Alley cats never had better allies

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Abby McIntyre of Galloway holds Henry while other cats lie nearby. Henry must be adopted with his sister Pippa. They’re described as “playing machines.”

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP – Twice each day Alley Cat Allies volunteers check on cats up for adoption at PetSmart.

“Then we have as many volunteers as we can get on weekends,” said Amanda Casazza, program manager for Atlantic City community programs and support. “We have 26 regular volunteers and three or four more who come infrequently whenever they can. We can use more.”

Alley Cat Allies shares an adoption center in PetSmart with the Humane Society of Atlantic County.

“It’s through PetSmart Charities,” Casazza said. “They don’t sell cats or dogs – only smaller pets. All PetSmart stores have adoption centers and make arrangements with groups in their areas.”

PetSmart donates the space and supplies. Purina Pro Plan donates food.

Alley Cat Allies has been at the Mays Landing PetSmart for about two years, according to Casazza.

Eight-year-old Abby McIntyre of Galloway was volunteering Saturday, Sept. 1 as she does most Saturdays, along with her mother Lori and her grandmother Judy Beckley.

“She’s the reason we’re here,” Lori McIntyre said. “When Abby was only 6, we’d come to PetSmart for our own pet. She’d want to visit the cats.”

Two years later, Abby said she still enjoys coming as much as always.

“The most important thing that I do is watch over them and see that they don’t hurt each other,” Abby said. “Mostly, I play with them.”

According to her mother, the job entails scooping litter boxes, cleaning cages and cleaning out the area.

“We make sure they have fresh food and water,” Lori McIntyre said. “We play with them – we give them lots of love and make sure they’re well socialized.”

And of course they expedite the adoption process, giving out information on the various cats and applications when people show interest.

The McIntyres have four pets at home. There’s Duffy Dog, a 9-year-old chocolate lab; and three cats – Georgie, 3, Pepper, 1, and Sugar Bear, 3 months.

Alley Cat Allies volunteers take home “rescues” for three months so that when they’re adopted they’re already familiar with home living.

“Sugar Bear was supposed to be a rescue,” Lori McIntyre said. “She never made it back.”

Her daughter laughed.

“We’re foster failures,” she said.

“I’d take them all home and play with them all day,” Abby said. “I’d take them to school. They could help me with my homework if they’re smart enough.”

Her grandmother assured her that cats are intelligent.

“They’re smart,” she said. “They’re too smart to sit and do homework.”

Lorraine Hamid of Galloway also volunteers on Saturdays.

“I love the cats,” Hamid said. “I love volunteering here. You get a chance to play with the kittens. They’re so loving.”

Her favorite, she said, was Francine Blue Eyes. The card on her cage notes that Francine “gets along with other cats.”

“She’s 4 years old,” Hamid said. “She’s really a good cat. She’s docile, playful and loving.”

Other cards indicated where cats are good with things such as people or dogs.

“If it doesn’t say, it doesn’t mean they’re not,” Hamid said. “They might not have been in a house where they’re exposed to dogs.”

Two kittens that must be adopted together were described as “playing machines.”

“All Alley Cat Allies cats are fostered and socialized,” Lori McIntyre said.  “They’re all great with people.”

According to program manager Casazza, Alley Cat Allies is looking for more volunteer help.

“We also run a program in Atlantic City – Boardwalk Cats,” she said. “And we need foster homes to send the cats to for socializing.”

Adoption Center hours at PetSmart are 6-9 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 1-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Saturdays; and noon-4 p.m. Sundays.

“We take donations,” said Casazza, who lives in Egg Harbor Township. “There’s a bin outside where people can leave blankets, towels, toys, food and litter. People donate many things.”

Donations of money can be made through the website,

“Typically we get our cats from Atlantic City,” Casazza said. “If people call, I’ll direct them to an appropriate shelter. We’re really not equipped to take in owner-surrenders.”

She said it’s hard to estimate how many cats pass through the center regularly.

“This February and March we couldn’t keep the cages full,” Casazza said. “We usually have a lot of adoptions when the kids get out of school. Right now it’s slow.”

An adoption event is scheduled at PetSmart Friday-Sunday, Sept. 14-16.

“We’re hoping to have volunteers just for the event,” Casazza said. “PetSmart promotes it. There are gifts for adopters. There will be dogs and rabbits up for adoption. We’ll move some cats to the cat supplies section of the store. And we’ll set up tables out front.”

Casazza can be reached at (609) 892-6235 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Lorraine Hamid of Galloway pets 4-year-old Francine Blue Eyes at PetSmart.

Abby McIntyre with her grandmother, Judy Beckley, both of Galloway, and 3-month-old Wenlock, one of four kittens from a litter.




















If You Go

PetSmart Charities National Adoption Weekend

PetSmart - Mays Landing

420 Consumer Square

6-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14

11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15

11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16

Call (609) 892-6235


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