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‘Cat’s Meow’: Felines and dogs find loving homes

Brother Wolf’s Eva Cruz-Schultz holds kittens Carly and Bert, outside adoption kennels in Hendersonville’s PetCo by Wal-Mart. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

By Pete Zamplas- Cats are finding homes thanks to a rise this year in regular adoption programs and special events put on by groups and at two leading pet store chains.

Both PetCo and PetSmart host ongoing cat adoptions, in Henderson and Buncombe counties. They are among sites of monthly remote events for dogs as well.

Those showcases are put on in Hendersonville by such non-profit, no-kill animal groups as Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue and Blue Ridge Humane Society (BRHS). Charlie’s and Brother Wolf are also among those active with remote adoptions in their bases of Buncombe County.

Pet adoptions can initiate at events, or later at local rescue shelters. Some offer temporary foster homes, until a long-term home is found and to clear shelter space. The pet stores are perfect for finding animal lovers already versed in pet care. A prospective pet adopter can promptly buy basic supplies and treats for the adopted animal, in the store. In-store services include grooming and obedience and other pet training.

PetSmart (formerly PetsMart) opened a store (393-3206, x0) in Hendersonville, by Fresh Market and the city’s southern gateway around last Thanksgiving. Four compartments on the side, beyond fish, are dedicated to housing adoptable cats. Each opens into a litter/sleeping area.

An adoption is $75 per adult cat, $90 per kitten a half-year or younger, and $25 for a second cat to the same household. They go to “approved homes,” with contracts with PetSmart.

Kristy Williams, a manager there, said that on Saturday, July 1 BRHS showed a handful of cats in the store’s back with one readily adopted.

The Arden store (681-5343) in Southridge off Airport Road and PetSmart at 150 Bleachery Blvd. in Asheville (298-5670) are other possibilities for adoptable cats. PetSmart Charities ( hosts a National Adoption Weekend four times a year, next on Sept. 15-17. Its website links to BRHS adoptable dogs and cats. PetSmart’s next special event is Small Dog, Big Love Saturday, July 15. People can enter a drawing noon-1 p.m., for a $50 shopping spree.

Charlie’s Angels is often at that PetSmart on the first Saturday of a month. Brother Wolf typically goes there on second Saturdays, also noon-2 p.m on first Saturdays outside PetCo by Wal-Mart in Highlands Square Shopping Center in northern Hendersonville.

Mangers of that PetCo (692-2554, x3) have counted an impressive kitty tally of 521 cat adoptions, since opening over three years ago. PetCo also has ongoing cat adoptions, in a few compartments there and likely in its Asheville store (665-7977) at 825 Brevard Rd./N.C. 191 near I-26.

Cute, playful kittens interact more than adult cats with people, most agree, and thus are priced higher.

Dogs were the main attraction, when Charlie’s Angels was recently outside PetSmart in Hendersonville for four hours. Charlie’s adoption fee is $150 per dog, $85 per kitten a half-year or younger, or $50 per older cat.

Virginia Hudson is among leaders of Charlie’s volunteers, in remote events year-round. She said six dogs is typical, per outing. Human foot traffic, of course, is best in warmer months.

Judith Heartwell had Penny, her foster pet. Chris Whaley was testing the waters with Sammy the Lab-mix hound, such as his interaction with other dogs.

Charlie’s Angels operates its Safe Haven shelter daily in Fletcher, at 5526 Hendersonville Rd./U.S. 25 N. It opened there five years ago, in ’12. Charlie’s website is The phone is 885-3657 (DOGS).

The group started in 2008. By the end of its first full year, 2009, it rescued 80 percent of animals from Transylvania County’s high-kill-rate shelter. Charlie’s has saved over 1,200 animals. Evelyn Bridges was the founder.

Now, board president Kim Smith is a main leader. The chief goal is to save a homeless, abandoned or neglected pet and then to find it a “fur-ever” home.

Charlie’s adoption shows in the Aloft Hotel in Downtown Asheville found homes for 20 dogs this year, are a model for other cities, and made NBC and Fox news and also People magazine Feb. 23, Smith noted. Charlie’s coordinates with the Petfinder Foundation.

Like other animal adoption agencies, it screens prospective adopters and foster homes such as interaction with the owner and other pets. Hudson has gone on home visits, taking photos and observing. Adoptions are non-refundable after a satisfactory follow-up check, two weeks after placement.

Prospective owners’ requirements relate to medical, diet, fitness and comfort such as turning off “invisible” electric-shocking fences while the owner is at home.

Brother Wolf, which also screens adoption applicants, started 10 years ago in ’07. Its founder and board president is Denise Bitz.

Eva Cruz-Schultz has volunteered for the group since 2009. She is the contact (216-4731) for Henderson County prospective adopters or volunteers. She leads a handful of volunteers at several remote sites there.

They include PetSmart, PetCo, and Tractor Supply (698-7848) at 9:30-11:30 a.m. on a month’s last Saturday. Pet-friendly Sanctuary Brewing (595-9956) is the place, 7-9 p.m. on the first Wednesday. Yoga with Cats is there Saturdays at 10 a.m. Adoptions are in conjunction with Buddies Nights for people and pets, on a Friday 6-9 p.m. in Bold Rock Hard Cider (595-994) in Mills River.

On July 1, Brother Wolf was outside PetCo. As with other groups, they take precautions when outdoors in summer. They keep adoptable pets in carriers, shielded from heat and hydrated with water. Cats tend to get more stressed out than dogs, Cruz-Schultz noted.

“They love without exception, and give so much,” Cruz-Schultz said of pets. She added “we’re desperate for dog fosters,” who take a dog on temporarily. That clears room in the shelter, to save more dogs. She does foster care for seven kittens, beyond handling her two dogs and two cats.

Brother Wolf had a shelter in Hendersonville for nearly a year, from July 2016 until May 20 of this year, when the rental site was sold, Cruz-Schultz explained. She said Brother Wolf seeks another site in town. The group plans to build an area healing sanctuary.

Meantime, its busy Cambron Adoption Center (505-3440) is at 31 Glendale Ave., near Biltmore Village. It is open daily. Check for current adoptable pets, including pigs and rabbits.

Adoption fees include $100 for a puppy a half-year or younger, $135 per adult dog, $100 per kitten, $50 per adult cat, and $250 for a pig. Counselors match prospective owners with pets.

Jim Neugass donates 10 percent of proceeds to Brother Wolf, for photos he takes at $30 for the first dog, and $25 per additional one, for a 15-minute session at the owner’s home.

The adoption fee for Blue Ridge Human Society (685-7107; sheltered animals listed online by PetCo is $100 for dogs, or $75 for cats. Check PetSmart Charities’ site or this PetCo. one for adoptable dogs, cats, birds or reptiles:

Henderson County’s Animal Services Center is another adoption option, to help ease animal overpopulation.

Animal Haven of Asheville (299-1635; has operated for a decade and a half. Asheville Human Society/Animal Compassion Network ( is another Buncombe shelter.

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