Cats and prisoners program celebrates a successful four years

Life With Cats is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page.


Humane society volunteers and prisoners at a Southwest Washington correctional facility are celebrating the success of a cat socialization program started four years ago.

“We’re only one of a few places in the country matching cats with prisoners,” said Caroline Reiswig, a volunteer with the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society. “Unwanted animals are rehabilitated and then we can adopt them into loving homes.”

Caroline was speaking with local TV station KGW for a feature on the cat program at Larch Corrections Center in Yacolt, Washington, which has saved 57 cats. The cats helped by the program would otherwise have languished for years in shelters or have been killed.

“I think it works because we have all the time to spare,” inmate Thomas Miller told KGW News. “We can teach them to have a better life.”

“They might hiss, even bite and scratch at first, but time and patience turns them around,” inmate Roy Nehl said.

Inmates are willing to wait for months in order to be selected for the program that has each cat living with two inmates in a 10-by-1o-foot room. Inmates selected for the program cannot have any violent or abusive issues in their past.

The cats go on to find their forever homes after being socialized at the prison, with an average stay of 30 days, though some cats remain far longer.

“It’s hard not to get attached,” said Miller. “But giving them a second chance feels like we’re making the most of our time in here.”

Watch the new KGW feature on the program:


See our earlier posts on the Larch Corrections Center program:

Cuddly Catz Prison Program Helps Socialize Cats

Prison Program Socializes a New Crop of Cats and Kittens to Prepare Them For Adoption

Prisoners Caring for Cats Program Has Continued Success

1 thought on “Cats and prisoners program celebrates a successful four years”

Leave a Comment