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Corraling Cats

One hundred cats may soon be homeless as Mewtopia Cat Rescue loses its lease.

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Cats at Mewtopia - SHELBY BLACK
  • Shelby Black
  • Cats at Mewtopia

Leonardo Da Vinci once said, "Even the smallest feline is a masterpiece." But apparently not everyone shares that sentiment.

Mewtopia Cat Rescue is being evicted after 12 years in their home on Mt. Moriah, because the landlord is unhappy with the odor that comes from housing 100 cats in one space.

Mewtopia's landlord, Bobby Gookin of Gookin Properties, broke the news at the end of May through a letter to the rescue's treasurer stating that everything, cats included, must be out of the building by July 31st. The announcement came as a shock to volunteers and supporters, especially since three visits from the Shelby County Health Department have found nothing wrong with the space's smell or sanitation.

Gookin declined comment when contacted by the Flyer.

Mewtopia began searching for a new place as soon as they received the news, and they have found a new location with a guaranteed five-year lease. However, obstacles with the appraisal may not allow them to move into the new space by the July deadline. Ann Illsley, director of Mewtopia, asked her current landlord for a two-month extension, but the request was turned down. She said they have everything ready to move, but finding a temporary place has been difficult.

"We're ready to roll right along. It'd be a shame if we had to shut down because of the lack of a place," Illsley said.

Since the news broke of Mewtopia's situation, support from the public has been overwhelming. People have offered to foster cats for as long as needed until the new location has been finalized. Illsley said she appreciates the kindness of the public, but her dream is to find one place so they do not have to separate the cats.

"We've got all these little kitties looking at us, that are depending on us. That's our concern right now, finding a place for 100 cats because that's not an easy thing to do in a short period of time," Illsley said.

Once the appraisal is approved, the cats will be moved into the building immediately, and Mewtopia will open back up to the public a short time afterward. Until then, Illsley is pushing for more cats to be adopted and asking for donations from supporters.

Adoption fees have been lowered to from $100 per cat to $85 per cat in an attempt to get as many cats adopted as possible before the move.

"We could use 20 or 30 Mewtopias in this area, so please remember us and come support us," Illsey said.

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