REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KTVU) - Nine Lives, a Redwood City-based nonprofit that rescues cats that are homeless and from other shelters, is now in need of rescuing itself.
It will be closing in a few weeks and plans to reopen at a new, more affordable location by September. Veterinarian Monica Rudiger, the founder, says her nonprofit needs help as it makes the transition.
"She's healthy, but her legs are not functional and that's what Nine Lives does. We go around to shelters and pull the cats that have defects," says Dr. Rudiger. She also rescues cats that have illnesses and ones facing being euthanized at kill shelters up and down the state.
"You don't have to be healthy and perfect to find a home," says Rudiger.
She founded Nine Lives to save cats by finding them either foster or permanent homes.
"We're anywhere from 1,500 to 1,800 a year. And these cats would have been euthanized if they didn't come through the Nine Lives Foundation," says Rudiger.
"You're not going to find anything like this," says Carol Scola, a volunteer who says she first learned about the nonprofit nine years ago when she was looking to adopt two cats.
Nine Lives operates with a small staff and 100 volunteers.
"We spend hours here. We donate. We do what we can to make this place survive," says Scola.
Rudiger says the rent for the 5,000 square foot shelter nearly doubled and the cost of making necessary improvements is prohibitive. So she found a more affordable space just down the street.
The new shelter is much smaller, about 1,800 square feet, and will operate out of a former laundromat.
The new site needs renovations that will take months.
"We have an interim plan where we make sure our cats are taken care of and safe," says Rudiger.
That means volunteers are now working on getting about 60 cats placed into permanent or foster homes.
Rudiger says she will provide free medical care for the cats in temporary homes.
"You just have to give the cat food, water and a litter box and a safe place to live for the next couple of months. Maybe somebody will fall in love with their foster cat and have it be a forever cat," says Rudiger.
The spay and neuter clinic that was housed at the main shelter has already been moved to this new location off-site and will remain open during the transition.
Rudiger says her nonprofit is living up to its name.
"We've had our ups and downs and we've always come back and that's the spirit of the cat with the nine lives."
She says all the cats have to be out of the shelter by May 15 and hopefully into new homes so the building can be turned back over to its owners. The goal is to have the new shelter open by this fall.
Nine Lives gofundme