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Cat Adoptions and Administration are located at The Cat Box, 3015 46th Ave. N, St. Petersburg FL 33714. Dog adoptions, MEOW Now, foster, intake, and donation drop off are located at 2911 47th Ave. N, St. Petersburg FL 33714.

Friends of Strays to Open New Cat Adoptions Center

Monday, June 3, 2024

Friends of Strays to Open New Cat Adoptions Center

This is the first step in a series of expansions planned by St. Petersburg’s oldest no-kill animal shelter

 St. Petersburg, Fla. (June 3, 2024) – Next month, Friends of Strays will open a new facility for cat adoptions. The Cat Box is located at 3015 46th Ave. N, one street south of the current shelter. The facility will provide a calm, quiet environment for cats available for adoption, completely separated from our dogs. It will increase our capacity and improve the quality of life for cats in our care by providing different environments suitable for different cats while they wait to be adopted.

“We are incredibly excited to open a new space just for our cats,” said Friends of Strays Board Chair Mo Eppley. “For more than forty years, our staff and volunteers have done their very best with our current space. I think it speaks to their dedication to the well-being of the animals in our care, and to our reputation in the community, that we have been able to grow. This is great news for the dogs and cats in our care.”

The Cat Box is the first of three phases in what will be the Schwartz Family Adoption Campus at Friends of Strays. Renovations will begin soon on the Milkey Bone Dog House, next door to the Cat Box, in 2025. Once both adoption buildings are completed, the current shelter building at 2911 47th Ave. N will be transitioned for medical, intake, foster, and TNVR (trap-neuter-vaccinate-return) program needs.

The Milkey Family Foundation, organized by local philanthropists Jeanne and Kevin Milkey, has proudly placed its name on the dog adoptions building. Once completed, this building will greatly improve our capacity to take in dogs in need and take in larger dogs. Currently our shelter can house nine small-to-medium dogs and 3 large dogs; this building will raise our total capacity to 40 dogs.

“We are thrilled that the Doghouse will help even more dogs with a larger facility for them to enjoy while they wait to be adopted,” said Jeanne Milkey. “We encourage anyone who can to join in this campaign to support the work Friends of Strays is doing for dogs and cats in need.”

Friends of Strays began its journey 45 years ago with a group of volunteers who helped neighborhood cats. It’s grown into a nonprofit organization that annually adopts out over 1,800 cats and dogs and helps over 2,900 community cats get spayed/neutered and vaccinated. With this growth has come the need to expand physically.

Friends of Strays’ campus expansion was also made possible with a legacy gift from the Margie and Phil Schwartz Trust. Margie and Phil were prominent developers who played a role in the growth of the John’s Pass boardwalk. After learning of our mission, Margie and Phil decided to make this transformative planned gift to Friends of Strays. 

Their son Carl was a longtime volunteer with Friends of Strays, beginning in 2000. Carl and his wife Bonnie fostered over 20 kittens together and adopted their cat, Olive. 

“He was totally on board with the vision to move forward, I was too,” Bonnie said. "We wanted to honor what Margie and Phil wanted, and we both really felt compelled to be in an organization that helped animals and felt that Friends of Strays was doing it the right way.”

Said Friends of Strays CEO Dara Eckart: “This expansion would not have been possible without the generosity of our community. This project will cost $6 million and to date, we have raised nearly $4 million. We have many more opportunities to get involved and be a part of our expansion. I have faith and trust in our community, and know they will step up for us and the animals in our care.” 

To learn more, visit friendsofstrays.org/FOS-Future.