Video feature: West Seattle’s newest cat-adoption facility

The folks who run Kitty Harbor, a new addition to the east side of Harbor Ave by ActivSpace, welcomed a WSB visit this past weekend for this video feature. Kitty Harbor is operated by Delyn Kosbab, founder of the rescue organization Animal Safe Haven Association. As you will see her explain in the second clip (with the help of a playful pal), this is NOT a place to drop by and just gawk at cute cats; they are extremely serious about finding the best home for the dozens of rescued cats and kittens they are trying to place. Like these, who couldn’t resist trying to play with a volunteer helping clean cages:

In this clip, founder Delyn Kosbab explains Kitty Harbor and its guidelines, adoption fees, etc.

You can find out more about Kitty Harbor at its new website. As you’ll see on the site, it’s open Friday-Sunday or by appointment.

30 Replies to "Video feature: West Seattle's newest cat-adoption facility"

  • Would love a cat October 22, 2007 (3:16 pm)

    I respect their mission, but what is that about it “NOT” being a place to gawk at cats? I’m sorry if I live nearby and Kitty Harbor is on my regular walking route; does that mean I’m not allowed to stop and look at them through the metal SCREEN door they have facing the street? It seems that it’s meant for people to be able to stop and visit with the beautiful cats and kittens. Anyway, I did talk to Delyn one day when I stopped by, and mentioned that I had been looking into getting a cat for a long time. She asked if I just wanted one, to which I replied “yes”; she snapped at me, “WELL, I would NEVER let someone adopt just one cat. They need to go out in pairs.”
    It seems if they’re so interested in placing these cats into good homes, treating interested parties in this way may not be their best plan.

  • willamina c. October 22, 2007 (3:30 pm)

    We say hi through the screen on the way to get coffee. There’s an adult cat who is too adorable for words and said cat makes me wish I could break my lease. I like older cats, and kittens are adorable but people always want to give kittens love, and not always the older ones. I hate living in a place that doesn’t allow cats…well, they do allow cats if they’re declawed and i’m willing to fork over $50 a month for “pet rent”, which means they don’t allow cats so far as I’m concerned. Never been a fan of cutting off anyone’s fingers, much less that whole “pet rent” crap. I’ll shampoo the rugs and dust for dander…

    Okay, the kittens are too cute for words, too. The cats seem thoroughly happy, which I think means that they’re doing one heck of a good job.

  • Kayleigh October 22, 2007 (3:32 pm)

    I have one cat, and he’s a happy, well-adjusted critter.

    Some people don’t have the space, resources, time, etc. for two cats. Isn’t a single-cat home better than the critter being put to sleep, living on the street, or taking up space in a shelter?

  • s October 22, 2007 (3:52 pm)

    when i adopted my kitties, i only wanted one. i picked out the one i liked, but he was in the cage with his sister and the shelter really wanted them to go together. they talked me into it and i am so glad they did. they keep each other company when i am away and there is nothing cuter than watching them snuggle up together when they sleep.

  • JumboJim October 22, 2007 (4:22 pm)

    I respect the work this woman is doing. A little tact goes a long way of course, so if she has strict policies she needn’t be harsh when stating them – just firm. That said, I’m sure she may get tired sometimes of the callous or inconsiderate attitude many people have towards animals. I’m sure she has to eliminate the lookie-loos since time is precious when you have lots of work to do.

    I’m glad she is firm about adopting cats out to homes where they won’t be the sole pet. Way too many cats (and dogs) have a very mentally boring environment. 8-10 hours alone, 5 days a week is not any better for a dog or cat than for a human.

  • The Velvet Bulldog October 22, 2007 (5:58 pm)

    I totally appreciate what this group is doing, but also don’t understand the kitty-couples-only rule. I just added a second kitty to my household and OMG is the older boy not happy about it. I am afraid they’re going to alienate some potentially great homes for the cats if they don’t adopt them out singly.

  • Keith October 22, 2007 (6:16 pm)

    I must admit that my initial response to this post was similar to that of “would love a cat.” I totally respect the mission and integrity of organizations like Kitty Harbor, but sometimes I just want to pet and play with a cat (or dog), not necessarily adopt one.

