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Met-A-Cat Rescue



BY WHITNEY PRATHER DUVALL


Met a cat? Want to? Anya Johnson, an Owen County native and student at Georgetown College, was looking to do just that when she started Met-A-Cat Rescue.

Realizing Owen County had no resources for cats, Anya set about coming up with a solution. She is passionate, knowledgeable, and driven—all traits necessary to successfully tackle the overpopulation of unwanted felines.

“Before Met-A-Cat Rescue was born, it was me—a high school student at the time—and my family taking in cats and getting them fixed and adopted,” Anya said. Since her rescue’s inception, more than 500 cats have passed through her home alone.

Having garnered some assistance from other kind-hearted cat folks, Anya made Met-A-Cat Rescue official in 2020, becoming a 501c3 non-profit organization. According to its website, the rescue seeks to place cats in homes, rehome cats as needed, and create a spay and neuter program to address the local unwanted cat population.

By working with foster homes, the rescue is able to reduce the costs associated with housing cats in a brick and mortar shelter. Having the cats placed in foster homes provides them with plenty of handling and affection, preparing them for life in their forever home. Since becoming official in 2020, Anya and her volunteers have placed more than 200 cats in forever homes.

“We really try to get a feel for each cat we take in,” Anya said. “Every cat has a different personality, and the last thing we want is to rehome one without understanding that personality and making sure the new owner is aware of that.”

Sometimes, Anya said, a personality issue is due to an underlying cause. Met-A-Cat volunteers try and get to the root of that cause, and no cat is adopted without being fully vetted. This includes shots and being spayed or neutered.

To aid in rehoming efforts, Met-A-Cat Rescue has partnered with northern Kentucky pet stores, including Feeders Supply and Pet Supplies Plus in Independence and Cold Spring, to host adoption events.

Another challenge of being the sole, local cat resource is providing a home for each as they wait to be adopted. Anya and Met-A-Cat volunteers shoulder the burden of what generally ends up being multiple cats staying at each home. While the rescue is completely reliant on donations—receiving no financial assistance from the county—they still ensure that no foster has to be responsible for food or vetting expenses.

“We are always in need of foster homes for these amazing cats to stay in,” Anya said, indicating a waiting list of approximately 150 cats. “Without having a facility, we can only take in cats if we have a foster home open.”

Anya and her rescue team’s current focus is getting a low-cost spay and neuter clinic to come to Owen County. According to the America Veterinary Medical Association, millions of unwanted cats are born each year. Spay and neutering is critical to preventing overpopulation and reduce some serious health issues that can be passed through colonies of feral cats.

“Cost is definitely an issue,” Anya said, as she vividly recounts one of the worst hoarding situations she and her team have ever pulled cats from. Broken bottles, filth, and even drug paraphernalia don’t begin to describe the surroundings volunteers sometimes have to enter to rescue cats from.

“It’s hard… and sometimes people don’t understand how hard it really is to rescue,” Anya said, preparing to leave two adoptable cats with the Walton Feeders Supply location to host. As she stood there, watching pet store staff get their area ready, another maturing kitten and a crate of four-week-old bottle-fed kittens impatiently wait to take the return trip home with Anya.

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