The Starfish Cats


”I feel so sorry for you guys, it’s just out of control,” she replied sadly. And she was right. Our conversation about trying to find homes for half-starved cats was but one of many calls. Same problem, different cats. Kitten season will soon be in full swing and more desperate people will be calling to find homes for unwanted kittens than there will be people calling for help to spay or neuter the mothers, which would at least prevent the next litter.

We are told regularly that we can’t make a difference. They say the cats we spay or neuter aren’t but a ‘drop in the bucket’. While some days that bucket may seem bigger or deeper than other days, overall, we believe we are making a difference in the lives of the cats and people that we have been able to help.


Remember the story of the starfish? A passer-by on the beach asked a boy why he was throwing starfish back into the ocean. The child explained that without water they would not survive until the next tide came in, so he threw starfish back out into the ocean to save their lives. The passer-by chuckled and told him there were so many starfish that he couldn’t begin to make a difference. As the boy threw another starfish back into the safety of the water, he said, “It makes a difference to THIS starfish”!

The story of the starfish can just as easily be applied to our local cats. Maybe there are so many that we’ll never save them all. But the saddest part of the story on a local level is the reality that we could save more if we could just convince more people to pull their own weight and be responsible for their own pets. In other words, our people problem is larger then our unwanted pet problem.


Every year we take in dozens of mothers with litters as well as orphans.

Please, don’t be silent. Don’t ignore that starfish because you can’t save them all. You can help those creatures who cannot speak for themselves by educating and/or by helping their owners. Encourage your family, friends and neighbors to spay or neuter their pets. We don’t need a beach to see the connection between the starfish story and the tide of stranded cats and dogs in need of rescue. You can make a difference in a life miles from the coast!


There are hundreds more kittens born in Stevens County every year than we can possibly find homes for. If people would only spay and neuter their cats at an early age, we would not have such a large problem.

Contact the Colville Valley Animal Sanctuary (509) 684-1475 to adopt a dog or a cat. While it’s true that some animals were relinquished because they didn’t fit in with their previous family, they may be the perfect fit for yours. Some animals are waiting at the Sanctuary for a new home because their elderly owner passed away. Other dogs or cats were abandoned when their owners moved away, left tied in the backyard or dumped on a county road. Some were relinquished and some abandoned due to medical issues the owners didn’t understand, couldn’t afford, or didn’t have the stomach to deal with.


Sadly, the Sanctuary is the only safety net available for some of these animals. And with no funding sources except the kindness of those who send gifts of money, pet food, (and paper towels, Clorox, blankets, collars, leashes, laundry soap, kitty litter) and one of the most important gifts of all, their time! Volunteers are desperately needed, not only to clean litter boxes, but to work with the dogs, to transport animals to appointments, answer phones, do computer work, help with fund raising, the list never ends! If you are low income and need your cats fixed, call Stevens County Cat Care at (509) 935-MEOW (6369) to make reservations to have your cat spay/neutered.

9 13 2015 11000th cat1a

A group of volunteers (ve who give their time every month to spay/neuter cats at the Stevens County Cat Care Clinic for low income residents of Stevens County.

At any Stevens County Cat Care clinic, between 4 and 7 veterinarians give up one Sunday a month to work together in VFW’s or other community centers to help curb our county’s cat over population, fixing as many as 200 cats in one day. Generous donations from local animal lovers have made it possible for the group to be able to offer their services most reasonably at $14.00 for females and $8.00 for males. Each cat also receives a free 3-way vaccination, and ear mite treatment if needed. All females also automatically receive a free long acting pain shot to help with pain for approximately 2 days after surgery. Kittens can be spay/neutered as young as 2 months, or 2 pounds. Pregnant cats, as well as cats in heat, can be fixed at no extra cost.



