AWL reaches capacity with cats, urgently seeks support

Here are two of the cats available for adoption at Animal Welffare League in Warsaw. Times-Union photo by David Slone.
By David Slone

WARSAW — Over 400 animals are currently being taken care of by the Animal Welfare League of Kosciusko County and only about 70 of them are dogs.

The rest are cats, and with the shelter being at maximum capacity with felines, officials are stressing the need for cat food donations.

“That’s a desperate, desperate need,” said AWL Executive Director Tonya Blanchard on Thursday. “The community in the past has been super generous. We’ve put something out and within an hour or so they’re bringing stuff in, so the community is very generous and we can’t thank the community enough.”

A little kitten has to have two to three feedings a day. Each kitten gets 1/4th of a can at each feeding to provide for their needs. Currently, they’re going through about 60 cans a day for all of the kittens. Then there are the adult cats.

Blanchard said, “We have 179 cats right now in The Cat House. We’re always needing cat and kitten food. Over here, we have 30 (cats). I think we’ve taken in over 500 in the last three months. Let alone those (cats) having kittens, so we’re always needing cat food.”
She stated they are at capacity.

“We have an emergency room. It’s full, so I said don’t answer the phone anymore because I can’t say no. I can’t say no to small little kittens, it’s sad. So, yeah, our emergency room is now full as of today,” she said. “We just took 30 animals to (New) Hope (Pet Rescue), to put them into homes so 30 of them got fixed today, so hopefully we’ll have some adoptions out of that.”

The cats are breeding out there faster than the shelter can adopt them out and get them fixed, Blanchard said.

Kitten adoptions are $180, and adult cats are $95. That includes their spaying/neutering, current vaccines for their age, rabies shot and every single animal is microchipped, including cats.

“You can find free kittens on the street, but are you going to take them to the vet and get all of that? Are you going to have a healthy cat? You’re going to spend $200 just to have them fixed,” Blanchard estimated.

As for what cat food is needed, she said, “We will take any kind of wet kitten and cat food. So we like paté so we can mix it with milk formula so they’re getting replacement milk, vitamins and nutrients through that. All the kittens need to have wet food just to keep hydrated.”

In the AWL’s total care as of Thursday – including fosters – they have 441 animals, with 70 of those dogs. Blanchard said it’s the most they’ve had.

“So, we’re doing the Nursery Nanny, we’re getting them into homes before they can get fixed just to get more off the street so they’re not breeding. We’re doing everything we can. We need the public to start helping with getting them fixed,” she said.
The Animal Welfare League is a no-kill shelter and Blanchard said part of their problem is they just can’t say no.

“How on earth do you say no to this little (kitten)? We got a little one in today that only had one eye all “gooped” (and) closed. How do we say no? We added one more and it’s a daily thing. Some days it might be five, some days it might be 10, but we just can’t say no,” she said.

Donations can be dropped off during the shelter’s normal business hours (11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, closed Sundays and Mondays). They also have an Amazon wish list at so the donations can be directly delivered to the shelter.

Birthday Bash

AWL, 1048 S. CR 325E, Pierceton, is planning to have a “Birthday Bash” from noon to 4 p.m. on Aug. 5.

“We’re excited about that,” Blanchard said. “It’s just going to be a birthday party. It’s going to be a traditional birthday party for the shelter pets.”

There will be donkey rides, pictures with llamas, Lions Club ice cream and Faith Missions’ food truck will be on hand. There will be games and Blanchard is hoping to get their eight long-term dogs adopted. Some of those dogs have been at the shelter for 300-400 days.
Other events scheduled for the bash, according to the flyer, include a raffle, police dog demonstration, cornhole and more.

“Come enjoy the fun!” she said, adding that there will be face painting, Shriners clowns, balloons and cupcakes for the kids. “It’ll be a fun time.”

For more information, call 574-267-3008 or visit the website,