Amid cat videos, face painting and other activities meant to provide children a creative outlet from a long week at school, Project Purr Baton Rouge continued its long, difficult fight Friday to give every cat in the city a chance at life.
While laughable videos showing felines donning costumes or falling from countertops served as the attraction to the Cat Video Festival and Adoption Day on Friday held at the East Baton Rouge Parish Library Carver Branch, Project Purr BR was focused on the serious business of trying to find new homes for kittens and cats to keep them from being euthanized.
Project Purr BR’s executive director, Abby Santini, said all of the cats are rescues from the East Baton Rouge Parish animal shelter to help the shelter, which is operated by the Companion Animal Alliance, lower its euthanasia rates.
“They are sent to foster homes until we find them a loving family to go to,” Santini said.
Project Purr BR is a nonprofit organization founded in 2010 with a mission of rescuing cats in crowded shelters that often are euthanized rather than adopted.
Santini said there are alternatives even if some cats aren’t adopted, such as spaying or neutering then releasing them, which keeps populations down while saving a few feline lives.
While Project Purr BR is a young organization without a shelter of its own to house animals, it is making strides through the efforts of the only two full-time employees, Santini and Allyson Dunaway, Project Purr BR’s development director.
This year alone, the group has given more than 200 furry felines up for adoption. The critters keep piling in, so there’s never a shortage of cats to adopt.
Foster families often house one to three cats for Project Purr until Santini or Dunaway can find them a home. Dunaway houses nearly a dozen herself.
The pair set up adoption tables at Petco and PetSmart every weekend, just like the one they set up at the Carver library on Friday, and they are constantly having events to get the word out about their organization, Dunaway said.
“To have a (Project Purr) shelter would help tremendously,” Dunaway said.
She said the organization already has to leave some cats behind now at the Companion Animal Alliance shelter. If her group had its own shelter, she said, “we would be able to house more cats, and people could come to adopt on their own terms.”
The event Friday was planned by Brandon Reilly, branch manager at the Carver library, who adopted the concept from a similar one in New Orleans.
If the event’s few participants weren’t able to adopt a cat, they at least had an opportunity to see the felines at their most amusing and endearing.
A large screen featured seemingly endless video of the creatures purring, clawing and doing the kinds of things cats do that make them popular pet stars of the Internet.
“Events such as these attract people to the library, as well,” Reilly said. “And organizations like this are an added value to the community.”