Cat Enrichment

Heidi's Village: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Cat enrichment items

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

We used the grant to purchase enrichment items for our cats, including cubbies for their kennels, cat grass, scratch pads, and a music player. These items are providing lots of enrichment opportunities for the cats we have waiting for adoption. The idea behind the cubbies was to give fearful kitties a place to hide, and they do work for that purpose! Having that safe spot is so important to reduce the cats’ stress levels. However, there are also plenty of kittens who prefer to use their cubbies as jungle gyms or launching boards from which to hop around their kennels. Whatever makes them happy!

The scratchers are GREAT for the kitties, both for their claws and to help them stretch their bodies. They also like to “mark” their scratching posts, so once we’ve given a cat a scratcher (we’ve been giving them to every kitty who comes in), that scratcher moves with them wherever they go in the Village to provide a sense of security and familiarity, and then it goes home with them when they get adopted! We also like to rub dry scents like catnip, lavender and chamomile onto the scratchers to provide some fun scent enrichment.

The cats LOVE the cat grass. We’ve had our shyest cats (even Freddy!) come out to check out the cat grass. We regularly spread a little in their kennels, but we also keep a cat-grass plant growing in the window in our adoption suite. I think it gives them a little something to grab their attention and help them relax during meet-and-greets, since so many of them get nervous in those situations.

How many pets did this grant help?

225

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Yzma was one of our most energetic kittens! She was constantly bouncing off the walls of her kennel, or trying to “door dash.” We all thought she was hilarious, so she was a favorite around here. She thought the cubby was the best thing ever — she had so much fun climbing it, bouncing off of it, or just dashing in and out of it. The scratcher was also super great for her — she loved to scratch, but I also caught her climbing it on a pretty regular basis. We rubbed lots of calming lavender on it for her too, which she seemed to love! Yzma was adopted into her forever home recently, too!

Arizona Animal Welfare League: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The $400 received from the Petfinder Foundation was used to buy cat-enrichment items to build out a full cat-enrichment plan for our cats in the shelter. With these funds, we were able to purchase Happy Habitat play tents, kitten harnesses, target sticks and clickers, agility hoop jumps, and puzzle feeders and toys.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

In order to reduce the amount of stress for our cats and kittens housed at the shelter, we implemented an enrichment plan that will provide overall enrichment to the cats and kittens in our care and provide special, targeted training and activities for cats and kittens whose enrichment needs are not met by general enrichment alone. This enrichment plan would be in addition to our current socialization and reading-to-shelter-animals programs.

Targeted populations of cats (kittens, teens and active adults, geriatric cats, and shy and unsocialized cats) also had enhanced enrichment plans that targeted the use of specific items purchased with this grant for their specific needs.

By providing enrichment activities that lower the animals’ stress levels, we are reducing our incidence of illness and helping our cats and kittens put their best paws forward when meeting and interacting with potential adopters.

How many pets did this grant help?

1,800

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

This is the story of River, one smart and bored 6-month-old kitten. River is a Bengal cat who had known personality traits that made it harder for him to find his right adopter. He stayed with us for almost three weeks before being adopted.

These enrichment items came at the right time for him. Cats who are both smart and bored face special problems in the shelter environment. They require an enhanced level of enrichment activities to keep them engaged and to prevent their boredom from becoming destructive behavior.

River used the puzzle feeders and puzzle toys to keep his mind occupied by a learning activity. We also harness-trained him, so we were able to take him for walks around the main shelter building, giving him the opportunity for exploration and interacting with the people he met on his walks. The volunteers were able to use the target sticks and clickers to work with River, teaching him basic behaviors and simple tricks that kept River engaged while also increasing his chance of adoption.

Because of his breed, it was very important for River to have opportunities for both physical and mental enrichment. Thanks to the Petfinder Foundation grant, we were able to offer River suitable enrichment by providing him with appropriate toys like the Kick Stix, a puzzle feeder, and a harness and leash for taking walks outside his room.

River finally did get adopted into a great home. His new adopter has already shared pictures with us and says that she believes he was just lonely in the shelter, as he now is living with many animal friends and is a great addition to their family. He even has his own Instagram page, @RiverMonster2020.

Golden Belt Humane Society: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Funds received for the Cat Enrichment Grant were used to purchase a laser light, a battery-operated butterfly toy, cat balls, string/feather on a stick toys, catnip and grass, a battery operated feather on wheels, and individual cat scratch pads for the kennels.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The Cat Enrichment Grant helped nearly 350 cats with socialization among each other in playgroups, to learn trust with humans, and to provide something to keep them busy while in their individual kennels.

