An East Bay man who volunteers at the popular Cat Town cat cafe in downtown Oakland spent part of his Memorial Day weekend in a cat costume, circling Lake Merritt on foot for a full 24 hours in order to raise money for the adoption center/coffee and tea shop. Cat lover Jay Ruiz's efforts caught the attention of NBC Bay Area, and it was all part of the Michelson Found Animals Saving Pets Challenge 2017, which raised all $60,000 of its goal, benefitting Cat Town.
"Knowing that every step was possibly a chance to save a cat from a shelter: in the end, totally worth it," Ruiz tells NBC Bay Area.
On the crowd-funding page, where we see Ruiz raised over $2,000, Cat Town explains, "We are weeks away from opening a new cage-free adoption center for cats who need an engaging but quiet space to feel safe. It’s the first of its kind, and one more step toward saving every adoptable cat from our local shelter." This new, quieter space will apparently be attached to the existing Cat Town, effectively doubling its size.
Started as a foster-based program in 2011, the group opened Cat Town in 2014 and they say they have helped reduce the euthanasia rate for cats at the Oakland shelter from 42 percent to 14 percent since they began. Donations under this drive, they say will provide "medical care to sick and injured cats, provide lifesaving medication to cats with pre-existing conditions, and give all of Oakland’s adoptable cats a chance to get out of a cage and on with their lives."