Homeless Cats Finding Web Friends


The relationships start with a Web site posting. Personality counts as well as looks. The warmth builds via e-mail exchanges, followed finally by face-to-face bonding.

Yes, the Seal Beach animal shelter’s 2-year-old e-adoption system has really been moving those cats out the door and into loving homes. This year, feline adoptions are at 473, up by nearly 100 cats over last year, with December numbers still to come.

With an estimated 600,000 animals put to death each year in California, the city animal shelter, which has a no-kill policy, is working on solutions. About 1,000 cats and dogs have been taken into the shelter so far this year.


View the cats’ photos and the brief stories behind each, and soon you might think about providing a home for the homeless found at

The shelter also administers a Web site for dogs, but it’s the cats that have seen the dramatic increase in adoptions. A visit to the Seal Beach Animal Care Center’s Web page gives friends of felines personal, loving lines about cats looking to be adopted:

“Muffin is one sad cat. He is a senior (but not elderly). He is a very pretty silver tabby,” one description reads. “Muffin was taken to the vet to be euthanized as his family didn’t want him anymore. . . . The veterinarian kept him for 3 months in a cage then asked if we would take him.”

Seal Beach Councilman Shawn Boyd said the Web page innovation is helping both the city and the animals.

“If we were not able to take the 1/8stray 3/8 animals to the center, we would have to take them to the Orange County Shelter,” he said.

Volunteer Joelle Bailey is in charge of the cat site and the e-mail correspondence. She updates the site every two or three days, receives as many as 10 e-mails per day and e-mails or calls back prospective owners with advice.


“Every cat that is put on the site has been held or touched by me,” said Bailey, who took over the cat portion of the site about eight months ago.

She tries to get to know each cat so that she can highlight that something special, she said.

“I will not write anything I do not believe to be true or say something just to get a cat adopted,” Bailey said. “For every different cat personality there is a person seeking that special quality.”

The bonding comes when the prospective owners, many of whom arrive with a printout of the cat or cats found on the site, get to know the animal in the cat room. Bailey, who has been at the center for 4 1/2 years, insists on at least an hour of visiting.

The Internet has given greater reach to local shelters. The Seal Beach center, one of three Orange County shelters with detailed individual animal information on a Web site, has had adopters come from as far away as Crestline, Pasadena and Temecula.

After the cats have been adopted, Bailey posts the good news. By clicking on “Scrapbook,” browsers find another chapter of the adoption story.


“Buddy’s mom found him on the web site and it was love at first site. Buddy now resides in Pasadena.”