Cat Shelter Finds New Home After Fire

By Jill Kasparie

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A fire in Anamosa last fall destroyed a cat shelter, but now things are looking up. The fire in October burned the Cat Adoption Center at 118 South Elm Street in Anamosa. All of the cats survived, but some were missing for several days. Since then, things have been up in the air for the adoption organization called SAINT rescue. Now, the situation is changing. Volunteers just started to move in to a building at 1200 16th Avenue Southwest in Cedar Rapids. After a rough go of it, they're already making it home "This is Precious, she was one of the fire cats from Anamosa," said SAINT Rescue's Nicki Brodersen. Brodersen is president of SAINT rescue, which lost its shelter in the fire. She's thankful for a building that's three times the size of the last one. "The exterior walls -- this was already here, we put in the little partitions, basically, just to separate the rooms," Brodersen said. "I love it. It's just going to be great for the cats," said SAINT Rescue Volunteer Judy Patterson. It's hard to find volunteers here without a smile, but thoughts of the past still burn in their minds. "It was the worst feeling ever. I mean, I didn't sleep for two weeks looking for the cats," Brodersen said. "We were walking the neighborhood trying to find them and setting traps," Patterson said. "You just feel sick because you worried about where are the kitties," said Animal Resource Foundation's Sandy Miller. Miller is the president of a different organization called Animal Resource Foundation. It provides donated pet food to animal shelters in the area. She's sharing the building with SAINT rescue. "Everything just kind of came together," Miller said. "When she lost her space in Anamosa we started talking about, well, let's use this as an opportunity to turn something bad into something good," Miller added. So, soon the storage area will be filled with pet food and soon 38 cats will roam the shelter. Organizers said it's exactly the happy ending they were hoping for. "I couldn't be happier," Brodersen said. The shelter still has seven cats that they call "survivors" from the fire. The two organizations are holding an open house on March 29 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.
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