    Here’s a slightly tongue-in-cheek Reader Request: is there any place you can actually do this without being considered inhumane or a nuisance? I spend a lot of time up near Bellingham and there’s a hardware store there with two dogs and two cats hanging around. They get all my business and I get fur on me, free with every purchase.

  • CandrewB October 22, 2007 (6:16 pm)

    We just adopted a kitten locally. We would have preferred an adult cat, but then our dog would have two cats in the house that hate her. When it comes to rescuing animals, we have found at least half of the folks you deal with to be real pains in the ass; almost daring you to adopt from them. At that point we walk.

  • *t* October 22, 2007 (6:22 pm)

    I appreciate that these places are out there, and salute Delyn. But we just adopted a cat this past weekend, and after calling Kitty Harbor we thought it was just too bizarre that they would only adopt cats in pairs. So, unfortunately, we went all the way to Bellevue (Humane Society) where they were very happy to adopt one sweet year-and-a-half-old cat to us. They let us play with all the cats as much as we wanted, and have most of them in open playrooms.

  • WSB October 22, 2007 (6:23 pm)

    We have two cats, both adopted from shelters as adults, same age but one we adopted three years before the other one. Half the team here was very leery about a second cat. The first cat was a little leery about the second cat. But now they are the absolute best of buds, snuggled together all the time, and we can completely see the ‘cats are happiest together’ concept. Luckily the team member who went over to videotape the cats and Delyn was the one least likely to bring home a third cat, or else the other two would probably be dealing with Nermal right about now … maybe someday.

  • jdp October 22, 2007 (6:51 pm)

    Our next door neighbor has four cats and not a flower bed or yard, they use my yard exclusively, most theirs is conrete and deck. Is there where I could take the cats when I get tired of dealing with their little suprises in my flower bed and vegetable gardens?

  • ms_f October 22, 2007 (8:22 pm)

    jdp, have you tried actually talking to your neighbor, rather than just threatening to get rid of their pets? The neighbors might be quite amenable to trying to find a solution (like having lots more litter boxes in their house and making sure they use them). If my old cat was harassing a neighbor, I’d want to know. Here are some tips for discouraging the cats from bothering your flowers:
    (By the way, the cats might be keeping away moles which would be more ruinous to your garden).

  • Peggy Sullivan October 23, 2007 (11:50 pm)

    After reading the comments in the ‘blog”, I feel I need to respond in support of Delyn. I have known Delyn for over 20 years and never met anyone more dedicated to the welfare of unwanted cats and kittens. After all the experiences she has had with “responsible” animal owners,this has created the policies to be put in place.

    It is heart wrenching to take a cat in, because the owner, now has a baby, or we just bought a new house and the cat might scratch or damage the carpet, but we had it declawed, but it just didn’t help. By the way we spent our extra money on declawing, so we couldn’t afford to have it altered. Please find it a good home because we really love it. OH MY GOD !!!! GIVE IT UP Iwould hope the next time they go to a doctor they request to have their fingers cut off at the first knuckle.

    Anyone would be welcome to look at the kitties from the storm door that faces Harbor Ave, but with winter upon us it may be more comfortable to come inside and view from one of the five windows that overlooks the adoption area.

    If you are seriously looking and ready to adopt the day you come in,you are welcome to go into the adoption room and spend all the time you need while your kitty picks you out from everyone else.

    This is a RESCUE, not a pet store or shelter. Every effort is being made for the health of the animal. People bring in germs on there shoes, hands, and clothes. If you still don’t understand why the policy is in place, maybe you would like to volunter to help with the kitties.
    There is always time for play after the litter is changed,kitties are fed, medicated, ears cleaned,claws cut,kennels bleached, etc.

    Delyn places 1000+ unwanted felines a year. Her cat food and litter runs $500.00 a week. What isn’t donated comes out of her pocket. She is a very special person and shame on anyone that has the nerve to put her down.

    If people would take as good of care of themselves and their children as Delyn takes of the cats the world might be a better place.

