAT family, adopters, volunteers, and donors. Let’s keep saving lives together!