- Associated Press - Sunday, July 26, 2015

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) - Animal Planet star Jackson Galaxy recently visited east Cobb’s newly constructed, cage-free cat shelter run by the Good Mews Animal Foundation.

The new shelter plans to open in August at 3805 Robinson Road near East Cobb Park in Marietta. The 5,600-square-foot facility cost over $1 million to build and was funded through private donations.

The foundation operated its former shelter at 736 Johnson Ferry Rd, which Galaxy named “Shelter of the Month” in November 2014. He has featured the shelter and its cats on his website and social media and donated $5 dollars from every pair of “purple paw slippers” he sold online to raise about $2,000. Galaxy and his foundation also recently donated 15,000 cans of cat food to the shelter, according to Nancy Riley, a member of Good Mews Animal Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Riley said Galaxy has commended Good Mews for its efforts to provide a safe and comfortable environment for homeless cats and was in town to speak at the Best Friends Animal Society’s annual conference last weekend.

“Jackson is a strong proponent for cage-free, no-kill cat shelters,” Riley said.

Galaxy stars in “My Cat from Hell,” a six-season show on Animal Planet where he helps owners and their cats work together to live mutually beneficial lifestyles. Galaxy has also recently started the Jackson Galaxy Foundation, which aims to “better the lives of sheltered animals by transforming the places they live and helping the people who care for them,” according to the foundation’s mission statement.

“I love that this shelter is thinking three years ahead,” Galaxy said. “Good Mews is making sure they can aid the community and provide services that give the cats love and has room to grow to build a better future.”

Galaxy said he is thrilled that the newly built shelter provides not only adoptions but facilities where owners can come for services and provide healthy resources for all cats.

“I definitely love the spay and neuter facilities,” he said.

The shelter plans to raise more funds to complete the building of the on-site spay and neuter facilities where volunteer veterinarians can perform the procedures, as well as vaccinations, micro-chipping and vet services, according to Riley.

Riley said all cats must be spayed or neutered if they are housed in the shelter. If the cats are not already neutered before coming to the shelter, then Good Mews will pay for the services through donation funds.

“Good Mews provides a safe haven until cats are adopted into permanent homes,” said Riley. “There is no time limit.”

Able to house up to 200 kittens and cats, Good Mews is prepared to increase their capacity as funding and volunteer services become available. The majority of the new shelter’s space is used as free roaming areas where cats and kittens can view the outside through several windows on every side of the structure.

The shelter also includes a kitten room, five special needs rooms, an isolation room, a transition room and a visitation room, where adopters can experience playing with cats.

“Our philosophy is cage-free,” said Riley.

The only time cats would be caged at the shelter is while they are transitioning into the shelter during a two week quarantine period or if they are sick and placed in the isolation room.

The isolation room has a window that the manager’s office looks directly into. The isolation room also has a separate air ventilation system to ensure the other cats in the shelter do not contract airborne germs.

The outside of the shelter plans to have a memorial garden in the back with bird feeders and brick pavers providing a walkway. The brick pavers can be donated in memory of a lost pet and are available to purchase on the Good Mews Foundation website.

The shelter is currently the only cat-specific shelter in Cobb, according to Riley. The shelter, which began construction in March, has two employees but uses more than 350 volunteers working in areas including adoption counseling, cleaning facilities, socializing with the cats, vet appointments and fundraising.

“This has been a long standing goal for Good Mews,” said Riley. “We needed to increase our physical capacity to help more animals.”

Good Mews adoption fee is $125 and includes all vaccinations, microchipping and spay/neuter services. If a second cat is adopted, the fee is $50.

More information on the adoption process and the Good Mews Foundation can be found online at goodmews.org. Information on Jackson Galaxy and the Jackson Galaxy Foundation can be found at jacksongalaxy.com.


Information from: Marietta Daily Journal, https://mdjonline.com/

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