Longest resident at Cat Adoption Team finds home after spending nearly her entire life in shelter.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Brittany Chandler, of Beaverton, pets Lacey, a 6-year-old tabby at Sherwood's Cat Adoption Team. The cat was adopted on Sunday after 5 years of waiting, according to the shelter.The average cat at Sherwood's Cat Adoption Team animal shelter is adopted by a family in two to four weeks.

Few take as long as 90 days.

Lacey, a sweet, 6-year-old-domestic short-hair, waited five years.

Lacey was adopted on Sunday by a Beaverton woman after news of the cat’s long journey to adoption went viral online.

Cat Adoption Team, the all-kitty animal shelter located at 14175 S.W. Galbreath Drive, has cared for Lacey for the past two years. Last week, the shelter posted a story chronicling Lacey’s attempts at adoption to its website, hoping that it would help land her a loving family.

Lacey holds the record for longest stay at Cat Adoption Team, said spokeswoman Heather Svoboda, which takes in thousands of cats and kittens each year from animal shelters across the state.

No one knows if Lacey has ever had a family. Found in a landfill in May 2010, she was taken to the Florence Area Humane Society. Lacey was about a year old, veterinarians guessed, and pregnant. Her ears were full of mites and she was covered in fleas.

Lacey gave birth and her kittens were soon adopted, but Lacey wasn’t. She lived at the shelter for three years, until the humane society sent her to Cat Adoption Team in Sherwood.

“They asked if we were willing to give her a try,” Svoboda said.

It didn't take long for staff and volunteers at CAT to take a shine to Lacey, Svoboda said. They tried everything to get her adopted.

“We tried her in the kennel, we tried her in the play room, we tried her with other cats, but she’s never seemed very comfortable in the shelter,” Svoboda said.

They tried to incentivize adopters by making her a part of shelter promotions, and even tried to give her away, offering to waive her adoption fees completely for adopting families, Svoboda sad.

There were no takers.

“She continued to be overlooked,” Svoboda said.

The reason for adopters' lack of interest is something of a mystery, Svoboda said, but the stress of living in a shelter for so long has left its mark. She gets overstimulated quickly, and had stress-related health and behavioral issues.

“She’s very people oriented and wants attention, but then she’d get nippy or swatty and that makes it difficult for her to endear herself to an adopter,” Svoboda said.

Lacey, a 6-year-old domestic short-hair spent nearly her entire life in animal shelters before she was adopted on Sunday by a Beaverton woman, according to Cat Adoption Team.Two months ago, the shelter found a foster home for Lacey. Getting out of the shelter changed her, Svoboda said. Her health and personality improved greatly.

“She’s a super dedicated cat — once she’s decided you’re ‘her’ person, she’s very chatty, affectionate, and becomes attached,” said Dan Oberst, who fostered Lacey.

But a permanent home still eluded her, until this week, after a blog post on the organization's website changed everything.

“She was going on five years at the shelter, and we wanted to give her a chance to go home,” said Svoboda. “That news story went out on Monday, and she was adopted over the weekend.”

The post was shared online on social media and was eventually seen by Brittany Chandler, of Beaverton, who saw the post on her Facebook page and knew that she had to give Lacey the home she’s been looking for.

“A friend of a friend was tagged and it came up on my feed,” she told The Times on Tuesday. “I thought, ‘There's no way she's still available,' but she was.”

Chandler is no stranger to taking in the lost or abused.

“I’m a sucker for sad animal stories,” Chandler said. “I’m the girl who takes in homeless pets. My family thinks that I’m crazy.”

Chandler brought the cat home on Sunday and said that after only a few days, Lacey is already a changed cat.

“She’s doing very well,” Chandler said. “How the heck has nobody adopted this cat before now? She’s so sweet. She head-butts me and nestles up to me. She’s super cute.”

Svoboda said everyone at Cat Adoption Team has been waiting for this day.

“It’s wonderful for Lacey,” Svoboda said. “We consider a cat a ‘long-termer’ if they are with us for 90 days. Lacey was way beyond that. She lived almost her whole life in a shelter. No cat should experience that. Not when there are so many homes available.”

Svoboda said that the shelter has another longtime resident in need of a home.

A cat named Allegory has been at the shelter off-and-on for the past two years. She has been adopted and returned to the shelter more than once.

"She’s a lot like Lacey,” Svoboda said. “She’s very loving, but she has a short fuse.”

For more information about Cat Adoption Team, call 503-925-8903 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

By Geoff Pursinger
Assistant Editor, The Times
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