Window-shopping is encouraged at Colony Cats Adoption Center.
The 1,500-square-foot space will hold about 50 cats at a time collected by the nonprofit Colony Cats (& dogs) organization. The storefront is at 2740 Fiesta Lane in the Fiesta Center, located on the southeast corner of the Sawmill Road and state Route 161 intersection.
Colony Cats began trapping, neutering and releasing feral cats in 2002. The new storefront is a few first for the organization.
"Our primary mission is to trap, neuter or spay and return strays," said Mona McKinniss, founder and executive director of the group.
Colony Cats spayed or neutered 1,500 cats and placed almost 600 cats in homes last year, McKinniss said.
Although the main mission is to fix feral cats, McKinniss said the rescue business was unavoidable. "We always come across litters or cats people have dumped who can't survive on their own," she said. "We end up doing some rescuing."
More than 200 cats have been kept at foster homes. McKinniss hopes the new storefront will give the cats a shot at a permanent home.
Colony Cats Adoption Center has five "living rooms" that will each host seven to 10 cats and give them free run of the area. The "living rooms" give the cats an area to rest and play, and provide potential owners a different experience from typical shelters.
"The neat thing about this is people will be able to go in and sit with (the cats) and see their personalities," McKinniss said. "I also hope it shows people you can have multiple cats. They do get along."
According to McKinniss, all cats have different personalities and pairing them with the right person is important.
"There is a cat for every personality. If you want a cat to sit on the couch with you, we can find it. Some of the foster homes have dogs, so we have cats who get along with dogs," she said. "People that say they hate cats haven't spent enough time with the right cat."
All cats at the adoption center are healthy, spayed or neutered, have shots and microchips that identify the owner if the cat ever runs away. Kittens carry a $75 adoption fee and cats are $65.
Adoption won't be as easy as pointing to a cat and taking it home, however. McKinniss said potential owners must fill out an application. "We want to make sure this a permanent match," McKinniss said.
Educational materials and experienced cat owners also will be available for first-time owners.
"One important message when it comes to cats is they didn't choose to be homeless," McKinniss said. "They all deserve a shot."
Colony Cats Adoption Center will hold its grand opening from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. The event will include music, a magician, games, cake and, of course, cats.
Colony Cats Adoption Center will be open from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
For more information on Colony Cats, call (614) 570-0471 or look online at colonycats.org.