  • Delyn Kosbab October 24, 2007 (1:05 am)

    Hello All, I’m founder of Animal Safe Haven Assoc at Kitty Harbor.
    I would like to clear up two miss understandings. 1. We do not require kitties to be adopted in pairs. If a houshold has a companaion pet, another cat or dog, that’s great and a single kitty can be adopted. However, we don’t adopt a little kitten as an only pet due to their social delvelopment and welfare. A solo cat is our number one complaint with inapropriate behavior and a brat cat with anti-social behavior. We do not want to duplicate that problem. They live in colonies for reasons.
    2. We welcome all to see the kitties and enjoy as the thousands of people who do. We have an outside view door and several inside windows for their enjoyment. However, because of possible contamination and time for our stuff, we limit public access to those ready to adopt. Those who are ready to make a decision can touch, feel and be with the kitties in a natural environment so they can experience their true personalities, rather than in a scary cage. This is a rescue facility, not a zoo nor shelter.

    We are deadicated to the welfare of the animals, and work 14 hours a day as volunteers for the best interest of these homeless pets. We can’t please everyone with our policies. But those who adopt a purrfect match are grateful. We place over 1,000 homeless each year into the best possible homes. We are proud to say, we have never enthanised a healthy animal.

    Donations of clean towels, litter, food, and other cat items are needed and appreciated.

    And if I ever seem cranky, sorry, no time off and too many animal abuse ordeals to deal with…Some days are tuff. I thank you for your understanding and support.

  • foster mom October 24, 2007 (8:54 pm)

    You all are certainly welcome to come by and look at the cats through the screen door or the windows. If you would like to spend some time with the cats and live close by, consider volunteering. If you need you kitty fix but are not able to have a cat of your own, you can help out with the rescues. Each day volunteers (or Delyn herself) are at Kitty Harbor feeding, cleaning and medicating sick kitties, and socializing the cats that need more human contact. If you would like to help out you will have time after cleaning to snuggle with the cats.
    The Kitty Harbor policies are in place for the safety and well being of the cats. Declawing is cruel and unnecessary (more info coming soon to the website). Kittens need a buddy if they are going to a home that currently has no pets. In addition, there are a handful of bacterial, fungal and viral diseases cats can come into contact with that are highly contagious. This is the reason people are only permitted in the adoption area if they are serious about adopting. Having one or two sick cats at home is not a big deal. However, can you imagine taking care of several dozen sick kitties (not to mention the expense)? This would be a full time job in itself.
    Please keep the feedback coming, and contact Kitty Harbor if you have any questions.

  • Kristin D October 25, 2007 (7:03 pm)

    My partner and I just adopted a pair of fantastic gals from Kitty Harbor last Saturday. It was wonderful to be able to spend enough time interacting with all of the kitties to be sure that the two who claimed us were the perfect match. They were and they are! I am so lucky to share my home with these two, and I’m so grateful to Delyn and all of the great volunteers who sacrifice a lot to make it possible. You all are just the best. THANK YOU!!

  • Kristin D October 25, 2007 (7:12 pm)

    I forgot to mention the boutique! I picked up some litter and toys and was impressed with the quality and prices–definitely better than I’ve seen online and at the big pet supply places. Plus the money you spend helps support a great nonprofit. I’ve told several cat-owned friends about it and am coming back for some more shopping soon!

  • Teri November 9, 2007 (12:46 pm)

    Great job Delyn! Thank you for your unselfish nature and for making such a positive commitment to the lives of these animals and the people who adopt them.

    Delyn is right on with her polices, especially those that limit the cat and kittens exposure to germs–which we all carry on our clothes, hands, etc. Kittens have less developed immune systems so are very susceptible to viruses. Please consider performing some research on Panleuk which has only a 10% survival rate and is an awful death; Upper Respiratory Infections; Ringworm; FIP—no survival rate and an awful death; and other diseases we can bring into any shelter or adoption facility. Upon completion of your research, Delyn’s policies will hopefully be more appreciated and understood. She is focused on the health and survival of all cats and kittens under her care.

