Hopkins Cat Rescue, HCR, has stepped up to find permanents homes for cats through adoptions and foster care after taking ownership of the former shelter, All About Cats on March 19. Eight months later, the mother-daughter veterinary team — Dr. Deborah Hopkins, 67, and Dr. Amanda Hopkins, 31 from Bohemia, set out to renovate the facility to provide a comfortable haven for over 80 cats. Thirty of the cats came with the property and since March the Hopkinses have rescued well over 500 cats.
It’s not known why the owners of All About Cats sold the property, but the Hopkinses said they are keeping the location to help rescue and care for cats too. For the last eight years, or so, All About Cats was known as the shelter that housed cats from other shelters, found strays or abandoned, neglected or abused cats.
So when the property came up for sale, the Hopkinses jumped at the chance to annex the shelter to their veterinary practice, Meadowbrook Animal Hospital on East Sunrise Highway in Freeport. For the last 15 years, the Hopkinses have served Freeport and the greater Nassau County community with veterinary care, but now the mother-daughter medical team will share those efforts by helping felines in need.
“We want to make sure [the cats] are happy,” Amanda said.
Once they became the owners of the property, they did a massive renovation that included the entire basement, along with creating more open space for the cats to have more roaming room. The basement, Amanda explained is used to house the sicker cats that may need quarantine. The quarantine space, Amanda explained prevents other felines at the shelter from getting sick.
Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy visited the cat shelter on Nov.25 to extend his support to the Hopkinses and volunteers. During his visit, he acknowledges there was a feral cat issue in Freeport, but also noted that over the last few months the issues were getting better and thanked the Hopkinses for their hard work to provide an option that helps alleviate the ongoing issue in the community and also saves the cats.
“We really need help,” Deborah said. “Right now I am funding everything myself. But it is really helping the community and the animals.”
HCR is presently in the process of becoming a 501c3, a registered nonprofit. But while the paperwork is in the works, the shelter must go on, Deborah explained. In the meantime, Amanda said the facility provides services for some communities like Baldwin, Bellmore, Merrick, Long Beach, Seaford, Wantagh and extends as far as Queens.
“We always wanted to work with rescues,” Amanda said. “We’ve always have had the passion to do [this work]. Now that both of us are here, we finally have the opportunity to do it in the way we want to do it.”
Long Beach native, Marilyn Gales is an active volunteer spends a lot of hours in Freeport helping stray and feral cats. “Both doctors treat every cat the same,” Gales said. “Whether it’s a posh pet, or one that came off the street or a rescue — it’s important to distinguish that about this group.”
According to Deborah, when some of the cats arrive at the shelter they’re sick. That’s when her veterinary team at Meadowbrook Animal Hospital steps in to and provide “the best care for each cat.”
Under the veterinarians’ care cats receive all of the age-appropriate vaccines, get spayed or neutered, dewormed, are administered flea vaccinations and screen all at-risk cats to detect feline leukemia virus also known as SNAP tests.
Adopting a cat at HCR requires an application. Once the application is received the HCR team reviews the information and does home and background check to ensure that the cat will be adopted into a good home. Adopting fees are $150. If a person is in need to give up their cat, Amanda encourages members of the community to find alternative options, like a family member who may want to house the cat or calling local shelters like HCR that can take the cat in. However, HCR requires a donation before surrendering an animal to their shelter.
“We are doing all that we can,” Deborah said.
“If a cat comes in and it has any problems,” Amanda said. “We’re going to take care of it. They’re not going to get neglected, whether they got neglected before they got here or not.”