In 2004, a handful of local, animal-loving volunteers came together to address a truly heart-breaking situation; there was an overwhelming number of homeless and unwanted cats in the Salem area. With very limited resources in the community for those cats to be able to be rescued, spayed or neutered and then adopted into loving homes, the team decided to take a stand and devote their time and efforts to ending the suffering of the unwanted cats and kittens in our community. Through hard work, compassion and dedication, the team of volunteers created Salem Friends of Felines, a 501(c) 3 non-profit feline rescue and adoption center and the following Mission Statement:
With the main goal to reduce the number of unwanted cats in the Salem area the newly formed team knew they had their work cut out for them. First on the agenda was educating the community on the importance of spaying or neutering their pets, along with establishing a reliable community resource for access to low-cost feline spay and neuter surgeries. SFOF was not only committed to helping the cats, but also the people in the community- knowing that when we work together, greater successes can be achieved.
From humble beginnings in 2004, we started with less than a dozen foster homes and no brick-and-mortar facility, we then moved into our first building in Salem at 980 Commercial St. and as of February 2021, we are proud to be settled into our new home in Keizer at 4157 Cherry Avenue. The new space includes 1,300 sq ft. of Adoption Center, a 900 sq ft Thrift Store and the addition of the on-site surgery suite. Our organization has grown from five volunteers to thirteen paid employees, and we will continue to work hard to expand our programs and services to better provide for the cats and people of our wonderful community.
Today we honor a big part of the founders’ vision by partnering with multiple community agencies such as the State of Oregon JOBS Plus & Work Experience programs, local Tribal Programs & Oregon Easter Seals. We also partner with the Salem-Keizer Schools Employment Training Program. These partnerships provide the people of our community opportunities they otherwise may not have. By teaching our participants valuable job and life skills, they are able to gain confidence and the experience needed to get into the workforce.
The vast majority of our organization is volunteer based, including our Board of Directors. Our volunteers come to us from all walks of life, with many different skills and abilities to offer. We strive to find a place for everyone within our organization and invite all animal lovers to join us in our mission.
Our dedicated team of staff and volunteers work tirelessly to care for and find forever homes for every cat and kitten we take in. Our shelter adheres to the highest standards of care, established by the American Association of Shelter Veterinarians in 2010 (see links for more information).
Each staff member at SFOF is committed to providing our residents with a Fear Free environment and have completed their FEAR-FREE SHELTER certification https://fearfreeshelters.com/program/