GEARS Sheltered Paws

The Greater Edmonton Animal Rescue Society (GEARS) Sheltered Paws opened on Saturday, October 1, 2022 with plans to operate for one year as part of Strathcona County's cat shelter pilot initiative.

The cat shelter will care for cats that are abandoned or in distress, seeking to return them to their original owner or to permanently re-home them. 

Strathcona County Council launched the cat shelter pilot initiative earlier this year, after community members identified abandoned cats as an ongoing issue in the community. Council invited non-profit animal rescue organizations to apply to run the shelter, and selected GEARS as the successful project partner. 

The County invested $100,000 to support start-up costs for GEARS Sheltered Paws. GEARS will gather data on their day-to-day operations and share a report to inform Council’s decision on the feasibility of a permanent cat shelter. 

Residents are expected to be responsible for their pet.

At a public information session on September 29, community members were invited to an open information session hosted by GEARS and Strathcona County to learn more about shelter operations, volunteer opportunities, cat fostering and the long-term goals of the project.   

Partnership roles

Non-profit operator role

GEARS, our non-profit organization partner, will operate the local cat shelter during the 12-month pilot. They will use their expertise to:

  • promote responsible cat ownership
  • promote cat identification
  • support spay and neuter programs
  • offer animal care education to cat owners
  • provide care and return/home lost and stray cats
  • collect operational data and report back to the County.

This pilot shelter is only for cats.

County role

Investing $100,000 for a 12-month pilot project to support:

  •  start-up costs for the pilot project shelter;
    • lease space
    • initial equipment needs

Timelines and next steps

  • The County and GEARS hosted an information session on Thursday, September 29 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Community Centre. Residents were invited to learn more about shelter operations, volunteer opportunities, cat fostering and the long-term goals of the project.  
  • GEARS Sheltered Paws opened on Saturday, October 1.
  • Once the pilot project cat shelter is open, GEARS and Strathcona County will gather data to inform the possibility of a permanent cat shelter.
  • After one year of operation, Council will receive a report for review.

While the licensing of domestic cats is not currently required in Strathcona County, this pilot partnership will provide the County with valuable information for promoting responsible cat ownership in the future.

The County will work with the partner to develop a community outreach strategy. The strategy will include a public component that will share this initiative’s approach and next steps.  


To learn more about GEARS Sheltered Paws, bringing in a cat that's in distress or abandoned, adopting or volunteering, contact GEARS.


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Last updated: Friday, January 19, 2024
Page ID: 51191