This spring the Cat Care Society hired Heather Allen as the new Shelter Manager and in just a short time, she has brought about many positive changes. After a crowdfunding campaign over the summer, the CCS has new and improved cat kennels in the Receiving and Isolation Rooms.
Heather Allen came to the Cat Care Society after serving in animal welfare and rescue for many years. She most recently came from Paradise 4 Paws, the luxury pet boarding facility at Denver International Airport. She has also worked at Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue and Angels with Paws. Right after coming to CCS, she led two successful crowdfunding campaigns with Love Animals.org. One helped pay for medical care of an injured cat while the other helped the shelter raise money for the new kennels. The kennels arrived last month and are now in place in the Receiving Room, where new cats are housed temporarily, and also in the Isolation Rooms where sick cats are housed while they recover from illnesses.
The Receiving Room is the first place the cats are housed when they arrive at the shelter. Since a majority of new arrivals are strays, they need to be separated from the adoptable cats. In the Receiving Room the cats are observed to check behavior and for signs of illness before they can join the adoptable cats. Allen says some cats are kept up to two weeks or even longer if they have trouble adapting to the shelter. Allen says this can often happen with older cats who were surrendered after the death of an owner. They can have trouble eating and sleeping because of the unfamiliar environment. Having a comfortable kennel to stay in while they make this transition is important.
The new kennels are not cages. They don’t have wires. The larger kennels can hold up to 15 pounds, seven pounds more than the previous kennels. That means the shelter can put two cats together in one kennel, which is good for increasing intake or, if the cats came into together as a bonded pair, they can stay together. Same with kitten litters. Some of the new kennels, which come in pairs, also have a pass through hole in the center that the shelter can close off if necessary. When there is room, cats can have two kennels and can spread out or moms can be put next to their kittens and share space. When there are more cats coming into the shelter, the Receiving Room will have more kennels. There are currently 10 cats in receiving, but that could change at any time. One of the cats currently in the room was found at the shelter’s front door over the weekend.
There are also a few new kennels in the newly expanded Isolation Room. Most of the cats are strays and often stray cats have respiratory and other infections that are contagious. The cats are kept from the general at population where they receive care and a calm environment. Allen says the new kennels are more comfortable and a comfortable, relaxed environment can help a cat recover quicker. To keep diseases from spreading, anyone who enters this area must step in a bleach bath to protect shoes and use antibacterial lotion on their hands. These lotions are kept outside of each cat room in the shelter to ensure a germ-free space for the cats in the shelter’s care.
These new kennels will allow the shelter to house 40 more cats and kittens this year and thus save more lives. The shelter currently has 73 cats available for adoption, however, there are kittens in foster care that should be available around Thanksgiving. Allen has plans to raise money for a few more kennels to finish the cat Isolation Room area, but that won’t happen until January. For the holidays Allen and the rest of the shelter staff are getting ready for its Santa Paws festival on December 5 and 6 and Allen is also looking forward to Colorado Gives Day on Tuesday, December 8. To everyone who donated to the LoveAnimals.org fundraising campaign, Allen and everyone at the shelter says “thank you.”
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