    Also, it is very common for many rescue groups to require that kittens go in pairs if there are no other animals in the home. Studies show that a single kitten has a high chance of not socializing correctly, being bored, destructive, etc. and often relinquished as a young adult due to behavior problems. Plus, if you have an older cat that has been an only child for years and years…don’t bring home a single kitten. It’s like handing a human toddler to my 83 year old father and asking him to keep up with the child 24/7. If you want a kitten and have an older cat, then get two kittens. They will entertain each other while the older cat perches on his/her throne and sets all of rules. And truly—two kittens are less work than one kitten be itself.

  • Susan Schremser May 15, 2008 (6:19 pm)

    My daughter just got off the phone with Kitty Harbor and was horribly mistreated. What is your problem! She called you to inquire politely about what your policies were regarding adopting only a single cat. When you made her feel like she was a criminal to even consider it and then said to her that she’d probably adopt a single cat one way or the other and then hung up on her! Are you people mental?! Is that a professional way to conduct a business????? I THINK NOT.

    Word of mouth is a powerful thing and you did not do your organization any good with your abusive behavior!

  • Mia May 21, 2008 (5:44 pm)

    Susan Schremser: I visited KH 2 sundays ago and the person who was assisting me was alittle rude 2 me as well when I wanted 2 adopt a single kitten–Ive never heard of such a rule. I understand that their opinion is there is social interaction issue but I know tons of people who have single cats [with no other animals in the home] and their pet isnt unsocial–I personally think it depends on the kitten itself–If time is taken in selecting a kitten and watching its behavior right from the git go I believe u can determine what kitten will do great in ur enviroment. Its unfortunate that staff thinks they have 2 be rude in order 2 get their policy across but there is no reason 4 it–U can simply say we do not do this…and the reason is…and theres no way around it…PERIOD–being rude just turns people away and then they go tell a million people how bad the facilities is because of their rudeness—I will have a single kitten—My kitten will be fine and socially adjusted. I will have a lot of love 2 give him and he will be happy–Hope ur daughter finds what she is looking 4—

  • Staff June 5, 2008 (1:58 am)

    To Susan Schremer,
    Your claims are simply untrue. Know one hung up on you little girl whom called. We asked her to have her mom talk to us about adopting a single baby kitten into a household with no other pets which was against our policy. She claimed her mom only wanted one and didn’t get it. She refused to put you on the phone. Later you called back leaving a rude message and also emailed claiming you would try to destroy our reputation. Very strange. We tried to communciacte with you but could not due to you screaming at us and hanging up. We understand rejection can be hard, and some people do not understand why we do not adopt a little kitten as a solo household pet. We simply will not duplicate our number one complaint. Every week we recieve complaints how kittens grow up without socially deveoping with other animals, how they become anti-social, brat cats, hard on your furniture, often bite or claw humans, won’t get along with other animals, poop on beds in their owner’s absence, are bored, become skittish to all outside the household, are overly needy to the feeder only, are aggressive and territoral, etc… Humans can not duplicate a kitten’s critical social development. Often we hear people’s desire to have a baby kitten to control and adapt them to their environment. They are the people who call us wanting to give up their adult cat for inappropriate and anti-social behavior because they raised them as an only pet. It’s not all cats, but seems to be a majority. We live different these days, not as we grew up with open doors, cats, dogs, kids, etc. Now the majority of pets are kept inside while we are at work and gone every other weekend. Those solo, anti-social bored pets are often surrendered to shelters and are killed because they don’t do well with stress or change and are viewed as unadoptables. Cats live in colonies for reasons and must socialize with their own kind to learn. Also cats living with another bond better with humans, unlike dogs. So with that said, we prey you have a better understanding. And if we are precieved as rude for being in disagreement of beliefs, oh well. We have many awesome customers that understand and provide appropriate homes for cats & kittens. We adopt 20 to 70 every weekend. We care deeply about the welfare of our kitties. Though we can’t please everyone, we must be doing something right.

  • Desi July 8, 2008 (12:55 am)

    I adopted a kitten 2wks ago from Kittie Harbor. Was told that everything was done for the kitten (ear mite tx, leukemia virus testing, neutering) and the kitten was in great health, so we paid the highest price. Now I am already >$100 on top of the rescue price from vet/meds since the kitten had terrible ear mites (ears started bleedng from scratching) and developed a URI with profuse discharge from nose/mouth and barely able to breathe (and is on 2 antibiotics). On top of that the vet looked over the paperwork given to me and saw no evaluation or immunizations for leukemia. I still have to test for that.

