WORCESTER, Mass. — On Saturday, an adoption event in Worcester helped some adorable cats and kittens find a new home.

As it turns out, the story behind the nonprofit Hope Haven Pet Rescue is just as heartwarming as the homeless cats and kittens they helped find a happy home for.

What You Need To Know

  • A Worcester nonprofit aimed at helping out-of-state shelter cats find homes held its first event Saturday

  • Emily Patton got the idea for Hope Haven Pet Rescue after adopting 25 out-of-state cats that would've likely been put down

  • The organization is 100% volunteer-run, and is always looking for help

  • Emily was "overwhelmed" by the response to the first adoption event

During the pandemic, Emily Patton lost her job, and said she "needed to get out of town for a little bit."

She went on a road trip with her mom, and came back with 25 cats.

“I filled up my car with cats, this is an animal shelter down South that is just extremely overcrowded,” Patton said. “This particular batch had some pretty serious illnesses, and then I found them homes.”

Patton has been working and volunteering at animal shelters off and on for 30 years, and felt particularly inspired to adopt that day because some cats likely would’ve been put down, had she not been in the right place at the right time.

“In the area of the country where I was, there are no homes, and here, it was amazing how quickly I found homes for them,” Patton said. “New England and Massachusetts in particular are so progressive compared to the rest of the country on animal welfare issues. There’s an opportunity here to help animals out-of-state.”

Her spur of the moment adoption spree gradually turned into the full-fledged nonprofit Hope Haven Pet Rescue.

On Saturday, Patton and her fellow volunteers took a big step forward in their mission.

“She mainly does foster rescue and we keep them in our homes, so this is the first in person event she’s had, and I think it’s been very successful so far,” said Jen MacDonald.

With dozens of people stopping by the Burncoat Arts and Wellness Center hoping to adopt, it was more than Patton had even dreamed of — a sign that her hard work is paying off for her and her kittens.

“I am overwhelmed, I’m really overwhelmed, I expected people to want to adopt kittens and be around kittens, because who doesn’t love kittens,” Patton said. “I’m overwhelmed by the - sorry I’m really emotional about it — I’m overwhelmed by the positive response.”

Patton said there’s always a need for volunteers, with more opportunities opening up as the organization grows. You can reach her through the Hope Haven Pet Rescue Facebook page.