In addition to the already low cost spay/neuters, the group is also currently offering a special rate for whole litters of kittens. Bring in the mom with her whole litter before finding them homes and the mother cat will be fixed for free and all the kittens done for half price! This would mean a mother cat with 4 kittens (2 males and 2 females) could all be fixed and vaccinated for a total of $22.00!


Since there are so many unwanted cats and kittens in Stevens County as a direct result of people not getting their animals spayed/neutered, our volunteers have to transport hundreds of cats each year to partner shelters on the westside in hopes that they will have better luck finding homes in the more populous region of the state.

Stevens County Cat Care has spay/neutered over 11,500 cats in the last ten years with their one Sunday a month mobile clinics. Because of the popularity of the program, clinics are currently usually full a month or two in advance. Kitten season is coming soon. To prevent a litter at your house, call now to reserve space at an upcoming clinic near you or to get your name on the waiting list. Because everyone in the organization is a volunteer except for the veterinarians and the veterinary technicians, please don’t worry if your phone call is not returned right away. Just leave your name and number on the message line at (509) 935-MEOW (6369) and someone will return your call.

Written by: Linda Spurlin

Volunteer for Stevens County Cat Care and the Colville Valley Animal Sanctuary

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Purrcy’s Sunday Scoop – Bears, Panthers, and Awesome Volunteers

Good Morning! Purrcy Here ….. time for another Purrcy’s Sunday Scoop…

We had a lot of excitement last Wednesday…we had BEAR visitors, yes that is correct, two bears came to eat the apples off the tree and unfortunately they did do a little bending of our new fence. It was decided to move that portion of the fence below the apple trees to help keep it from being damaged by the those pesky apple eaters. Actually the bears were very entertaining and showed great manners…their mother taught them well, and I would notice such things.

11986370_867941559955815_2076564110643771154_n11949140_867941639955807_8083247441409543509_nWe were actually very surprised that the dogs did not start barking like crazy…Not a single “ARFF” could be heard. When they saw the bears they were as quiet as church mice…as if they were trying to be invisible!!! Yes, I could tell that it was going to be up to me (as usual) to take care of the situation and get the bears to move on….when a dangerous situation arises…don’t worry…PURRCY can handle it.

11987018_867942036622434_8935163688826205717_nAs I slowly stalked out the door and through the grass with my eyes aglow…I huffed and I puffed until I was huge like a panther .. my meaning was clear…”Move On Bears, I am in charge” and guess what? THEY DID!!!!

11986352_867942579955713_8724847726133792177_n11951162_867942653289039_2469605396218706315_nWell, after that exhausting bit of work was done, it was time to go back and have a relaxing cup of coffee, kitty-style… with lots of milk….

11988740_867943149955656_5343041825064132558_nI believe I introduced you to Scarlet a few Sundays ago.. .She is in training to hold the fort down just in case I am needed elsewhere or am on vacation. She has mastered lying on the table next to the food… and sleeping… and she has mastered checking the canned kitty food..

1908033_867943323288972_5386819446377150204_n…but what I really need her to do is the “Buddha Pose“. Here I am demonstrating but she just does not seem to get it. Oh well we will keep working on it.

11951978_867943496622288_3987013847443895175_nActually Scarlet has been at the shelter for a couple of years now because she is really really CRANKY. We thought she might be happier if she spent more time with me and my naturally bubbly and outgoing personality.

11947672_867943626622275_1498297201908600576_nI’ve got to admit we have the most wonderful volunteers here at the shelter and whenever I can, I will be taking pictures and introducing them to you. This lovely lady is Teresa…I know we caught her eating but she needed to re-fuel, she works so hard…she comes in 2 days a week and works with us kitties making sure we have plenty of food and that our rooms and cages are clean and comfy with fluffy blankets and also TOYS and CATNIP! Thank you Teresa we sure appreciate all you do! CVAS Volunteers are the best

11935018_867943859955585_7273915189790433214_nOne more update on little Taz… The day is quickly approaching when he will be neutered and then off to his new potential forever home. He has the most outgoing personality and energy galore… I get tired just listening to him play non-stop in his kennel.