    This kitten was allowed to go into a home with another healthy cat already present. I am crossing my fingers that none of these illnesses spread to my other kittie. I wish I was given more accurate information about the health of the kitten so I could have made a better decision. This kitten was in the main room where the possiblity of spreading illness is almost certain. Please be careful with this shelter.

  • Traci July 16, 2008 (11:59 pm)

    I called Kitty Harbor a couple days ago about my specific “situation” and how I want to try to bring another cat into my home of an aggressive male that is lonely. Anybody that loves their cats know that discussions can be lengthy… :)

    The owner talked to me for about 20 full minutes about the options we have, what she can provide, everything I asked she answered patiently and honestly. I may or may not not get a cat from her, but I REALLY respect what she’s doing there.

    After the conversation I called my mom, another crazy cat person. I told her about the “no declawing” and controversial “two cats per household” policy. Her immediate response was “I LOVE HER!!” Regardless of various opinions (which are by no means unfounded), I respect that she’s doing what she feels is right for her cats.

    And Desi, that completely sucks. I worked at a vet for years and URIs are one of the messiest, saddest infections. Hopefully it’s cleared up.

  • Black cats rule! July 18, 2008 (9:59 pm)

    In May we adopted an older kitten who was about 6 months old. He is the sweetest guy ever and has taken over the household. He had arrived at Kitty Harbor two days earlier after being rescued from Death Row at another shelter in Eastern Washington. After everything he had been through, he settle right in and made himself at home.

    Our new family member did have a runny eye when we got him. It wasn’t an infection, but some kind of allergy or injury that cleared up after about one month. We understand that the cats and kittens at Kitty Harbor come from all over Washington and may have some kind of condition that has not disclosed itself to staff members or veterinarians before adoptions take place. Some cat illness can incubate for weeks before the cat shows signs of illness.

    In a perfect world our kitties would never get sick. However, when you rescue a cat or kitten you should keep in mind that they are a rescue and have probably not lived an ideal life before you adopted them. Cats and kittens, like children, get sick. Its silly to blame the shelter.

    Thanks to everyone who have saved a life!

  • Tracy Mofield August 11, 2008 (9:40 pm)

    I have never in my life met such rude and inconsiderate people in my life. My daughter adopted a cat from kitty harbor 5 months ago. A couple of days ago the kitty stoped eating and she was very concerned (she named the cat after her father who passed away when she was 12) Not having alot of money and most vets requiring payment up front she called wanting to know if they could recomend a low-cost vet. She and her boyfriend were told that they were abusing the cat and were going to be reported and arrested for animal crulety. My daughter called me hysterical not understanding why someone would do that when all she was doing was trying to find him help. I called Kitty Harbor myself and told them that my daughter called and even before I could say anything I was told that the authorities will be called and she would be arrested and they hung-up. I called back and was told not to call again and got hung-up on once again. A message was left on my daughters phone saying that they will be arrested and that they will make sure they never own a pet and they will see them in court. I reported them to the better business bureau. How could someone be so horrible. They have no idea how distraught my daughter has been over her cat and how worried she has been. I do not plan to let this go and will do everything I can to let the public know about these cruel and evil people.

  • Kitty Harbor August 12, 2008 (10:56 pm)

    The facts have been misrepresented in Ms. Mofield’s blog (A WOMAN WE HAVE NEVER MET) and it is our intention to set the record straight.

    We received a call, NOT from Ms. Mofield’s daughter, but from her boyfriend on Monday, August 11, 2008. He stated that the cat they’d adopted from us months ago was very sick, was lethargic and actively dying. He stated “the cat has not eaten or taken in water for five (5) or six (6) days and was so sick that it was losing teeth.”

