Nonprofit Spotlight: Furry Friends celebrates 20 years in the community

After starting out in the founder’s home, Furry Friends now owns its own house for the cats

Cat mural

Founded in 1999, Furry Friends is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit no-kill cat rescue serving Clark County. The all-volunteer organization rescues and adopts out homeless, relinquished and abused cats, the cats are sheltered and cared for for as long as it takes to find them forever homes. The organization provides medical exams, medications, spay/neuter, food and litter for up to 200 cats each year.

After first starting out in the home of the founder of the organization 20 years ago, Furry Friends has now owned their own home for the cats, called the Halfway House, for three years.

“We never thought we would be able to purchase our own home,” said Diane Stevens, marketing director for Furry Friends. “It is a constant challenge for us. We are an all-volunteer organization. There are a handful of the volunteers putting in 20 to 40 hours a week of work. These are passionate people. Some of them are doing that workload on top of working a full-time job.”

Furry Friends currently averages 189 adoptions per year, with more than 2,714 adoptions during the last two decades. They regularly house around 25 adult cats in the Vancouver Halfway House, and there are more than 150 community volunteers who come from diverse backgrounds to contribute their time, skills and talents for the cats. There are also seven active volunteer board members and no paid staff.

In addition, Furry Friends provides care and supplies for approximately 10 unadoptable senior and medically ill cats that they have placed in permanent foster homes.

“Our medical expenses are very high,” Stevens said. “We care for around 200 cats a year. For 2018, our medical expenses alone were $126,000, which averages out to $630 per cat. We have no reliable form of income such as trust funds. We make our money from individuals that share our passion. We do have several sponsors that have been a tremendous help to us over the year.”

“We are a no-kill shelter, so if the cat needs expensive dental work costing $300 to $3,000, we will get it done,” Stevens continued. “Recently, we had a cat in bad condition, his name is Portland. He needed a kidney surgery as well as many other smaller medical procedures. We spent a lot on him, but now he is a happy, healthy young boy and has just been adopted.”

Furry Friends will be participating in the Give More 24! fundraising event this year with Happy Hour, presented by Columbia Bank, on Thursday, Sept. 19, from 3-6 p.m., at the Columbia Bank Community Room, 101 E. 6th St., in Vancouver. There will be beverages, appetizers and a fun-filled evening supporting Furry Friends and other worthy nonprofits.

For every $10 donated while on site during the Happy Hour, an entry will be put in a drawing for two $500 gifts to be given to two lucky winning nonprofits.

Furry Friends Give More 24! page can be found at https://www.givemore24.org/organizations/furry-friends.

Comments

comments

Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.