Shelter's 'catio' addition opens with new namesake, new mascot

By Andrea Ray | Sep 10, 2017
Photo by: Andrea Ray M.C. enjoys life as the mascot kitten of "It's all About the Animals."

Rochester — No "kitten" around: It's All About the Animals has officially opened its "catio," with a new mascot to boot.

The "catio" addition off of Pam and Oren Robinson's house at 103 Marion Road was a long time in the making, after disputes with a contractor left work unfinished. But a tri-town man stepped in to finish the project, which will house the shelter's many rescue cats and kittens.

The "catio" is dedicated to Georgia Chamberlain, a longtime Rochester resident who passed away in 2013 at age 91. Chamberlain's daughter, Esther-Ann, donated funding for the project in Chamberlain's name.

The work was finished by contractor Matthew C. Sherman, who Pam Robinson praised for his work ethic and devotion to making the project right.

Sherman passed away unexpectedly in July, devastating the Robinsons.

"He did a wonderful job, and he really saved us," Pam Robinson said, with tears in her eyes. She was so happy with Sherman's work that she dedicated It's All About the Animals to him.

Sherman was laid to rest in early August. The very next day, a uniquely-marked kitten arrived at the shelter. The kitten had three heart markings, and from the moment he arrived, he reminded Pam Robinson of the contractor who had worked so hard to repair the damage done in the original addition construction.

Now, named M.C. in honor of Sherman, the kitten has the run of the shelter, and will never worry for a home.

"He's not leaving," Pam Robinson said. The kitten instead is acting as the mascot of It's All About the Animals, sleeping contentedly in patrons' arms and playing with toys. "I've never had demand for a kitten like I've had demand for him," Pam Robinson laughed.

The "catio" that Sherman constructed is painted a sunny yellow. One wall is stacked with cat beds, and several climbing and scratching posts sit to one side.

The Robinsons are still planning a few finishing touches. One small room to the side, where the original shelter was, will be lined with metal cages to hold infant kittens, too young to be loose. Older kittens and cats have free run of the area.

"It's so much better for them than being in cages," Robinson said of the setup. "They're much happier and healthier."

Robinson said she'd seen a lot of interest in her most recent available kittens. She currently has 22 cats at the shelter, out of a maximum of 50. Adoption is a stringent process; Robinson does not do same-day adoptions, instead taking information on potential adopters and investigating them.

The hard work pays off. Robinson said her return rate is about half a percent, a low number for a shelter.

"I only want the cats to go where I know that they'll be safe and happy," she said.

For more information about the shelter, visit www.itsallabouttheanimals.org.

M.C. keeps an eye on Oren Robinson. (Photo by: Andrea Ray)
Inspecting donations to the shelter. (Photo by: Andrea Ray)
The new addition, built by Matthew Sherman. (Photo by: Andrea Ray)
"This looks like a comfy seat." (Photo by: Andrea Ray)
M.C. displays one of his three heart markings. (Photo by: Andrea Ray)
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