Ashley is soft-spoken and patient. The man who dropped her off in a cardboard box said she was a wild stray. She was shy and very pregnant.

Glossy black with intense green eyes, Shelby is a talker who demands to be noticed. When meowing doesn't work, she bangs a ball against the walls of her cage to ring the bell inside the toy.

Clancy, an energetic young tiger, is everyone's buddy. A great guy and all-around good neighbor.

Each cat at the Clatsop County Animal Shelter has a personality, and Rae Marie Zimmerling and Lori Huntley know each well.

"Laid-back, mellow, sensitive, shy, insistent; they can all be so different, just like children," says Zimmerling, a shelter volunteer.

June is Adopt-A-Shelter Cat Month. Cats are the most popular pet in the United States, surpassing dogs. Oregon ranks No. 2 in cat ownership, with a cat in at least 45 percent of homes.

"Cats love affection, they love to have people around. Believe me, even when they are less demonstrative, they are watching and listening to you. They miss you when you are gone," Zimmerling said.

She enjoys playing matchmaker between pet and person. Many people who come to the shelter to adopt have had a cat before. Some have specifics in mind. Others don't. She gently asks questions about their expectations and lifestyles.

"I just listen to what they like," she says, and steers them to likely candidates.

Open Tuesdays through Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m., the shelter is located off U.S. Highway 101 Alternate in the North Coast Business Park. Adoption fees of $55 for kittens younger than 8 months and $40 for cats 8 months and older include neutering, leukemia testing and first leukemia shot, and first four-way vaccination.

For more information, contact the shelter at 861-PETS (7387).

Volunteers neededClatsop County Animal Control is looking for volunteers to help out in the afternoons at the shelter.

Volunteers are needed to feed and walk the dogs, socialize the cats and freshen the animals' living quarters.

In addition, foster homes are needed for dogs recovering from surgery and/or illnesses. These dogs could stay with the foster home from a couple of weeks to a couple of months.

For more information or an application form, drop by the animal shelter at 1314 SE 19th St., Warrenton, Tuesday through Saturday between noon and 4 p.m., or call Volunteer Coordinator Brandi Helligso at 325-1000.

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