Weed animal sanctuary shutting its doors, cats need homes

Skye Kinkade, GateHouse Media California
Weed's Gabby Yoakum and her family, who together run Shasta Sanctuary, are moving and need to place eight cats in new homes by the end of the month.

After eight years saving cats and dogs, Weed’s Gabby Yoakum is closing her small nonprofit animal sanctuary and moving to the east coast.

Shasta Sanctuary still had eight cats that need homes before Sept. 30, Gabby said. She was happy to place one last dog with a new owner about two weeks ago.

Shasta Sanctuary has rescued more than 100 animals over the years. Gabby, along with her daughter, Taylor, specializes in rehabilitating dogs such as pit bulls that would otherwise be euthanized, as well as cats that need intensive medical attention. They are adept at working with special needs animals and giving them whatever it takes to become normal, healthy pets.

The Yoakums lost their home in the Boles Fire in 2014, along with 21 cats and two dogs. While they rebuilt, the family moved in with Gabby’s mother, but that didn’t stop them from taking in animals.

Rescue is a way of life for Gabby, and it was a difficult decision to leave Weed for New Hampshire, where her husband, Jason, got a promotion from Crystal Geyser, where he’s worked for 16 years.

The hardest part has been ensuring that every animal at Shasta Sanctuary finds a good home before they can put their home on the market and move.

“People ask me what I’ll do if I can’t find homes for these cats before I have to leave,” Gabby said, fighting back tears.

Gabby said, fighting back tears. “I honestly don’t have an answer for that. I do know that I would sleep in my car before I put a dog or a cat down. I just couldn’t do that. I made a promise to them and I feel like I’m reneging on that promise by leaving, so I need to find them homes.”

The cats that are left are more shy and therefore don’t get as much attention as the younger and adventurous kittens that have already been adopted.

Gabby and her family are taking six dogs and eight cats with them to New Hampshire. She pointed out that they didn’t choose their personal favorites to take with them – instead, they decided to take the senior and disabled animals who would have a harder time being adopted.

Although they do not plan on beginning a new rescue once they’re settled, they will probably end up helping animals there, too, Gabby said, although it’s a tough calling that is strenuous both emotionally and financially.

The following are the eight cats that must be adopted before the end of the month:

• Tabby is a year old female gray tabby who is people and dog friendly but can be a little pushy with other cats. Indoor only.

• Hazel is an all black female with a shorter, kinky tail who could live indoors or outdoors. She is people and dog friendly but can be a little pushy with other cats.

• Sampson is a 1 year old dark grey tabby cat. He came to Shasta Sanctuary as a feral but has “calmed down” to be a great pet. He can be shy at first but quickly warms up once he trusts you, Gabby said. He loves people, dogs and cats and could live indoors or outdoors.

• Big Orange is a female orange tabby, which is unusual because only 20 percent of orange cats are female, Gabby explained. Big Orange is 3 years old and tends to keep to herself. She is laid back, easy going and loves people, cats and dogs. Indoor only.

• B.B. is a special needs dark brown/light brown Siamese female who has intermittent seizures due to being overdosed on anesthesia during her spay, said Gabby. Her seizures only happen once every few months. She is a “weird cat” who is “fine some days with being touched and other days not so much.” She must be indoor only with no dogs. She will need a patient owner and someone who doesn’t want a cat to be a snuggle buddy.

• Barney is a one year old semi-feral Siamese who is wary of strangers. He can be pet by his people but runs from strangers. Because of his coloring he needs to be indoor only. “With time we have no doubt he can be a great cat for someone who doesn’t necessarily want a super snuggle buddy,” Gabby said.

• Bugz is a one year old orange tabby with some back leg issues that make it impossible for him to jump up on anything, so he needs to be an indoor cat. Bugz requires no meds or surgery, this is just how he was born, said Gabby. He loves people, cats and dogs.

• Fro is a 16 week old black and white female kitten who Gabby describes as “perfect. She is super friendly and used to dogs.”

The adoption fee for each cat is $30 and that includes spay/neuter, vaccinations including rabies and deworming.

Gabby is willing to transport cats to an approved home for no charge. They recently got back from the Bay Area dropping off a cat, so they will go to great distances to find homes for their animals, she said.

To take a look at any of the cats described, search for Shasta Sanctuary on Facebook or call (530) 925-5563 to set up an appointment to come by the Sanctuary at 1068 North Davis Avenue in Weed.