    We asked what he was doing for the cat and what was wrong with it and he replied he was doing nothing and stated that he didn’t know what was wrong. When we asked if he had taken the cat to vet he said that he had not and that he did not want to pay the $100 downpayment to see a vet. He refused to take the cat to see a vet, which it urgently needed. HAD he requested a low-cost vet, we certainly could’ve referred him to several nearby. Rather his inquiry to us was if we (Kitty Harbor) had funds to pay for the cat’s vet care. We reminded him to take the cat to a vet immediately as was his responsibility under the contract they signed when they adopted the cat. Only after he rudely hung up on us and it appeared his intention was NOT to get care for the sick cat, we did call back and left a message that the cat needed to be seen by a vet IMMEDIATELY and that we would be reporting him to Animal Control for abuse and neglect. We did contact Animal Control, who saw fit to respond immediately, but they refused to answer the door.

    We will refrain from the drama and personal attacks against Ms. Mofield’s character, which she felt the need to make against us. But we DO urge everyone reading this to remember that anyone wishing to adopt an animal must be prepared for the eventual need of vet care and be willing to accept responsibility for those costs.

    It is very sad that the 1% of unhappy people who adopt really do not seem to care about the hard work of so many dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly to find loving and responsible homes for the homeless pets who need them. It is the animal who suffers and that is the saddest part.
    To disparage us and say awful things about us without benefit of knowing the facts, is irresponsible and hateful. Rather than “throwing stones” and attacking us personally in a mean spirited way, efforts should have been made to help this cat. We can only assume this cat is now dead.

  • charlabob August 14, 2008 (12:31 pm)

    My thanks to Kitty Harbor for what they do and for being willing to fight for the kittys. All of the negative opinions are understandable, though some sound like exaggerations, to say the least. Folks always have a hard time with “rules” and, imnho, Delyn’s rules are reasonable. Cats (and dogs) don’t like being only children — especially when they’re alone for long periods of time. They don’t thrive. Bottom line: cats aren’t accesories — they’re living beings with feelings and someone who knows that and advocates for them may offend you, but has every right to do so, based on what she knows.

    BTW, if you can’t afford a vet, you shouldn’t have a pet. There are lots of vets who do pro bono work, but you need to know who they are before you adopt.

    c b and the *three* katskys

  • Rachel September 14, 2008 (1:32 am)

    I have met Delyn multiple times on my daily walk on Alki. I know that she does have the best intentions for her cats as I hear Jazz music playing and running water from a fountain in the main exterior room. After reading these posts, I cannot deny that her personality may come across harsh at times but I do believe that she does want the best homes for the kittens so they will not have owners that mistreat them.

    If I could recommend two suggestions:

    1. Delyn,I understand your good intentions for the kittens and I don’t believe you should change the rules you have (ex. 2 kittens in a home) but customer service is always huge in any industry. If you cannot adopt out a kitten to a customer for whatever reason but are incredibly friendly with your response, that customer will be upset that they cannot adopt but they can’t say anything negative about the staff’s attitude at Kitty Haven. “Kill them with kindness” is always the best approach.

    2. Community: Understand that this is a facility that will only adopt out animals according to the rules. STOP getting upset that these rules do not meet your standards as their are always other adoption clinics you can adopt kittens from. These are Kitty Haven’s rules, for whatever reasons, so get over it. Also, only adopt a kitten if you can afford it. That is a no brainer.

    Lastly, please understand that we are all here to help the Kittens in one way or another. If we can focus on the main issue (adopting kittens to competent individuals) maybe we can give Delyn and her Haven a better name than it currently has. Thanks for listening to my humble opinion.

  • dee October 2, 2008 (10:12 pm)

    We just moved to the Seattle area and are looking to adopt a kitty or kitties. I stumbled on this site, but am confused by some of the comments. I’m not sure of the hours of operation, as we went there on Sunday and it wasn’t open. Could someone please let me know the paticulars of this business or let me know of any other kitty stores in this area? Thanks–Dee

  • WSB October 2, 2008 (10:36 pm)

    Hi, Dee. Welcome to Seattle! This post is a year old so I’ll e-mail this to you too in case you have trouble finding it again. If you didn’t already find it, Kitty Harbor’s own website is at:
    It says Saturday/Sunday but perhaps some different circumstances changed the hours when you went by – I would strongly advise calling first. If you have any trouble getting through, feel free to e-mail me and I can put you in touch with some other local animal advocates who might have suggestions for you. – Tracy (WSB editor/co-publisher)

Sorry, comment time is over.