We are very grateful and thankful to have been awarded this grant, as it has helped make the cats’ socialization much better.

How many pets did this grant help?

350 cats

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Fritz Kitty (first and second photos) was brought to us when he was merely three days old. He was placed with a pregnant cat who was releasing milk and about to pop herself. She was such a great mom and Fritz thrived with her. He hit some rough patches when an upper-respiratory infection took over, but after medications, he was on the road to recovery. He remained shy and timid for most of his stay, even with being handled on a daily basis. After he was well enough to hang out in different playgroups, the different toys that were either battery-operated or used by human hands helped Fritz to interact more with other cats, and with humans. He started coming out of his shell and asking for pets instead of running away to hide. After nearly six months at the shelter, he finally landed himself a forever home and has become a lap kitty (third photo)!

Humane Society of Pulaski County: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

We used the grant to purchase all-new cat furniture for our free-range cat room. We were able to purchase four play/climbing/sleep towers to replace our old, dirty furniture.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

This grant will give our cats so much more opportunity to play, explore, and sleep comfortably. The furniture is easily cleaned and disinfected, which will allow us to control outbreaks of illness better. We’ll also be able to have more cats in our free-range room at a time.

The new furniture will also allow us to take better videos to share on our social media. Having a nice room with nice furniture makes all the difference.

How many pets did this grant help?

This will help hundreds of cats each year.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Fluffy Pants (first photo) had been with us for several months and had taken quite a bit of time to warm up to people. He was in one of the first groups of cats to experience the new furniture. He loved it and was able to play with his fellow cats right up until he was adopted several days after the new furniture arrived! So glad that this sweet boy got to experience that fun before leaving!

Humane Society of Greater KC: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The money from this Cat Enrichment grant was used to purchase Kitty Kasas for our shelter cats.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

Kitty Kasas provide our shelter cats with a safe space, which has been shown to help reduce stress. We also purchased some “recreational” Kasas, which include scratch posts and dangling poof balls for the cats to play with. This is all in an effort to help make our cats as comfortable and as happy as possible while they are in our care.

How many pets did this grant help?

85

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Two cats, sisters named Vivian and Vanessa, were recently taken in by our shelter after our outreach team found them abandoned in our community. They love each other and are awaiting adoption as a bonded pair. Because of this, they have not been integrated into our general population and instead have been hanging out in the offices of some of our cattery attendants. Lucky Vivian and Vanessa were the first cats to experience the new Kitty Kasas! We’ve attached some photos, but I think it’s safe to say they have the Vs’ seal of approval!

Lucky's Cat House: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The funds were utilized to build/purchase a removable outdoor cat enclosure and decking. Our friendly cat population spends their initial time in Lucky’s Cat House recuperating from being rescued from deplorable conditions, and from what is oftentimes lifesaving vet care, as well as their spay/neuter, vaccinations, and flea and tick prevention. The cats are maintained indoors in cat suites. They are gradually introduced to experiences with other cats and dogs and living with humans. This gives us the opportunity to learn about their personalities and preferences to ensure the best placement possible.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The 2020 Petfinder Foundation Cat Enrichment grant has helped Lucky’s Cat House and the cats and kittens in our care. Many of Lucky’s rescue cats and kittens come from deplorable conditions and require extra care and socialization before becoming adoptable. The outdoor cat enclosures and decking provide our kitties with extra enrichment by providing them a safe, clean and secure outdoor experience. As recuperation and socialization work begin, Lucky’s is now able to offer additional activities and offer the cats an opportunity to create a positive experience while in an enclosed space, effectively enabling faster and easier socialization and shorter recuperations and lengths of stay. The outdoor enclosures reduce environmental stress and the overall health of many of the kitties in our care. As a result of lowering the number of stress-induced illnesses by offering outdoor enrichment, Lucky’s Cat House has saved money by reducing the amount spent on antibiotic medications.

How many pets did this grant help?

100

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Though many cats and kittens will continue to benefit from the outdoor cat enclosures, currently one kitty stands out. Oscar is a beautiful 7-month-old neutered male. He was found hanging by his front paw in a construction dumpster after a unknown length of time.

Having suffered severe ligament and muscle damage, Oscar was on cage rest for three months to heal his injuries. With the veterinarian’s approval, he was slowly allowed to venture out of his crate to start to regain strength.

