The Cat's Meow was founded in 2004, and our initial focus was on spaying and neutering the feral cats in our community. Feral cats have not been socialized and are generally afraid of people. They are the offspring of tame cats who have been lost or abandoned. When kittens are born and raised without human contact, they can become feral.
Because they avoid human contact, feral cats are usually not adoptable. They live outside in family groups called colonies. In Anacortes, the Cat's Meow has managed several feral cat colonies ranging from small groups of 4-6 cats to our largest colony at a local shipyard where there were more than 120 cats.
We began by spaying and neutering. This halted the cycle of reproduction and stabilized the colony size. Over the years, we provided outdoor shelters stuffed with straw and volunteers provided fresh food and water for the cats each day. The cats were allowed to live out their lives with dignity in the environment where they were most comfortable and their population diminished over time.
By 2014, the feral cat population in Anacortes had naturally declined by quite a bit and the Cat's Meow was fortunate to receive a special gift that allowed us to build a comfortable home for the remaining cats. The sanctuary is currently at capacity with 27 kitty residents.
Welcome to Kitty Harbor!
The view from the front entrance to the sanctuary. The cottage has a small door on each end so the cats can find shelter whenever they like. Inside the cottage is an upper loft filled with fleece blankets -- a favorite napping spot.
Mr. Chow enjoying the afternoon shade with Ruby and Nikko.
The boat, with its two story pilot house, is a favorite resting spot for the kitties. If you look closely you can see a black cat, Mimi, sitting behind the Welcome kitty sign.
Louie sits in the bottom of the boat, while Natalie snacks on some treats on the upper deck.
Patty, a volunteer, comes to visit the cats almost every day. They know she has treats for them so they are always excited to see her.
Mimi naps on the cedar platform to the left while Nikko enjoys the garden.
A view of the second cottage added this summer. After installing the first cottage, we realized it would not be enough indoor space for all the cats in the winter, so we added a second slightly larger cottage. The cats love to sit on the deck railings and watch all the activity in the street nearby.
The boat is a favorite napping spot. Here, Mr. Chow found a sunny spot on the top deck while Louie curled up below him.
Mr. Chow, one of our oldest residents. He was one of the original shipyard cats and has become very friendly with his caregivers over the years. He keeps the younger cats in line and they seem to respect his authority.
Lucy and Mr. Chow together in the back of the boat.
Lucy. The cats love to lay on the stone patio because it absorbs the heat from the sun all day.
Natalie, sitting inside the boat house.
Pikabu keeps an eye on things from inside the boat house.
Nikko and Junior under the cedar deck.
Ruby in the boat. Ruby is very shy and we hardly ever saw her before we put the garden in. Now that the plants are in, Ruby is enjoying the garden quite a bit. She is also one of the original shipyard cats. She survived the busiest part of the shipyard for many years.
Mimi, in her favorite spot, where she can keep watch over the whole sanctuary.
Inside the first cottage. The loft is a favorite sleeping spot.
Inside the second cottage. This building is a little larger, so we were able to install a double loft with walkways in between. The cats love to curl up on the pillows during the night.
Bozley, peeking down from a loft inside one of the cottages. The lofts are filled with fleece blankets to keep the cats warm in cool weather.