Homeless family struggling to retrieve pet cat from Everett shelter

EVERETT — Kali is a mixed breed female cat with tortoise-shell-and-calico fur. She’s also a beloved pet for Ronan Shelly, 9, who lives with his parents near Lynnwood.

Lisa Shelly, Ronan’s mother, said the cat disappeared about two weeks ago after escaping out an open window. She posted fliers and looked on the Lost Cats of Snohomish County Facebook page, but then a friend tipped her off that the cat was at the Everett Animal Shelter.

Getting Kali out will cost $205, which is more money than the Shellys can spare.

The Shellys are homeless. Lisa Shelly has been unemployed since February, and her husband suffers from herniated discs in his spine and recently underwent heart bypass surgery.

She couldn’t pay the fee on the spot, so she went back home empty-handed.

“I had to come home without her,” Shelly said, and tell her son she couldn’t get Kali back. “He cried so hard.”

The family has lived week-to-week in motels for about two years after they lost their apartment. Shelly had been unemployed then, too, when they got the eviction notice. They also lost a lot of their personal belongings they had in storage, she said. They don’t own a car, either.

Kali was a Christmas present for Ronan last year.

“All he wanted for Christmas was a kitten,” she said.

How Kali disappeared is a bit of an unknown. Shelly figures a neighbor reported the cat as a stray.

Shelly has tried raising money online through GoFundMe and Craigslist, as well as asking friends, so far to no avail.

“With me not working right now, no one wants to help,” Shelly said.

Dee Cordell, the operations coordinator for the Everett Animal Shelter, said $165 of the fee is charged by Snohomish County, because Kali came from an unincorporated part of the county. The remainder covers the shelter’s costs of getting the cat spayed, vaccinated and tagged with an identification chip.

“By law cats need to be licensed. Since the cat was not spayed and not chipped, the fee is $40,” Cordell said.

Lost pets that come into the shelter go on a three-day “stray hold.” If an owner doesn’t come forward, the pet is put up for adoption or sent off to another rescue group.

In Kali’s case, the shelter has extended that period until the end of the day Monday, May 4, because Shelly didn’t contact the shelter until after the hold period was expiring, and Shelly wanted to try to find the money.

The shelter can’t keep extending the deadline, however, and will soon need to make room for more strays, Cordell said.

“Ideally, whenever pets go missing, we want people to come looking for them,” Cordell said. “At the very least, call us or come into the shelter to fill out a lost report.”

In the meantime, Shelly applied for two jobs in fast-food restaurants Tuesday — she’s been a cook since she was 18, she said — and is still hoping to raise the fee on a GoFundMe page that a friend helped her put together: gofundme.com/t9s9s6xg.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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