Amy Armenti – Finding homes for unwanted cats
By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
While Amy Armenti says she and husband, Tom, are a failure as cat foster parents because they keep any cat that enters their home, the Poway resident has still found a way to help cats find forever families.
For the past four years, Armenti has volunteered with The Rescue House, a nonprofit organization that helps abused, abandoned and unwanted cats find homes. She helps run the mini adoption fair it holds monthly at the Petco in Carmel Mountain Ranch, usually on the second Saturday, that makes available eight to 12 cats for adoption.
Armenti will also be a volunteer during the organization’s large fall adoption fair this weekend that will have 60 to 80 cats of all ages available. The adoption fee is $125 for a kitten, $100 for an adult cat and a $25 discount is offered if more than one is adopted. The fee includes spay or neuter, up-to-date shots, microchip and 30 days of pet insurance, she said.
The fair will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6 and Sunday, Oct. 7 at the Carmel Mountain Ranch Petco, 11160 Rancho Carmel Drive.
“My husband and I have always had cats,” Armenti said. When two of their cats died, the couple stopped by the mini adoption fair The Rescue House held at the CMR Petco in February 2008. From there they adopted two older sister cats who had been in the system for a year and no one wanted.
“I’ve always taken pity on the older, less desirable cats,” she said.
That day she also struck up a conversation with the volunteer running the event, learned she was moving and someone was needed to assume the responsibilities. Armenti decided to be that volunteer.
Since then she has not only helped at the adoption fairs, but the Armentis have hosted the organization’s annual fundraiser in their north Poway home. It is held on the second Saturday in June and includes a silent auction and opportunity drawing. Due to space limitations, there is a maximum of 300 attendees. While most are those who have adopted through The Rescue House, some request an invitation by contacting the organization through Facebook or its website, she said.
While they opt out of being cat foster parents, they have given many hard-to-place cats forever homes. They currently have 14 rescued cats from 1 to 14 years old who will be members of the family for the remainder of their lives, typically 18 to 21 years, she said.
One of the youngest is Oscar, who was dropped off as a kitten at the Mira Mesa Petco.
“(Oscar) was totally emaciated, dehydrated and severally anemic from flea bites,” she said. “He weighed only 1 pound. He has been with us a little over a year and is doing great now. He weighs about 16 pounds and is such a wonderful cat.”
Over the years the couple typically has had eight to 15 cats at a time live in their 6,500-square-foot home that they modified so the cats can go from indoors to a large outdoor enclosure on their own. The Armentis also care for two feral cats, she said.
As for why Armenti chose to volunteer with The Rescue House instead of another organization, she said it is because of the organization’s philosophy, ease, consistency and commitment by its core group of volunteers.
“It’s a really good group … that likes to keep you busy,” she said.
Since The Rescue House was founded in 1999, it has helped almost 10,000 cats find homes in San Diego County. For adoption or volunteer information, call 760-591-1211 or go to www.rescuehouse.org or www.facebook.com/rescuehouse.
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