Rescue & Adoption, No-Kill Cat Shelter

Our Story

West Side Cats first opened its doors in 2008. We are a non-profit, no-kill rescue and adoption facility in Youngstown, Ohio, founded by individuals who didn't want to volunteer for kill shelters any longer. We take in injured and disabled kitties, kittens that are blind, missing limbs or have been born with Cerebellar Hypoplasia (a birth defect that affects balance), but we will also take in kitties living in dangerous circumstances. We outgrew our first location and moved to our current facility in 2010. With the exception of those being cared for in our clinic, all kitties await adoption in colorful, open rooms with plenty of beds and toys. Our shelter has several climbing trees, including a huge wood tree upstairs where there are also climbing walkways. Although we primarily serve Mahoning County and surrounding areas, people have come from other states to adopt our kitties. Every year we place between 300–900 cats and kittens up for adoption.

Please stop by and visit our kitties, or give us a call. We're open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 2PM–6PM. You can also visit some of our adoptable cats and kittens at both Petco and PetSmart in Boardman.

FAQ

# Adoption Process

Our adoption fee includes:

  • Spay/neuter
  • Testing for FeLV/FIV
  • Rabies vaccination
  • Both FVRCP vaccinations
  • Deworming
  • Flea treatment
  • Microchipping
  • Lifetime Return Guarantee

Our regular adoption fees are:

Kittens up to one year old $100

Cats over one year old and up to 8 years old $60

Cats over 8 years old and Special Needs kitties $50

$10 off when adopting two cats

Thanks for considering a shelter kitty.

No, just stop in! There are plenty of cats to visit.

You should plan on spending some time simply visiting with the cats to determine the right one for you. This is a lifelong commitment to another living creature, so take your time. Once you choose your new feline family member, you'll need to show identification and fill out a simple adoption application and contract.

If you rent your home or apartment, you’ll be expected to provide your landlord’s name and phone number so our adoption counselor can verify that you are permitted to have a cat in your home. If you know your landlord will not be available via phone, please bring a copy of your lease agreement that specifically states that pets are permitted.

After that the process is easy. Your application will be reviewed by one of our adoption counselors and you may be asked some follow-up questions. Please plan on being here for one to two hours.

Cat or Kitten currently in the shelter and already fixed: once approved, you can take them home right away!

Kittens at the shelter but not yet fixed: occasionally we will have kittens available for viewing who are waiting for their surgery dates. These kittens can be reserved but cannot go home until they've been fixed. You will be given a pick-up date when you reserve them.

# Cat Intake

Simply put, you can’t.

West Side Cats does not accept drop-offs because the drop-off issue promotes the thinking that cats are worthless and easily discarded. All of our cats are accepted by appointment only, and a minimum donation is required. To inquire about whether or not there is space available for new cats call (330) 792-4228.

Because we are a no-kill shelter we rarely have room for stray cats. Cats in a high-kill shelter who are in danger of being euthanized take priority over owner surrenders and strays. To find out if our shelter has room, please call us at (330) 792-4228. A donation to cover the cat’s medical costs and routine care is required for all new cats.

In general, we recommend that you try to find a home for the cat on your own. A shelter should always be the last resort, not the first option.

First take the cat to a veterinarian to have it tested for FeLV/FIV. If the cat has not yet been fixed, arrange to have this done prior to placing the cat. Neglecting to do so contributes to pet overpopulation and increases the number of cats that will eventually be euthanized.

Next take a great photo of your cat and post it on youngstown.craigslist.org, or place an ad in the Youngstown Vindicator by calling (330) 746-6565. Be sure to describe the color of the cat, whether its fur is long or short, the gender, all medical care it has received and its approximate age (the vet can tell you this). Always ask for a small adoption fee of $10-$20 or more to weed out undesirable homes for your cat.

While waiting for responses to your ad, make a few flyers to post on bulletin boards in grocery stores, in your veterinarian's office and local pet stores.

If planning to move it’s much better to find a place for you and your cat to live together than to find a shelter willing to take your suddenly unwanted cat. This is because there are simply more cats than there are available homes. It is worth the extra effort to find an apartment or landlord that will accept the cat. It’s only a matter of a couple extra phone calls. Your cat will thank you for it.

Those wishing to abandon their cats because of the convenience of moving without them are given one of the lowest intake priorities and are very rarely accepted.

Losing their home is very traumatic for a cat. Imagine living with your family for years then suddenly being forced to live in a strange place against your will. That’s what abandonment is like for a cat. Consider alternatives before doing this to a cat who loves you and your family.

There are many over-the-counter allergy medications that are very effective. Talk to your doctor if you need something stronger. Many doctors are quick to say that getting rid of the cat is the answer. Tell him/her that you love your cat and work together with your doctor to find a solution. Our volunteer, Kimm, is extremely allergic to cats, yet she founded an organization to help and care for them. In addition to spending countless hours every day with dozens of cats at the shelter, she owns several cats at home. Do your best to honor your cat and see if there is a way to control the allergy.

# Feral Cats

Feral cats are most often cats who have been born in the “wild” with little or no human contact. They are extremely scared of humans and will run away, scratch or bite if caught. Because we have children visiting the shelter where the cats are free-roaming in their rooms, we do not accept feral cats into the shelter.

Managment of a colony of cats can be achieved when a resident feeds and cares for these cats. Cat shelters for the winter months can be made out of dog houses, sheds or wooden boxes with access holes for the cats. In order for colony management to be successful, ALL cats in the colony must be fixed to prevent a population explosion. This is accomplished by trapping the cats and taking them to a veterinarian to be fixed.

You do not need to have any contact with the cat in order to trap it. Call (330) 549-1111 to rent a humane trap for $50 from Angels For Animals. One of their volunteers will show you how to bait and set it. Trap the cat and take it to a vet to be fixed.

West Side Cats does not have the facilities or space to maintain a public feral cat colony at this time. For this reason, feral cats are never accepted. The best solution is to keep the cats in their current colony. If you were to remove the existing cats from the area, new cats would take their place.

# Cat Issues

Pregnant cats can still be spayed right up until the moment of delivery very safely. This prevents unwanted litters from adding to the overpopulation and stops this problem from ever occurring again. Contact your veterinarian to schedule an appointment to have your cat spayed immediately.