6 am 12/3/18
As visitors to Sunday afternoon’s annual Christmas party at the Animal Refuge Center in Vine Grove sipped drinks and snacked on cake and other items, some of the dozens of cats who call 185 Basham Trail home rubbed up against their new friends.
Others stared as guests walked around.
“They like having people around them,” said Penny Edwards, who runs the center.
While Edwards said the party, which has been held for “27 or 28 years,” serves as an opportunity to gain much-needed donated items such as cat litter and food for the animals, it also serves an even deeper purpose.
“Human contact means so much to the cats,” Edwards said. “A happy cat is a much more adoptable cat and dogs, too. They enjoy having so many people here.”
Edwards said the facility has about 160 cats, including Domino, who is 17 or 18.
Domino has been at the refuge since she was about a year and a half.
“This is the only home she has known,” Edwards said. “For some, we are home.”
That length of stay is unusual, Edwards said. She said about 97 or 98 percent of the animals are adoptable.
There also are nine or 10 dogs at the center.
The Christmas party, during which guests are encouraged to bring gifts for the animals, such as supplies, also is a time when attendees can learn about the refuge, which will celebrate 30 years of existence in July.
Some of the cats rested on holiday-themed blankets Sunday, while others sat and were petted. Some sat and looked at guests walking around and sitting. Others paid no attention at all.
“We like to have people come here and see that they’re very well taken care of,” said Inge Edwards, who helped start the center and is Penny’s mother. “And they just love all of this attention.”
A couple of dogs seemed uninterested in all the activities and stayed sprawled on the floor.
Penny Edwards said the party is one of two standing events the refuge hosts each year. The other is a spring open house.
She said their cats and dogs come from a variety of sources, including Hardin County Animal Care and Control, other shelters and drop-offs. They also took in 54 cats this year from a hoarding house in Cecilia.
“We want to give our cats and dogs a good life,” she said.
The house where many of the occupants freely roam was decorated for Christmas in many areas.
“I’ve seen lots of new faces,” Penny Edwards said. “That’s always good. And we have our supporters who have been supporting this place forever. It’s a good day.”
For information on the Animal Refuge Center, call 270-877-6064.
Jeff D’Alessio can be reached at 270-505-1757 or firstname.lastname@example.org.