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Learning How to Save 9 Lives at a Time

Published on June 24, 2014 by Tiffany Coleman

(BOISE) What started out as a simple project to save unwanted cats and kittens in Boise has turned in to a 10 staff member, 100 volunteer effort. Over the course of almost 30 years, Simply Cats has rescued and found homes for more than 5,000 felines. In an effort to help further the organization’s mission, students from the veterinary technology program at Broadview University recently took their classroom-learned skills and put them to good use at the cats-only facility. They quickly realize it takes a lot of work to save nine lives at a time.

As part of their applied learning project, students in the Intro to Vet Tech class scrubbed walls, dusted shelves and deep cleaned the kitties’ condos while giving out hundreds of pets in between.

Simply Cats, which got its start in the late 1980s as Just Strays Animal Foundation, Inc., started out with six cats. As Boise’s only cageless, no-kill feline adoption center, its mission is to care for, protect and find quality homes for cats. The nonprofit organization entirely relies on donations to fund its operations; including volunteer labor.

As part of their spring quarter applied learning project, students in the Intro to Veterinary Technology class spent an entire day volunteering their time to help with some of the facility’s projects. Along with their instructor, Jewel Garner, they scrubbed walls, dusted shelves and deep cleaned the kitties’ condos while giving out hundreds of pets in between. Along with it all, the students learned a lot more than the value of hands-on work.

“Hey look,” one student said. “This one is an Angora.”

“They are learning their cat breeds while they clean,” Garner said.

All cats stay at Simply Cats until they are adopted. Some have been there for years.

Room-by-room, the students continued to learn every step of the way. Today, Simply Cats Adoption Center shelters more than 100 cats and kittens. In 2007, generous donors helped fund a new, state-of-the-art building. The current facility houses 10 adoption rooms; which are cageless that allow cats indoor and outdoor access. Each adoption room generally houses 8-10 cats. As part of an enrichment program, some cats are even being taught to walk on a leash. All cats stay until they are adopted; some have been residents for years.

“I decided to bring the students here because it’s where I volunteered years ago,” Garner said. “It’s a really great place; I just love what they do.”

Lindsey Lee, the center’s volunteer program manager, agrees. Even she started out as a volunteer three years ago.

“I am one of 10 staff members who work here,” Lee said. “The goal is to reduce the cat overpopulation through spaying and neutering, and to promote responsible pet ownership. I simply love it.”

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