JEFFERSONVILLE — Twenty years ago, three animal-loving ladies saw the need to establish an animal shelter to serve Southern Indiana. Their passion and vision led to the creation of Animal Protection Association, which is one of the only all-volunteer, no-kill cat shelters in the Southern Indiana and Louisville area.
APA’s founders were Faye Hinton, Phyllis Genton and the late Linda Hughes. Current APA President Vicki Clark says, “Without our founding mothers, APA could never have evolved into the organization that it is today.”
APA started at a house on Meigs Avenue, but it quickly outgrew that space and moved to their current location at 702 E. 11th St.
Medical and maintenance expenses for APA’s furry friends run around $175,000 per year and are covered by donations, income from APA’s Thrift Store, Purr-fect Treasures. and special events. Purr-Fect Treasures is at 146 Spring St. in downtown Jeffersonville.
To commemorate their 20th anniversary of saving lives and to raise needed funds, APA is hosting Kitties and Cocktails. The event is 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, at the Calumet Club, 1614 E. Spring St., New Albany.
“This new event is our major fundraiser and replaces Paws for a Cold Wet Nose,” Clark said.
The event will a feature a cash bar and complementary appetizers. Host Roy Harrison will keep the party hopping as guests enjoy a silent auction, live auction, 50/50 cash raffle and more. Be sure to sharpen your knowledge of music from 1999 for the music trivia contest. Adoptable cats also will attend the event. The cost is $40 per person and tickets can be purchased at www.apa-pets.org/events.
Originally, APA took in all kinds of animals but over the years it has evolved into an all-cat shelter.
“Looking around our area you will see there are many dog shelters or dog and cat shelters, but there aren’t any all-cat shelters in our area. We felt like this was a void we could fill,” explained Clark.
In the past 20 years, APA estimates it has saved the lives of approximately 4,000 cats. Last year, APA cared for more than 200 kittens and at any given time it has more than 50 adult cats in the shelter and another 50 in foster homes or at PetSmart in Clarksville.
APA is unique, not only because it is an all-cat shelter, but because it doesn't screen intakes of cats due to age, whether or not they are FIV positive or their breed.
“Many shelters will not accept cats who are FIV positive. We work with people to help them understand that FIV positive cats can live long healthy lives and co-exist with non-FIV cats. It can’t be transferred from sharing food and water bowls or litter boxes or grooming one another. It can be transferred only through a deep bite wound. As long as the cats are introduced properly, they should be fine,” Clark explained.
It is also important to note that APA is run totally by volunteers. It has no paid staff. Being an all-volunteer organization is always a challenge. APA needs volunteers, usually in teams of two or three, at the shelter twice daily, 365 days a year, to clean, do laundry, scoop litter, feed and water, administer medications, and, most importantly, pet and love our kitties. They also need volunteers on Fridays and Saturdays during adoption hours (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) to talk with visitors and assist them in finding their perfect kitty.
HELP ALWAYS NEEDED
APA also covers four adoption hours a day at PetSmart in Clarksville. Adoption hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday through Wednesday and 2 to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. The shift can be broken into two-hour segments to accommodate busy schedules.
Volunteers are always needed at the thrift store. Volunteer duties there include customer service, cashier responsibilities, product merchandising, sorting and processing donated goods and general cleaning. The thrift store is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
Clark also said the APA is always looking for people who want to foster kittens and mamas.
“The number of fosters we have determines how many kittens we can take in. We have had to say no a number of times this year because we didn’t have a foster home for them.”
APA invites you to visit the shelter on Fridays or Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and meet the “Fabulous Felines of APA.” You can see all of the cats at www.apa-pets.org/adopt.
“While APA is not an official ‘cat café,' we have many regulars from Jeffersonville, Clarksville, Sellersburg, New Albany, Corydon and Memphis who visit the shelter on a regular basis to pass out treats to the cats and to just unwind. Many of our long-time feline residents, like Sweet Pea, Chavez and Bungee are known by name to our visitors. If you meet Bungee, I can promise you won’t forget him,” Clark said.