Cats get new home at WAIF’s Cat Cottage

Ella enjoys her spacious cage at WAIF’s new cat adoption center, the Cat Cottage in Freeland. - Spencer Webster
Ella enjoys her spacious cage at WAIF’s new cat adoption center, the Cat Cottage in Freeland.
— image credit: Spencer Webster

FREELAND — Gracie, Griff and Missy have a new home, with more room to roam and plenty of their furry friends nearby.

Animal lovers at the Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation, however, hope the trio and their other feline friends will find an even better place to live: in the happy home of a new owner.

WAIF opened its new adoption center in Freeland last week.

Called “Cat Cottage,” it’s located at Petosa Corner in Freeland, in a small building that once was home to Olivia’s Gifts.

Volunteers brought cats from the Coupeville and Oak Harbor shelters and already, cats are finding new homes, said Shari Bibich, WAIF Animal Shelter manager.

“The importance of the Cat Cottage is two-fold. It helps us alleviate the population at the shelter. We don’t euthanize for space,” Bibich said.

“It is actually great that we get to take cats down there to Freeland to be adopted. We also have a lot of people from the South End who don’t like to drive up to Coupeville. This is a nice way to accommodate that.”

Moving cats to the Cat Cottage also gives the cats more room than in the smaller cages at the shelters, Bibich said.

“This is a nicer atmosphere for cats. It offers less stress and a nice spot for them to wait to go to a home,” she said.

This is not the first time WAIF has had a shelter in Freeland.

“Our first cat adoption center was in Freeland. We had cats there for several years. But the building owner needed our space for another store,” Bibich said. “We’ve been wanting to get back to the South End.”

The Cat Cottage has 10 larger cages for cats, give or take, she said.

There are a large number of cats needing homes because Island County’s animal control division does not pick cats up and WAIF is a minimum-kill shelter. It does not euthanize cats except for medical, health or severe aggression reasons, Bibich said.

Another reason Whidbey has a large cat population, she said, is because some people don’t take responsibility for their cat’s ability to reproduce.

“I think there is a lack of follow-through on spaying and neutering,” she said. “There are so many people who either can’t afford it or choose not to."

“One cat and a litter of kittens can produce 420,000 cats in seven years. So that is a huge number.”

For felines who come to WAIF, Cat Cottage might just be the cat’s pajamas.

“One of the best features of the Cat Cottage is its room for the cats to walk around,” she said. “I love the decor. We have a little room where we can take the cats and let them be free roaming and people can go in there and it is a nicer way to meet cats. The cats can show their personality.”

Like the talkative tabby Woody, or mellow fellow Abigail or the great explorer Griff, a curious cat who climbed up to a window to watch the outside world during a visit to the cottage last week.

Bibich stressed that people who want a cat should understand that WAIF adopts indoor cats, not outdoor cats. Cats are also spayed and neutered and receive all their shots.

“It is a great opportunity not only for your family but also for the cats, because when a cat is adopted here, they are spayed or neutered, they have all their shots,” she said. “You are saving money and receiving a cat that has received a lot of attention. We do care about them a lot.”

Bibich also hopes that potential cat owners will visit the adoption center and take a new friend home.

“The Cat Cottage is a wonderful spot to meet a potential new family member,” Bibich said. “The décor is sure to please our cat loving customers.”

For more information about Cat Cottage or WAIF’s other shelters, call Bibich at 360-679-1399.

Spencer Webster can be reached at 221-5300 or

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