cat house

These cat houses are similar to those that will be built during an event being held at Cahoots Cafe on Saturday, Dec. 14. The completed houses will be made available for use to protect stray cats from the cold this winter.

ANGOLA — When the weather gets bitter, it can be tough on pets in the Steuben County community.

The folks at Mike Thomas Associates are trying to help out at the start of this holiday and cold weather season.

“When the weather outside turns frightful, the Community Humane Shelter of Steuben County opens their doors to hundreds of lost pets that find the way there annually. But not all animals are so lucky. In neighborhoods everywhere, strays abound, struggling to survive in cold winter temps,” said Judy Rowe, an associate at the Steuben County office of Mike Thomas Associates.

Through two events under the umbrella of “Mike Thomas Associates Homes for the Holiday,” stray cats and those at the shelter are going to get a helping hand. First will be a build of cat houses for strays on Dec. 14. Second will bring it all together in a big celebration at the Humane Shelter on Dec. 19.

First up will be a community build of cat houses using a design provided by Hope for Animals, an animal welfare group based in Fort Wayne. On Saturday, Dec. 14, from 9 a.m. to noon, Mike Thomas folks will lead a cat house build at Cahoots Cafe, 218 W. Maumee St.

“We’re looking for volunteers and we’re looking for donations,” Rowe said.

The simple structures are built from 18-gallon plastic totes lined with 1-inch foam board insulation with straw as bedding. People are asked to come and help build the houses. People are welcome to provide the necessary materials.

These houses eventually will be placed out in the community in areas with known stray cats. The cat houses will also be brought to the holiday event at the Humane Shelter of Steuben County.

On Thursday, Dec. 19, there will be an open house to benefit the Community Humane Shelter, located at 780 Shelter Lane Angola, from 5-7 p.m.

The event will feature Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will chat with children and pose for photos made available for online purchase by local photographer Bill Eyster. Visitors will be able to tour the Shelter and see the many animals available for adoption. Cash donations for the Shelter will be accepted, as will pet food, clay cat litter, toys, leashes, collars and office supplies.

“For those pets that don’t make it to the Shelter, there will be a limited number of insulated cat houses for free distribution to residents who want to provide shelter to the strays (community cats) in their neighborhoods,” Rowe said. “A waterproof, insulated shelter frequently makes the difference between survival and death by exposure for animals on their own.”

In addition to volunteers at the build, sponsoring groups are also welcome. For more information, Rowe can be contacted at or 668-0256.

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