Cat attorneys are protesting online and in person against a cat in the rafters of the West Valley Walmart in Yakima.
The manager of 6600 W. Nob Hill Blvd. Walmart said the store is trying to catch the cat so it can be adopted. Animal rights activists say the store is mishandling cat rescue.
Depending on which side tells the story, the situation began on either Monday October 18 or Thursday October 21 when the cat was discovered in the upper rafters of the Walmart loading dock area.
An employee at the store contacted Koda Stacy, owner of Koda’s Rescue Kittys, a Yakima organization that traps and neutered feral cats and then either releases them or makes them available for other groups for adoption.
“I was originally contacted last Monday, nine days ago, by an employee who told me there was a cat stuck in the rafters of the truck bed,” Stacy told the Yakima Herald-Republic on Wednesday. “It’s a dangerous area for a cat, so I offered my help.”
Koda’s Rescue Kittys has captured, neutered, and released between 300 and 400 cats in the Yakima area this year, Stacy said, and helped adopt approximately 500 cats, either through local agencies or by transporting the animals to the west side of the state .
Stacy said the shop clerks have turned down both her and other community organizations, including Underground Community Cat Rescue and Yakima Valley Pet Rescue groups, on liability grounds. Stacy said the store also turned down the help of the Yakima City Animal Control Department and instead hired a company to catch the cat.
Stacy posted on Facebook about the situation and was then joined by about 20 other cat attorneys in a protest on Nob Hill Boulevard on Saturday because the cat was still not rescued despite having been provided with food and water by the store staff. The animal stayed in the rafters as of Wednesday afternoon, Stacy said.
“It shouldn’t take nine days to get a cat out of the rafters – it just takes a ladder or an elevator and a pair of gloves. It should take about 30 minutes, ”she added. “I’m disgusted with the way you handled it.”
Store manager Fernanda Jones disagrees with most of Stacy’s reports. She believes that she and her staff reacted appropriately and that the situation has been “disproportionately inflated”.
Jones said she was made aware of the cat on Thursday, October 21, and contacted the city’s animal control department. The officer told Jones that the cat was hiding in a corner and would come out when it was done.
Jones contacted a company that recommended a Naches pet rescue organization to catch the animal. A live trap was set up with food and water. So far, the trap cat has been able to eat and drink without getting caught, Jones said.
“The cat won’t set off the trap,” Jones told the Herald Republic on Wednesday. “It eats, then it goes up again (up to the rafters).”
She declined to name the Naches group or individual who tried to save the cat “because the guy is getting threats and so much harassment about it”.
“It was inflated so disproportionately. People say we’re going to hurt the cat, we’re trying to kill the cat – none of that is true, ”Jones said. “We’re trying to capture it so it can be put up for adoption.”