West Columbia Gorge Humane Society finds temporary fix for cat shelter after leaky roof shutters building

Humane society moves felines to WellHaven clinic in Vancouver; plans to replace or repair Washougal cat shelter as soon as possible

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The West Columbia Gorge Humane Society has had to relocate its feline population after water damage from a leaky roof caused more than $30,000 in damage to its Washougal cat shelter building.

“The building was donated to us in the early 2000s to house our cats and we’ve been keeping it going for as long as we could,” said WCGHS executive director Micki Simeone.

Animal shelter employees realized something was amiss earlier this year when they noticed water leaking through a new paint job inside the cat shelter — a modular building located beside the main WCGHS on Index Street in Washougal.

“When we saw the water leaking through our fresh paint, we had contractors come out and they said we have a roof that is structurally compromised and needs to be replaced,” Simeone said.

WCGHS hopes to replace the damaged cat shelter with a larger modular structure that can accommodate the local humane society’s cat shelter needs.

“We found another ‘gently used’ building that is 600 square feet bigger and is more like a commercial building, so we can build for intake rooms, adoption rooms, sick rooms where we can quarantine,” Simeone said.

An arrangement with WellHaven Pet Health at 164th Avenue and Mill Plain Boulevard in East Vancouver allowed WCGHS to shut down its structurally compromised cat shelter on March 19. About 20 volunteers spent four hours on Sunday, March 21, moving the humane society’s cats to the Vancouver clinic.

The new location will house WCGHS cats that are up for adoption for the foreseeable future.

The Vancouver cat shelter will be open by appointment only, and interested adoptive families looking for cats are urged to visit the WCGHS website at to see cats available for adoption, or call the humane society at 360-835-3464 to have staff help match families with a suitable cat or kitten.

WCGHS is still housing its dogs at its main building in Washougal, at 2675 Index St., but that shelter also is operating on an appointment-only basis during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Simeone said the humane society is working with the city of Washougal and the Port of Camas-Washougal, which owns the land where the animal shelter is located, to help expedite a permitting process for the new cat shelter that could take as long as nine months.

“We’ve been told it could take six to nine months, which seems excessive,” Simeone said. “We’ve reached out to the city and asked them to help expedite this. The longer we’re displaced, the more it hurts us financially … and the more hardship that causes for the community.”