Gunner, the shelter’s king, at Salem Friends of Felines' new Keizer home (Lyndon Zaitz/Keizertimes)

Gunner, a black and white male cat, is roaming new territory.

Gunner is the king of the Salem Friends of Felines (SFoF) shelter, and he has a new address in Keizer. He is the only cat allowed out of a cage and allowed to roam freely, but he’s characteristically aloof about his status. Gunner will abide a friendly petting without fuss and mentors kittens after they arrive for adoption. 

For humans wanting to add a four-legged friend to their home, that task is now easier with the relocation of SFoF to its new Cherry Avenue site.

After more than 10 years at its Commercial Street storefront and shelter location, management and volunteers moved cats in recent weeks. Even though new space is equal in size to its former home, it allows for more rooms for visitation and quarantining when necessary. Their new address is in Keizer, but the name will not change.

Salem Friends of Felines is a no-kill shelter and there is no time limit for how long a cat can stay.

“We do adopt kittens very quickly,” said board president Karla Canida, “But we do struggle at times to find forever homes for our older cats.” The move to a new site will make the cats more comfortable while awaiting adoption.

According to shelter manager Teri Long, the non-profit is adopting more older cats than in recent times. Salem Friends of Felines saw a big increase in adoption beginning last April, just as the state was closing down due to COVID-19. The pandemic also changed the way the shelter operates. They now make appointments for adoptions which helps keep the staff safe and following all COVID procedures easier.

More rooms at the Cherry Avenue location provides the shelter with designated sick and quarantine spaces; all cats brought into the shelter are quarantined for a few days to assure there are no health issues before they are placed with other cats.

The mission of Salem Friends of Feline remains the same: focusing on placing cats in forever homes and helping reduce cat overpopulation with a low-cost spay and neuter voucher program.

The organization has two management personnel and a number of volunteers, some of who oversee the Thrift Store which is next door to the shelter. Long said that volunteers for the shelter and the Thrift Store are always needed as are volunteers to foster kittens.

The shelter is open by appointment only from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Call 503-362-5611 for an appointment. The Thrift Store is scheduled to be open for business by the middle of March, if not sooner.

Salem Friends of Felines is located at 4157 Cherry Avenue N. The Thrift Store is located at 4155 Cherry Ave. N.

This article is published with permission from Keizertimes.

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