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Natural Awakenings Rhode Island

The Paws Watch Community Cat Center

Jan 31, 2020 09:50AM ● By Wendy Fachon

The Paws Watch Community Cat Center (CCC) is Rhode Island’s only facility dedicated to providing the best care for Rhode Island’s free-roaming cats. The Paws Watch objective is to reduce the number of outside cats in the state. This is accomplished through the trap, neuter and release (TNR) of feral cats, taking in friendly cats and socializing kittens. The center is especially busy during the kitten season, which begins in early April and runs through November. Foster homes are needed to socialize kittens, and two well-equipped playrooms offer space to host adoptions for friendly cats and kittens.

Over the past 22 years, this all-volunteer organization has trapped, neutered and released some 22,000 cats, helping people of every economic and cultural background alleviate the overpopulation of homeless cats in their neighborhood. This past year, with the support of PawsWatch, Scruffy Paws Animal Rescue and Grieco Automotive Group, the organization opened an innovative new facility in Johnston. The new space provides the services of intake, post-operative TNR medical care, socialization, adoption and community engagement all under one roof.

CCC provides volunteers with complete instructions for trapping. One volunteer, having recently trapped six cats in a local colony, delivered them to the center. An internal volunteer had prepared crates with the comforts of bedding, food, water and privacy. Co-Director Dianne LaPointe describes the Center as “the Ritz for Cats, where we treat them with respect and dignity.” The new arrivals were skillfully transferred from their traps into their temporary accommodations, and LaPointe herself examined each new arrival, lavishing it with love and compassion.

The rescue organization is always seeking more volunteers to clean litter boxes and crates, handle feeding, help with socialization, provide foster homes, build outdoor shelters, do carpentry projects, lend technical assistance, organize fundraising events, help with social media and other functions. There is an immediate volunteer need for an electrician willing to donate time installing light switches and making the building’s electric system more efficient.

Co-Director Pam Fisette states that above all, there is a need for communities across the state to recognize the feral cat population problem and organize volunteers to trap and bring the cats to local veterinarians willing to provide spaying and neutering services at a reduced cost. Community volunteers can also help by delivering friendly cats and kittens to local rescue shelters for home placement. Fisette asserts, “In a perfect world, all homes would have a cat, and all cats would have a home.”

Since CCC opened its new facility in May 2019, it has treated and released 138 cats, transferred 98 to other shelters, arranged 218 adoptions and completed 19 barn placements. Kittens and friendly cats are prepared for adoptions, then placed in forever homes through Pat-A-Cat Place and CCC’s adoption partners. Barn placement provides farmers with a natural and non-toxic method of rodent pest control. The center’s capacity is limited, however, so it is encouraging people to volunteer to take responsibility within their communities. 

The Paws Watch Community Cat Center is located at 39 Putnam Pike, Johnston. To volunteer, donate or learn more about TNR, visit or email [email protected]

Wendy Fachon is a regular contributor to the magazine and host of the Story Walking Radio Hour on the Dream Visions 7 Radio Network. Learn more at more at