11951229_867943953288909_8534885178751857348_nWell I need to catch up on my sleep in case our BEARS come back and I am needed to send them packing back up the hill.

Purrcy Over and Out until next Sunday….Ya’ll stay safe now…..and love on your fur babies at home.

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Purrcy’s Sunday Scoop – Fires and Shelter Evacuation!

11836890_857468134336491_3711327624075861649_nPurrcy Here ….. on this very SMOKEY Sunday Morning……. I am broadcasting from the shelter and let me tell you… what a night we had Friday night and into the early hours of Saturday morning.

We heard about the fire in Addy, never thinking it would get this far…. Then about 10:00 PM Friday night, we saw flames way up on the ridge on the other side of Hwy 395. We knew it must be about 4 to 5 miles away but we did not know how fast it was travelling.

I instantly took up my position on my red blanket in Becca’s chair and took charge! I had to make an executive decision to call in as much help as I could. Nancy, Linda S. and husband Rick, Becca, Pat and Katie & son John, all came to evacuate.


All of our cats (except me and a few others who would not handle the stress of the evacuation well) are in these two vehicles along with food and other necessities and were taken to a pre-arranged building in Chewelah.

This is something that we have never had to do before and even though we THOUGHT we had a great evacuation plan, never did we realize how long it would take us to crate 100 + cats and dogs. Among many other things, we learned that we need more help in a situation like this.


Linda and Nancy loading dogs into Pat’s horse trailer.

The cats were taken to a pre-arranged building in Chewelah and the dogs (in crates) were loaded into Pat’s horse trailer to spend what was remaining of early Saturday morning in the safety of her yard. Our momma cat and her 4 one-day old newborns made it through the evacuation and are now in a wonderful foster home with Heather.

11890926_857468584336446_343163027572378173_nOn Saturday morning, after posting on Facebook about our need for a large building to house our dogs, a barn was instantly offered (actually several were instantly offered!).

We cannot thank all who responded enough, within about 5 minutes of our posting asking for help, the post had been “Shared” nearly 75 times and Pat’s phone was ringing off the hook with offers to help! I want you all to know that we are keeping all of your contact numbers, we promise not to call you in the middle of the night…not unless it is an extreme emergency. We hope you don’t mind but we have learned that no matter how well planned out, unexpected things are bound to happen!

This was a very frightening experience, but one that taught us ALOT about how to improve our Evacuation Plan. We may not always have as much time to evacuate as we did this time, thankfully the fire kept changing direction. It took us about 4 hours to get the animals crated and evacuated. We are not completely out of the woods as the Addy fire is not contained.

We feel so sorry for all those in our community who have lost homes, livestock and belongings to these awful fires, hopefully we will NEVER have another summer season like this again.


Kane, one of our puppies, had to come in and say goodbye to me before leaving for his forever home. I know it LOOKS like I am about to smack him on the nose, but I am here to tell you it was NOT a smack…it was a love tap…just a little Goodbye…honest! =^..^=

On a happier note, we said goodbye to Kane…one of our pesky little puppies who was recently adopted and was leaving for his new forever home. He just HAD to come in and say goodbye to me (I don’t know why all these dogs seem to like me and always want to give me big slobbery kisses!). I really do not have time for all the Goodbye mushy stuff, I did wave him a little Goodbye….he is pretty cute for a dog!

I’m sorry this is a bit short…honestly we are all a little traumatized. Next week I will have some pictures of what some wonderful Boy Scouts did for the sanctuary…stay tuned!

