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For the love of cats

LAKE GEORGE Four hundred cats and kittens are living in relative comfort, well fed and cared for, by a local restaurant owner and his loyal staff and volunteers. The Purrs and Paws Kitten and Cat Shelter is a group of buildings behind Georges Restaurant in Lake George. Owner George Patrick started the shelter almost 20 years ago, after he discovered a kitten hiding in the rain. The vet said it had feline leukemia and should be euthanized, Patrick said. That cat lived with us for 13 years. Patrick said his mission is to save cats and kittens from being euthanized and finding good homes for them. In Warren County, when an animal control officer picks up a cat, or a dog, they keep it for five days, barely feeding it, and if no one wants it, they kill it. Patrick said that the county pays to have the animals euthanized, and thinks that the money would be better spent on a program for neutering the animals. Its a holocaust on animals, he said. It doesnt matter if a dog or cat has a pedigree, theyre all killed in five days. Patrick said that hed like to see the county offer vouchers for less expensive neutering of animals, which would dramatically reduce the number of strays. One female cat, in about five or six years, can produce seven million cats through several generations, he said. This country is euthanizing 100,000 animals a week when spaying and neutering are the answer. His oldest cat, named Ecky, has made an appearance on the Rachael Ray Show, and the producers told Patrick that they will be running the piece again soon. We received five years of food from Nine Lives, that was a big help, he said. Patrick pays for the facility himself, and gladly accepts donations of food, money, cat litter, baby blankets, toys, and many more items. They also welcome volunteers to help care for the animals, and the cats and kittens are available for adoption. To help spur donations, Patrick offers gift certificates of equal value to donors of $50 or more to his restaurant. If they donate $50, they get a $50 gift certificate; if they donate $1,000, they get a $1,000 gift certificate, he said. Over the last 19 years, weve saved in excess of 4,000 cats. His restaurant manager, Jeannie Polunci, runs the shelter, overseeing the cleaning, caring, feeding and medical needs of the 400 feline residents. We cleared South Street of feral cats, he said. We had help trapping them, we had them neutered and released them. You cant keep a wild cat, but once theyre neutered, theyll stop multiplying. He said that hundreds of people feed the feral cats in the Glens Falls area, but they still have a very difficult life. Adopting a cat from Purrs and Paws costs just $50, and includes all shots, worming, and a $25 gift certificate to Georges Restaurant. The cats at Purrs and Paws are all neutered when they are old enough.

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