In a phone conversation last week, the voice of Petaluma Peta Pals President Shannon Frieberg was periodically interrupted by tiny squeaks and meows.
As she bottle-fed her last adopted kittens before 8 a.m., Frieberg’s tone remained calm and her voice soft and soothing. You could call it a normal Monday morning for Frieberg, or as normal as a spring morning when relief organizations like his are inundated with abandoned kittens.
Founded in 1998, Petaluma Pet Pals rescues dogs, cats, puppies and kittens at high mortality shelters in the Bay Area and beyond. The volunteers then rehabilitate and welcome the animals, then find them loving homes.
In an effort to save even more animals, the association is preparing for one of the most important fundraisers in its 13-year history. The money raised will be used to open the Morti second-hand cat and book adoption lounge at Petaluma Village Premium Outlets, 220 Petaluma Blvd. NOT.
The new business will provide additional revenue stream for the nonprofit, which already operates Pet Pals Great Stuff Thrift Store in the mall, and sees Morti’s as a way to expand fundraising while providing a place comfortable and easy to access for local residents to meet and adopt cats and kittens.
It hasn’t always been easy for Pet Pals to find places to introduce adoptable pets to potential new families. Currently, a few of the cats in the group can be seen at the local PetSmart. The Great Stuff Thrift Store’s staff rest room, which opened in December 2017, is home to several other cats.
But that’s not enough, Frieberg realized.
âIt would be a more stable program if we could streamline the adoption process,â Frieberg said. âMy dream was a cat cafe, but it was too expensive. Tanya and I discussed it and she got the idea for the bookstore. We receive a lot of donated books.
Morti’s is in part a tribute to an indomitable kitten named Morticia. At the end of June, the little kitten, remembered to be a tiny piece of charcoal fur with blueberry-colored eyes, was dropped off at a local pet store in a plastic bag, was found in a local ranch. For over three months, Pet Pals cat adoption coordinator Tanya Reyes did all she could to keep Morti alive. But ultimately, the kitten’s tiny body could not endure the stress and medical setbacks inflicted on it.
Eight months later, Morti’s death is still difficult for Reyes to talk about.
âMorti gave me the will to fight harder, not to take no for an answer,â Reyes said. âThis is the reason I welcome – to save cats like her. She has done so much with so little in such a short time. She changed my life, made me better. His legacy, to me, is to try to save all the cats we can – to defend the cats. “
Reyes said she hopes the proposed bookstore will not only allow Pet Pals to adopt more pets, but also bring in money to help with the medical expenses of other animals like Morti. The Outlets management team were eager to help, but, Frieberg concluded, âIt’s going to take money to make money. “
The first estimate, Reyes said, was $ 27,000 to open the new bookstore and cat adoption center.
âBut one of our volunteer’s husbands will do the work for free if we can raise $ 15,000,â she said. “The money will mainly be used to build the rooms of the cats.”
Once the funds are in place, the work should only take a few months. Initially, the bookstore will be open from noon to 6 p.m. on weekends.
Reyes and Frieberg laughed when asked if any books could be donated.
âProbably in the fall,â Reyes said. âRight now we have a lot of books.
They will also need volunteers for the store staff.
And that idea of ââa cat cafe? Guests are welcome to bring their own coffee to sip as they cruise or stop to read – perhaps with a cat or two on their lap.