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Kitty City

Patsy Beeker, executive director of Kitty City and president of its parent agency, Cabarrus Cares, receives extra attention from a resident at Kitty City's downtown Concord location.
Patsy Beeker, executive director of Kitty City and president of its parent agency, Cabarrus Cares, receives extra attention from a resident at Kitty City's downtown Concord location. DIEDRA LAIRD

Patsy Beeker loves animals – and they love her. But more than that, she loves the joy on people’s faces as they connect with kittens at Kitty City, a rescue/adoption center and educational community resource located in downtown Concord. Beeker’s engaging smile and nurturing demeanor make her a magnet for children as they trail behind her at their birthday party or for the senior citizens who book their outings at Kitty City. Beeker says, ”We help animals and the people that love them.” She shares how and why she has devoted her life to the good of animals and the community.

How did Kitty City get started?We started Kitty City as the education venture of Cabarrus CARES. We started it not knowing if we would make it, but four years later we had to move to a larger facility because we had grown so much. What is the primary purpose of Kitty City?The biggest thing we are here is an education center. I figured if I could lure kids in here to look at the cats, I could tell them about why you should spay, why you neuter, and what shots your cats and dogs need. I also take a dog into schools within a six county region – Cabarrus, Stanley, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Union and Iredell counties – and we talk to school kids about safety and responsibility. How many animals come through Kitty City in a year?We have about 400 cats come through here a year, but there will be much more this year since two of the largest pet rescuers closed their doors. We also have about 100 dogs each year. Does Kitty City partner with other programs?Partnership is a key word for us. We partner with the Humane Society and a number of other rescue ventures. We work closely with Meals on Wheels, providing bags of pet food for distribution along with the owners’ dinners. We have also partnered with Teen Court since 2005 for first-time youthful offenders, and they can do their community service requirements here. It’s amazing to teach those kids the value of life and the respect and compassion for something like this. What is the benefit of volunteering?There was a young girl who started volunteering, and her mom said she was so shy. I think working here and increasing in responsibility and speaking with authority to people, it really brought out her personality. She developed a lot of self-confidence. That is my primary focus – these are the kids who will be owning pets. If they learn in here that this is a long-term responsibility, it’s wonderful.What are your greatest challenges?Our greatest challenge is responsible ownership – telling people it’s a commitment for a lifetime, not just until this kitten gets big. People end up abandoning the animals thinking they can live off the land, but they can’t. Our greatest need is money – we put about $150 into each cat that we adopt out. Where do you see Kitty City going in the future?I don’t know. I’ve had a number of people contact me, asking me how we do this. They want to copy it. But it’s not just about adoption – it’s about education.What is your favorite part of Kitty City?Teaching. I love seeing the light come on in a kid’s eyes. My second favorite part, of course, is getting to play with cats and dogs. I love me some puppies!

Kitty City is located at 30 Union St. S., Concord. 704-795-5219. www.kittycityconcord.org.

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