PARKTON — Rob and Katherine Gable say that there only two things that should keep anyone from adopting a stray animal — disease or danger.
The Gables run Thundering Paws Pet Adoption Center Inc., and have made it their mission to find homes for healthy strays. The nonprofit recently began a campaign to find homes for abandoned cats and kittens. The center is offering free cats of all sizes and ages.
“The adults have been spayed and neutered and are current on shots,” Katherine said. “The kittens have had their first shots and all the felines have been tested for kitty AIDS and leukemia and are all negative. We have indoor and outdoor cats of many colors.”
The Gables have spent 13 years working to save cats and dogs.
“I really feel as if God has called me to this mission,” Katherine said.
When the couple moved to Parkton in 2000, they learned the was flooded with discarded animals.
“So many cats and dogs would literally just be dumped off on the side of the road,” said Rob, who serves as the center’s secretary.
That year, the couple decided to open the center. Finding animals came easily, but attracting homes and money to care for the strays was more difficult. The Gables would get occasional donations, but mostly they used their own money.
Soon Rob, a military retiree, and Katherine, a teacher at Robeson Community College, were unable to continue to foot the bill. In 2007, they applied for nonprofit status that allows people to donate and receive a tax credit.
The organization’s mission is to prevent the cruelty of animals through the rescue, care for and placement of rescued dogs and cats and to provide education on the care of dogs and cats.
“Our primary interest is helping animals find homes,” Rob said.
Rob and Katherine distributed posters depicting then animals, and also place their photos and a short bio on a website, www.thunderingpawsinc.org.
The center also offers “limited long-term foster care” for people who do not want to surrender their pet but must be gone for long periods of time.
Animals that are rescued and waiting to be placed in a home are kept at the Gabel’s home or with volunteer foster families.
“Cats have become our passion because people seem to understand what dogs need a little bit more than cats,” Katherine said. “People think that cats can take care of themselves and will find their own food — and that’s not the case.”
The center also offers a service for people who do not qualify to have their cat or dog spayed and neutered. Once a month, the center provides transportation to Spay and Neuter of the Sand Hills in Vass. The veterinarian clinic offers spay and neuter at a discounted price. Pet owners can call Katherine to schedule a pick-up time and she will take the animals for free; the pet owner must pay for the services.
To adopt a cat, make a donation to the center or for information, call Katherine at 910-261-8793.