One by One celebrates 20th anniversary helping kitties

Submitted photos One by One Cat Rescure shelter cats. In front is Betty Crocker.
Sailor Boy

One By One Cat Rescue, an organization dedicated to helping homeless cats find good homes, is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

“I feel it’s really exciting,” said Linda Rosencrans, One by One president. “And I just really want to spread the word because it’s a huge accomplishment to keep a group together and functioning and continue to grow.”

Known in the Kutztown and surrounding areas, she said, “We’re pretty well known in many areas, we try to attend as many public events as we can to make ourselves known and make our kitties known and we’re really excited about (the 20th anniversary).”

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To celebrate this achievement, the organization is hoping to find a new building in which to relocate to continue their work with the cats. The building they are currently stationed is on a farm in the Maxatawny area. As of now, they are working with the zoning officers to get the zoning passed for the new location.

A location change will be beneficial to both the cats and the volunteers, she said.

“There will be more room for the cats, facilities for the volunteers and a much nicer environment,” said Rosencrans. “Right now, it’s very tiny, people have to bring in water because there is no running water, so right there alone that will be huge to be able to give a nicer environment for the cats and the volunteers.”

According to Rosencrans, the shelter, which was first started in 1994, when a group of ladies came across a bunch of stray cats and decided to take them in and help them, first started in a converted chicken shed. However, as the number of cats coming in increased, they needed help taking care of all the animals they were rescuing, so they founded the organization.

Rosencrans explains the mission of the group.

“The main mission is to help homeless cats find good homes,” she said. “We don’t want to be a sanctuary, but we want to try and find good homes for adoptable cats.”

According to their website http://1by1catrescue.org/, “One By One is a no-kill Pennsylvania cat rescue located in the Berks & Lehigh counties area. We are dedicated to helping abandoned, stray, rescued and injured cats, by providing quality shelter and foster care through voluntary efforts, for their lifetime, if necessary. One By One will always place the cat’s health, happiness and well being above all else while working toward the ultimate goal of finding the best match for the cat and the adopting family through careful screening and discussion. We have provided wonderful pets to adopting families in the Reading area as well as Lehigh, Berks, Lancaster, Lebanon and Montgomery counties.”

“We do help out a lot of high kill shelters, we get many kitties in that respect,” said Rosencrans. “They come already fully vetted and they’re already ready to place, so that’s very helpful to us as well.”

While the organization focuses heavily on saving felines from high kill shelters, they also rescue many cats being dropped off by people who find the cats from a variety of different locations.

“There are so many homeless animals out there, especially cats,” she said. “So there’s still a huge need for cats being helped out and adopted and bring the mission of helping these cats and getting them out there to good homes,” said Rosencrans.

Another main priority of One by One is to get people to spay and neuter. The organization does not offer the service but passes the cats along to No Nonsense Neutering, which is a spay neuter clinic in Temple.

For minimal fee, she said, “People can get strays taken care of and that will hopefully put a big dent in the issue.”

But the organization can’t do it alone. Foster parents play a big role in the organization’s success. Because of this, the organization is able to rescue and shelter more cats.

“This is a lot of help because the more fosters we have, the more cats we can have room for,” said Rosencrans.

Funding from people also offers a helping hand for the organization to take care of the stray cats. According to Rosencrans, the organization is funded mainly by people, who are aware of their services, giving monthly donations through sponsorships. One by One does not receive any local, state or federal funding.

They also host fundraisers such as a wine and cheese party held every year that many people attend, a Pellman’s cake fundraiser, which Rosencrans explains is a good money-maker, and they also do a basket bingo every year.

Getting their name out to the public and making themselves known is vital, and has had a lasting impact on the organization during its years of growth, she said.

“One of the changes is we’ve really branched out a lot; we’ve grown so much,” said Rosencrans. “We see the need with our very small out-of-the-way locations, that we needed to be more up front and present the kitties in different ways and we got lucky and achieved a couple of the adoption agency centers at the PetSmart’s,” said Rosencrans.

There are three adoption locations, where the cats are sent to be showcased. There are two PetSmart stores located in Temple and Wyomissing and a Petco store located in Exeter Township.

“Seven days a week, they’re right there, in the front in the window and that’s been a huge improvement and it’s increased adoptions a lot,” said Rosencrans. “So we’ve become a lot more public in that respect.”

Currently, there are about 100 volunteers working with the organization, and it continues to grow. Volunteers often come and go, and the shelter is always looking for more people to help the cats.

“We’re pretty well known in many areas, and we attend as many public events as we can to make ourselves known and make the kitties known.”

Their love of cats is what inspires these people to volunteer their time to help rescue these animals. If anyone would like to volunteer at the One by One shelter, or are interested in adopting a cat, visit 1by1.petfinder.org or call the shelter at 484-839-2019.