Purrcy Over and Out…..Oh I forgot to mention….I did NOT just hop into a crate to be evacuated with all the other animals….Nope, I stayed…. just like a Captain in a big ship…giving directions and making sure everyone was out safely….. just call me Captain Purrcy… =^..^=

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Purrcy’s Sunday Scoop – Many Goodbyes, New Arrivals, and Torti-tude

10640991_832131603536811_1271701836962398581_nYep…Sunday Morning and here I am, Purrcy… with this week’s edition of Purrcy’s Sunday Scoop…………

I have some very sad news to share this morning. I know that many of you remember little Alf…He came to us many months ago. When he arrived at the shelter it was obvious he had some serious health problems, Mega-colon to be exact…. We were told that this could possibly be corrected with surgery when Alf got older, but in the meantime it would take a lot of love, care and special nutrition to get him to that point.


Becca giving Alf daily sitz baths as part of his therapy.

He was doing really well on his special diet and medication, he felt better and was so playful all this time, as many a volunteer will attest to as they would have to wrangle with him during his kennel cleaning. He suddenly took a turn for the worse on July 29th and was taken to his veterinarian. Through her examination Dr. Kam explained about all the scar tissue that had built up in his colon making his condition very serious, and surgery may be the only resort, but in her heart she knew he would not survive the surgery.

A very hard decision had to be made by us, to let him pass peacefully without suffering, even though it broke our hearts and selfishly we did not want to let him go. On Friday 7/31 we said goodbye to little Alf.

The one thing I have learned since my rescue and my time living here at the sanctuary…there are so many wonderful rewarding times when adoptions take place, but the pain of losing one of our precious little lives is sometimes more than we think we can bare, but our wonderful volunteers keep on rescuing, while never forgetting those lost.

11825981_854004741349497_3054103790464683547_nR.I.P little Alf.

Last Thursday we were very fortunate to have 36 of our cats and kittens go on a transport to the Seattle Humane Society in Seattle. They are having a really big adoption event this weekend and opened their doors for our cats to join in the event. Last Wednesday Becca was busy getting carriers and paper work in order, I was examining all the carriers to make sure they were clean and put together properly.

11811347_854015188015119_808483647484877200_n11836634_854016548014983_194711191934561364_nCan’t you just see it now, without my help, 36 cats loose and jumping around while Susan is trying to navigate through traffic. My responsibilities are so varied and critically important, I just can’t express it, I keep telling Becca that this place would totally fall apart without my efforts…she just rolls her eyes and pats me on the head. Anyway, where was I…oh yes…Susan has loading her car down to a science, yes she will squeeze them all in…and because of my critical examination of the carriers (and the little goodies I smuggle into each one to keep the kitties entertained)…everyone will be cozy and safe.

11811411_854020014681303_5481705116693557872_nLook what came through our doors the other day, yes two little, itty-bitty kittens. They are now with Helen, one of our foster moms. Oh boy is she going to have a lot of sleepless nights as they need to be fed every 2 hours around the clock!

11866272_854029351347036_175337696409186952_nNo way is Becca ever going to get me to care for orphaned kittens…if I don’t have my 20 hours of beauty sleep every day, I’m a total mess. I have alot of respect for people who foster. They are all heroes!

One of our volunteers is moving, far, far away so she will not be able to continue to volunteer. I know she is going to miss us, I will miss her telling me how handsome I am. I will miss you…you know who you are!

11831794_854037321346239_7420291136074915624_nI am now babysitting Scarlett. She has been at the sanctuary for a very long time because she is so hard to get along with (it’s what we cats refer to as Torti-tude, she has it bad). She does like me though (naturally) so I am letting her follow me around. Becca thought I would be such a great influence on her, who knows… maybe I can sweeten her personality.

Scarlet (new)14By the way, I just have to add that Torties with extreme torti-tude are really not so bad, they are mostly just misunderstood. There are special people out there who totally “get” torties… who love them, can befriend them and live very happily with them. We know there is someone out there like that for Scarlett.

Time to get back to work, we never know what the next phone call is going to bring, but I will be here on the front lines to report it all to you!

Purrcy over and out until next time.

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