Construction of a new 4,000-square-foot facility for Lakewood cat sanctuary Purrfect Pals has begun and is expected to be finished by April this year.

The local cat shelter was founded in 1988 and can currently house more than 200 cats, however extra space has been needed.

"We've just reached a point where we've definitely outgrown the space, and to rescue more cats we're going to need more room," said Connie Gabelein, development director for Purrfect Pals.

The new building at Purrfect Pals will allow the shelter to house up to a hundred additional cats and provide more office space for staff and volunteers.

"We've reached a point where we're just falling out the doors with the number of people involved, but also the number of cats we're able to help," said interim executive director for the sanctuary Linda Benson.

Purrfect Pals focuses on trying to help every cat,said Gabelein.

"We were founded on the belief that every cat matters," she said.

"We're definitely trying to focus on special needs cats that other places can't take care of," she said.

That includes sick cats that have major medical needs like feline immunodeficiency virus or feline leukemia.

It also includes the "obnoxious" cats that need behavioral adjustments.

"A lot of the cats that come to us that are the toughest to adopt are not the ones with medical issues, but the ones that maybe don't understand the appeal of using a litter box," said Gabelein.

Benson said she hopes that the new facility will allow more behavioral training for cats.

"This new facility will allow us to continue to grow the mission, and also allow us to expand into what we're calling another dimension of support with behavioral assessment," she said.

"We're going to really start to work with them, because they can be good cats, they just need someone to understand what it is they need," she said.

Many of the organization's adoptions currently happen off-site, but Gabelein said that the new building will allow Purrfect Pals' main location to become more of an adoption center.

"It will allow us to highlight adoptable cats that aren't good candidates for those off-sites," she said, including those cats that are too shy or on specific medication.

The Purrfect Pals organization began looking at a potential new building about three years ago, said Gabelein.

"And we discovered quickly that getting permits is a long process," she said.

Their capital fundraising goal was $1.3 million and they have about $450,000 remaining to reach that goal, but decided to finance the rest.

"Construction prices were increasing so quickly that it made sense to finance," said Gabelein.

The building could be completed by March, depending on the weather, said Gabelein. If not March, then officials expect April, she said.

The organization also owns six acres in the Lakewood area for possible future expansions, said Gabelein.

Purrfect Pals provides a local place to adopt cats in need and provide assistance with food or medical bills to families in need with cats.

Gabelein said that they are always looking for volunteers to work with the cats or donations to continue their programs.

More information about the cat sanctuary is available at


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