Clear the Shelters: Project Paw


Now, on to our series, Clear the Shelters.

Yesterday we showed you a local shelter that takes in stray dogs.

Tonight, NewsChannel 34’s Mike Tanzini stops by Project Paw in Binghamton, where they care for cats.

While her opinion may be a little biased, volunteer Debbie Pickett knows that the cats at Project Paw located on Bevier Street in Binghamton are well cared for.

It’s been serving our community for over 40 years and started out by taking in dogs and cats.

They didn’t have enough room for the dogs so they dedicated the space solely to saving cats, like a litter of kittens who were evicted by a local landlord.

Many of the animals have a lot of untold stories, including these 8-month-old kittens who were abandoned then found by volunteers along with their mother. 

Now, they’re looking for their own forever home.

Pickett says many of the cats at Project Paw have had a rough upbringing, but volunteers concentrate on the positives.

“We don’t focus on the ugly and unfortunate things that we see. We prefer to get them out of our minds. We’ve seen from sad things,” she said.

Project Paw has over 200 cats at their shelter that are waiting to be loved and adopted.

People can stop down and pick out a cat, but Pickett says the adoption process takes a few days to ensure the cat is going to a suitable home.

“It’s a good way of doing it because it’s not a rash decision, that you automatically leave after 10 minutes with an animal they haven’t spent time with. We want to make sure people talk it over with their family,” said Pickett.

While the cats wait for the perfect family, they are looked after and cared for by a number of committed volunteers.

Pickett adopted her first cat from Project Paw in 1996 and has been volunteering ever since.

Although they do form a bond, the staff says they love seeing the animals move on.

“We love all of our cats here like we love our own pets at home. It’s very rewarding, especially if they’ve come in and have been in difficult circumstances,” said Pickett.

Working at the shelter can expose the caregivers to heartbreaking stories detailing what brought them to the shelter.

Volunteer Leanne Avery says working at Project Paw has brought her so much closer to the animals.

“Many of them bring stories and many of them teach us lessons. We work with them, but they work with us. We’re delighted when people open their hearts to take cats home. Sometimes, we’re frustrated with the stories that we here, but we’re happy that the cat made it here and we were able to make a difference,” said Avery.

The shelter has a no-kill policy, allowing a cat to stay at Project Paw as long as it needs.

While a shelter is better than being left out in the cold, the warmest place for these kittens would be a forever home.

Many people donate their time at Project Paw, including Binghamton University students who volunteer every weekend.

Tomorrow Mike heads to SPEAK, a place where injured stray animals are treated and put up for adoption.

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