The cats rest comfortably on the red-and-black furniture in the new Cat Depot adoption center. Of the 150 cats in the 10,000-square-foot building, 90% are free-roaming, kept in “pods” or “suites,” which give them outdoor access. Ken Slavin, who, with his wife, Linda, was a main co-founder of the Cat Depot, jokes that some people might see the facility and hesitate to adopt its cats, because they think that the felines already live the good life. But the Cat Depot can only take in a small fraction of the cats it is asked to help.
“The need is greater than ever,” Ken Slavin said. “We have to (have people) adopt cats before we can take in more cats.”
The new Cat Depot adoption center, 2542 17th St., Sarasota, opened to the public Friday, Oct. 30. It is approximately four times the size of the previous facility on U.S. 301.
The Slavins didn’t expect to become involved with animal rescue when they took a feral cat they found near their Longboat Key home to the former Cat Woman shelter. Around that time, the city of Sarasota found 262 cats in the facility, many of which were sick or malnourished. The Slavins, along with other animal-lovers, agreed to help find homes for the cats, so they opened the Cat Depot in 2003.
But the calls kept coming. Approximately three years ago, the Slavins began looking for a larger building with better visibility. In 2007, they purchased the former Décor Direct building on 17th Street.
Since it was founded, the Cat Depot has helped more than 4,000 cats, approximately 2,000 of which have been adopted.
Linda Slavin says she feels good about the work that the no-kill shelter does with its staff of 10 and help from approximately 50 volunteers.
“They aren’t all in cages, and that’s what I feel good about,” Linda Slavin said.
The Cat Depot
Location: 2542 17th St., Sarasota
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Adoption fees: $60 for adult cats; $75 for kittens
Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected].