The Naval Air Station Lemoore (NASL) Cat Depot, a volunteer run shelter for stray cats, is in search of forever homes for their rescues. The facility, NASL building 977, is located on Ticonderoga Avenue, next to the Jet Mart.
On average, the depot houses between 15 and 20 cats at their Ticonderoga location, with an additional six to 10 at their quarantine facility on Franklin Avenue. The cats housed at the quarantine facility typically have upper respiratory infections, but can be held there for myriad of reasons.
While sheltering up to 30 cats at one time, the average month sees only about four adoptions.
Beginning on Dec. 1 and running through the month, the Cat Depot is running a special where a cat can be adopted for $65. The depot has contracted with Valley Oak SPCA in Visalia, and all adoptable cats are negative for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and leukemia, neutered or spayed, up to date on rabies and distemper vaccines and equipped with microchip identification tags. Microchip identification involves implanting a tag in pets so that they can be identified on a national computer network.
Stray cats are a concern on base, and Lorena Perez, manager of the depot, believes most of them are abandoned by base families. “Out of the cats we rescue, about eight out of every 10 are spayed or neutered, which means they were cared for once. We don’t go out in town looking for cats; all of our rescues are found on base,” Perez said.
According to Perez, on occasion cats have been returned to the depot, sometimes after years of care by a family.
While many of the strays are spayed or neutered, not many are found microchipped. NASL pet registration policy includes having all animals on base be microchipped, a service that Kings County SPCA offers for $10. All base pets should also be up to date on vaccines and be registered with Lincoln Military Housing and the NASL Veterinary Treatment Facility (VTF).
An additional concern of the Cat Depot is the presence of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). Three of the strays that have been found in the last six months were infected with FIP and subsequently euthanized, as the disease is highly contagious and often fatal to cats. The current vaccine for FIP is not generally recommended by the American Association of Feline Practitioners and is not available at the NASL VTF. For safety and per base policy, cats should be kept indoors.
The Cat Depot is in need of donations of food, cat litter and cleaning supplies year-round. Amberle Reid, one of the volunteers, has also organized a holiday cat/dog food drive that runs through Dec. 15. Cat food donations will go to the NASL Cat Depot and dog food donations will go to Valley Animal Haven in Lemoore. Monetary donations for the depot can be made to naslcatdepot2016@gmail via PayPal.
For more information, email the depot or visit them on Facebook at NASL Cat Depot. According to Perez, they are in desperate need of volunteers, donations and adoptions.