December 20, 2006 • WESTWOOD
BY Kathryn A. Burger of Community Life
The C.A.T.S – Caring About The Strays – Resale Shop is celebrating it’s grand re-opening. The newly renovated shop, at 80 Kinderkamack Road, offers a variety of items, including jewelry, furniture, artwork, decorative, gift and vintage items as well as clothing, handbags and collectibles.
Founded by Lynn Cancro in 1995, C.A.T.S is a non-profit organization dedicated for providing of the well-being of the communities homeless animals and placing them in loving permanent homes. The organization hopes to establish a cage-less no kill adoption center to house rescued cats. A foster program for dogs is also a goal.
Cancro spoke with passion about another goal for the organization: an educational program for students in area schools. “We want children to understand the responsibilities of pet ownership and the commitment it represents and help them understand that all animals should be treated with respect.”
Financial support for these endeavors comes from monetary donations and fund-raising events in addition to the resale shop. All donations including goods donated to the shop are tax deductible.
On a recent visit to the shop, a wide variety of holiday items were on display and several adult cats all friendly, well groomed and healthy, sauntered about or sunned themselves on carpet covered perches. All the cats available at the shop are up for adoption. A sleek ebony black cat was stretched out on the counter. Cancro introduced him as “Jordan.” When she spoke to the cat, there was an immediate reaction from Jordan. He rose slowly, stretched, arching his back and them composing himself, moved closer to Cancro. They were literally nose to nose and clearly communicating. “He’s my boy” Cancro said
Even after all these years of fostering and then adopting out cats, Cancro still finds it difficult to part with some of her charges and she can’t adopt them all herself. “He’s so special. He deserves a good, loving home and I’m going to be sure he gets one. But I’m going to miss him so…” she said, her voice trailing off. Meanwhile, Jordan began making small sounds – not full “meows” – but little throatly noises that, of course got Cancro’s attention. She immediately turned her attention back to him, which, of course, was exactly what he wanted. One need not to be a cat lover to appreciate the obvious bond they have formed.
Volunteers are always needed and there are a number of ways to support the organization. At the shop, task include waiting on customers and ringing up sales, creating merchandise displays and dressing the windows, tagging and pricing merchandise, and socializing and playing with the foster cats. Participating in the planning and the production of fund-raising events, performing light maintenance and becoming a foster guardian, caring for homeless animals in one’s home until they are adopted are other volunteer opportunities.
The shop is open Monday through Saturday from 10am – 5pm. Donations of items for sale are accepted during shop hours. Rescued cats and kittens are available for adoption at the shop and/or nearby-by foster homes. The shop is located just south of the Kinderkamack Road/Old Hook Road intersection; turn right at the corner of Kinderkamack and Kingsberry Avenue. For further information, call Cancro, at the shop, at 201-666-5444.
Originally printed on NorthJersey.com – Thursday, March 24, 2005
BY ABIGAIL LEICHMAN, staff writer
(Stores are rated on a scale of one to four cars, with one car meaning a store is worth a short trip, and the top rating, four cars, meaning a store is worth going the distance.)
Lynn Cancro founded this resale shop-adoption center in the hope of raising enough money to establish a cage-free, no-kill adoption center in the Pascack Valley.
Nine years later, C.A.T.S. is a non-profit organization governed by a board of directors helping it inch closer to that goal in a variety of ways (Jack Daniels Porsche is donating a car to be raffled off in the spring, for example).
But you’ll still find Cancro and a dedicated core of volunteers at the shop, its flagship venture.
C.A.T.S. accepts high-quality items such as antiques, CDs and audiotapes, clothing, jewelry, books, collectibles, housewares and gift items – many of them still in the original packaging.
I picked up a spotless Gap cardigan and sweater and an Abercrombie top, and my daughter snagged a T-shirt, an Express denim skirt and a thumb ring, each for $4 or less. We also chose a picture frame to hold a particularly adorable snapshot of our cat, Pufferbelly.
For many visitors, though, the main attractions here are the fluffy felines lounging in comfortable cages along the store’s perimeter, awaiting loving homes. Each one has been nursed back to health after being abandoned, neglected or abused.
Off-site cats up for adoption – view them at Care4strays.org – are being fostered by C.A.T.S. customers and volunteers.
“The beautiful people who bring us donations and the wonderful customers … allow us to pay our bills and put away some toward the shelter,” Cancro says, “and we always need more people to help us plan fund-raising events, work in the store and donate food.”
Oberg & Lindquist, a local appliance retailer, recently sent over a refrigerator in which to keep medication for cats on the mend.
C.A.T.S. is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Watch for between-seasons sales, when the merchandise is practically given away free.
Caring About the Strays (C.A.T.S.)
80 Kinderkamack Road, Westwood
Worth-the-trip rating: 3 cars.
