Feline Foster Family

Stacey LaPointe, Promotional Marketing Specialist at Advance Advertising Ltd., moved to Toledo from Long Island in 1996, but now she feels like she has lived here her whole life. LePointe effuses, “Toledo is such a fantastic and welcoming city.” After meeting her husband Ryan at Marshall University in West Virginia, LaPointe moved to Toledo, Ryan’s hometown thinking they were simply stopping by for a bit. Married in 2000, the couple have established their life and become part of the Toledo community. They now have two girls, Claire (14) and Katie (12) and three cats Charlotte (14), Rainy (7) and Clarabelle (1).

LaPointe’s Toledo area community includes friends met through Paws and Whiskers of Toledo. LaPointe recalls that a few years back her children wanted to volunteer at Paws & Whiskers. Explaining that her daughters love animals, especially cats. “We started visiting different shelters in the area and what we loved about Paws & Whiskers is how the cats were free range and a cat could ‘live there forever’ as my kids would say.” The fact that Paws and Whiskers is a no kill shelter confirmed for the LaPointes that it was where they wanted to put their time. 

Labor of Love/Learning to Let Go

What began as simply spending time and socializing with the cats in the shelter developed into a commitment to help clean their rooms, make cozy beds, doing laundry, feeding and grooming them. In the fall of 2019, the family decided to take home a little kitten named Jellybean that needed to be bottle fed as she had been separated too early from her mother. “We had her for about 2 months. Letting her go was one of the hardest, yet rewarding experiences,” LaPointe recalls. Knowing that Jellybean was going to an extraordinary couple made letting go a little easier. LaPointe shares, “I think we realized we had a calling, and that was loving on these babies.”

Thinking back to the beginning of the pandemic, the five cats that the LaPointe family took on— one mom and her four little kittens— were a light and joy that helped them through the challenges of the statewide quarantine. Over the last year, the family has had fifteen kittens/cats in their foster care, adopting a little black cat at the beginning of 2020. When she first came to their home the black cat “was emaciated and timid {but she is] now a lovebug and the size of a puma (or perhaps a baby puma).” With the same birthday and name as one of her daughters, LaPointe couldn’t ignore the signs that Clarabelle was meant to become a member of the family. 

A Compassionate Community Resource

Paws and Whiskers provides a level of care and compassion that stems from a genuine love and respect for the creatures in their care. Adoption fees range from $75-100 dollars, which is invested to support the work of the shelter. Cats that are up for adoption are healthy, have had their shots, have been spayed or neutered, microchipped and dewormed. The shelter spends an average of $225 on each cat in their care. As Paws and Whiskers is a not for profit shelter, it operates through the efforts and financing from area cat lovers.

“We have met so many wonderful people through the adoption process, some have become friends because of this bond we share.” LaPointe describes the ladies at Paws & Whiskers as “loving, knowledgeable & helpful.” The community accessed through the shelter is a source of deep connection and service to the LaPointe family and those they have come to know through foster care and adoption at Paws and Whiskers.