The felines, employees and volunteers of Stay-A-While Cat Shelter are days away from having a new place to call home.
Nearly one year after breaking ground on a new facility at 12662 York Delta Drive in the Industrial Parkway, construction is wrapping up and moving day is approaching for the 70-some kitties who call Stay-A-While home.
Stay-A-While Cat Shelter, which has been located on Akins Road since 1984, is a cage-free, no-kill shelter that provides a safe, loving environment for kittens and cats as they await adoption. If for any reason a feline is deemed unadoptable, it is guaranteed a forever home at Stay-A-While, said Director Beth Pearce. She began her journey with the shelter in 1995 as a volunteer.
Their longtime Akins Road home was quite literally designed as a residential house, not a cat shelter. Cats reside in designated sections of the house. It was about three years ago that Stay-A-While Cat Shelter decided that the time had come to seriously pursue the building of a new structure laid out to run more efficiently as a cat shelter and a fundraising campaign followed, according to an article published Aug. 4, 2020, in the Royalton Recorder following the shelter’s July 21 groundbreaking celebration.
To celebrate the completion of the new facility, Stay-A-While Cat Shelter will host an open house event for donors, partners and all those tied to the building campaign. A public open house will be forthcoming as well, Pearce said. Following the two open houses, the cats will be moved to the new structure. The move may be stressful for some felines and Stay-A-While will remain closed to the public until the cats are settled in and ready for visitors, Pearce said.
“Some cats will walk around no problem, while other cats will hide, and it will be traumatic for them. Some of our cats have spent most of their lives with us on Akins Road, but it helps immensely that the cats know our people, maybe they don’t know the new building, but they know the people here, so we have that going for us,” Pearce said of the upcoming move.
Those tied to the $1.5 million cause have been following the construction progress on Stay-A-While’s website, Various sponsor levels are still available, according to their website. The new facility has multiple rooms for cats, a quarantine space, space for offices and an employee/volunteer break room kitchen, among other features. Their old location on Akins Road will go up for sale.
“This new shelter was built specifically to be a cat shelter. It will have screened-in porches and be designed differently and laid out better to accommodate cats,” Pearce said.
The move will be emotional for Pearce and her dedicated team of staff and volunteers.
“It’s very bittersweet,” Pearce said. “Everyone is very excited for the new shelter, but it’s very bittersweet because we’re saying goodbye to everything we know. All of our memories are there, including the memories of the cats we lost there. It will take time to build new memories.”
In the near future, Stay-A-While Cat Shelter will be looking to add to its roster of regular volunteers. Volunteers are needed to serve as receptionists and aid with laundry and dishes. Learn more at

Contributing Writer