So, some of the cats who come to the cat room come from prison -- specifically, the detention center at Monroe, Washington, about thirty-five miles from the cat room. Here's a recent article describing the program:
Basically these are feral cats, most of them from hoarders and cat colonies. Many have never had an owner so they tend to panic when picked up or touched. The prisoners socialize the animals, holding and interacting with them until they come to associate humans with more than just food.
And since it never rains but it pours (as they say in Bree),* here's another recent story about a joint effort by a number of animal-rescue groups to help offset the lack of community resources to take care of the cat local population in Hilo, Hawaii (on the Big Island). I wdn't be at all surprised if some of these abandoned strays and feral cat-colony cats wind up at Purrfect Pals.
--current reading: THE RIFT
*the weather report suggests we'll be able to test this maxim ourselves soon