Resale Shop Raises Money to House Homeless Cats
Originally printed in the Bergen Record
BY LUIZA GRUNEBAUM
WESTWOOD – It’s one of many stores dotting Kinderkamack Rd. in the Borough although its lively brick and lavender facade makes it a bit more eye catching than most. But what really sets the CATS resale shop apart is the mission of its owner and founder, Lynn Cancro: to raise enough funds through the store to purchase a building to be used as a cage-less, no kill shelter for homeless cats.
Every year in the U.S., 10.5 million cats and dogs are euthanized for reasons that are as varied as they are avoidable. The biggest problem is that owners do not spay their pets, resulting in generations of unwanted animals. Then there’s the owner who arrives at the animal shelter with Snowball saying he’s a perfect cat but the shedding is getting on his nerves. Cancro is battling enormous odds in her fight to improve the lives of animals, but as the tall, striking blond shop owner says, “this is what I’ve dedicated my life to.”
C.A.T.S., which stands For “Caring About the Strays” had its seed in Cancro’s experience while living in an apartment complex in the area. “There were so many abandoned cats where we lived,” Cancro recalls. Tenants would move out, leaving their cats “scratching at the doors of apartments where they used to live.
Says Cancro, “Needless to say, I took in a lot of cats,” But it didn’t stop there. Haunted by the image of a pet waiting for an owner who would never return, Cancro was moved to action. A job as a volunteer coordinator at Pascack Valley Hospital put Cancro in touch with a lot of good-hearted people willing to donate their time to the cause. Bolstered by a visit to a cage-less, no kill shelter in Chicago, Cancro set about visualizing her own animal refuge.
“I visualize…moving the shop to the front of the building, so that it continues to support the facility,” says Cancro. “The cats will be in the upper stories, and there will be an infirmary for the ones that need to be isolated.”
Of course, this would all be a pipe dream if it weren’t for the shop, which opened August of 1995 to a lot of attention from locals looking for a good bargain. And the selection of items is impressive, ranging from casual clothing and suits to formal gowns, coats and negligees. And that’s only the half of it.
C.A.T.S. has been the recipient of a dizzying number of donations over tile years. A recent visit to the shop revealed a large inventory of clothing and jewelry, as well as more eclectic offerings, such as a 1930’s saddle, a live tree and a mint condition antique gas stove, all donations to the shop. When a bridal store recently closed in Closter, the owner sent her entire stock of brand new bridal gowns, formal dresses and mother-of-the bride garments to C.A.T.S. Perennials, a store on Westwood Ave., regularly contributes items, and local Girl Scout troops collect items from residents for the shop.
Cancro said that not long ago she heard from a man who was planning to move into a condo “and he wanted me to come over and take anything I wanted.” She ended up renting a van and hauling a large amount of furniture out of his house.
“It’s a fun place,” says Joan McBride, a Township of Washington resident who volunteers at C.A.T.S. three days a week. It’s always a surprise when we open a package.”
“We know most customers by name,” says Cancro, and we know their kids’ names. Sometimes, people come in just to say hi.”
But for all the neighborliness, this is serious business. Cancro says she wakes up every morning thinking, how much can I accomplish today toward my goal? The fact is, she is accomplishing a great deal. Cancro is looking seriously at building sites that are commercially zoned, freestanding, with on-site parking. If possible, she wants very much to remain in the borough, which has been so good to her. Still, the financing can be daunting. What would really help, “is if someone would leave us a home,” she says.
In the meantime, she and her helpers persevere. The phone rings all the time from people who no longer want their pets, telling Cancro, “You have to help me.” Then there are those forced into a terrible fix because their landlord tells them they must give up their pet. A bill that gives tenants the right to have a pet is currently before file Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee. Cancro hopes that those who support bill S130l will call 609-693-6700 to ask that it receive a hearing.
Creating a haven for homeless cats remain foremost on Cancro’s mind. Her vision might seem more like a pipe dream if it weren’t for the fact that Cancro is getting results. For now, there is a board of directors in place that includes Franklin Lakes veterinarian Cheryl Welch, who has offered to donate her time once a week to caring for the cats. Grants have been applied for and one has been approved.
All of this effort is rooted in the belief that no-kill shelters are the wave of the future. Animals in no-cage facilities are more adoptable, argues Cancro, because they don’t suffer from the trauma of being locked in a small space. ‘The idea is to create the kind of environment where eats are “hanging out in a living room… not in cages,” she says. While some may question that practicality of shelters that don’t euthanize, Cancro’s commitment is firm. “It’s the new trend… the humane way to go,” she says.
Looming large on Cancro’s mind is the need for volunteers; specifically someone with a truck who can help transport furniture that has been donated to the shop. Cancro is also looking for someone with an artistic flair who might be able to paint and repair contributed items.
Needless to say, Cancro’s project keeps her busy seven days a week. When asked whether all the work sometimes catches up with her, she shakes her head. “I wouldn’t do anything else,” says Cancro. How many people love what they do?”
C.A.T.S. Resale Shop is located on 80 Kinderkamack Rd, in Westwood and can be reached by calling 666-5444. All clothing is currently 50 percent off, and jewelry is 20 percent off.