Scared and weak from his injury, Oscar would hide and isolate himself from the other cats and kittens. When the outdoor enclosure was built and we opened the door for the kitties to explore, Oscar was one of the first ones to venture into the amazing space. Oscar has now become outgoing and friendly, no longer hiding; he is thriving. His veterinarian has also credited the outdoor enclosure with helping to rebuild Oscar’s strength and improve his leg usage by allowing him an opportunity to climb and jump without the chance of reinjury.

Oscar is now available for adoption and looking for his forever home. Meet Oscar here.

R&R Rescue & Resort: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

We were able to purchase enrichment materials for our cat room. We purchased a five-way tunnel, a set of play toys, a set of mechanical fish toys, two small storage bins for the cat toys, wall climbing shelves and hammocks, a new large climbing/scratch tower, a smaller scratch post, and an automatic litter box.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

This grant allowed us to offer more play time and overall enrichment of quality of life to the cats in our care. Multiple cats and kittens have already benefited from the supplies we were able to purchase, and I know that they are enjoying life more with the supplies and toys we were able to purchase thanks to this grant!

How many pets did this grant help?

So far, this grant has helped 15 cats and counting!

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Jasmine came to us as a stray feral kitten. She learned about the litter box quickly using the automatic litter box. Thanks to the toys we were able to purchase, Jasmine (and her bonded partner, Tinkerbell) learned that the Cat Room is a fun place to be, and learned quickly to play with the toys and interact with humans in a fun, positive way.

Jasmine and Tinkerbell were adopted together and are better able to interact with people thanks to the supplies and toys we were able to purchase with this grant!

Animal Protective Association of Missouri: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

We used the funding provided by the Petfinder Foundation to purchase hidey boxes for cats in our care.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The shelter can be a stressful place for any animal, no matter how hard we try to make it a comfortable, safe space. For cats, having a place to hide can help them feel more secure and reduce their stress. The hidey boxes purchased with this funding made an incredible difference to pets cared for at the APA. With the support of the Petfinder Foundation, we were able to make sure that every cat had their own hidey box.

How many pets did this grant help?

334

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Wilma and Gizmo were very shy cats who arrived at the APA through our transfer program. They were both terrified and had a difficult time coping with their new environment. With the help of the hidey boxes, which they utilized often, and a lot of love and patience from our team, they eventually began to trust people and become more comfortable.

They didn’t receive many adopter visits at first, but then one day a kind woman came in and wanted to meet both of them. Because they were bonded, we were elated that someone expressed interest in adopting both of them. When they were put into a meeting room with this potential adopter, they curled up to her as if she was their chosen person. As it turns out, they were her chosen cats, as well. She took them both home.

The hidey boxes made a significant impact on Wilma and Gizmo’s ability to adjust during their temporary stay in the shelter, and ultimately, because they were able to relax and trust humans, they found their forever home.

We are so grateful for the support of the Petfinder Foundation. Wilma, Gizmo, and their new family are grateful, as well.

Independence Animal Services: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The grant money was used to buy several items that will enhance the lives of our cats as they wait to be adopted. We purchased two exercise wheels, several boxes of Feliway calming spray, several interactive cat toys, several scratching pads, catnip, puzzle feeders, and an incredible cat house which includes three stories with cubbies and hideaways.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

These items are incredibly helpful for our cats, especially during the pandemic. We have been closed to the public since March 2020, and we have not been able to allow volunteers inside the building since then. The majority of cat enrichment and socialization was done by our devoted volunteers, so our cats have been needing extra help to get energized and enthusiastic.

The exercise wheels provide the cats with an exciting stimulus to break their day-to-day drawl of just hanging out in their rooms. The exercise is particularly helpful for some of our overweight cats! The Feliway calming spray is helpful for new cats who are unsure of the shelter environment, or for cats who have experienced tragic lives.

The toys, scratching pads, catnip, and puzzle feeders give the cats several opportunities to utilize their brains, which can be so important for older cats. The cat house is set up in front of a window that overlooks natural scenery, giving the cats a pleasant view that differs from their typical kennel walls.

This was an amazing opportunity to make sure our cats are exercising, using their brains, and not succumbing to depression.

How many pets did this grant help?

At least 50 cats so far, but many more in the future will be helped!

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Kathy is a 9-year-old cat who has been at our shelter since mid-June. It took her quite some time to open up, and we were concerned about her mental well-being. However, enrichment toys and changing her scenery have definitely brought her out of her shell! She is now an incredibly loving cat who loves to talk to you. Our goal is to get her to use the exercise wheel, as she’s a little overweight. She is not yet adopted, but we know that she is close to finding her forever home! Meet Kathy here.

Helping Hands Humane Society: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The money was used to purchase a myriad of items to be used for daily cat enrichment. These included bulk purchases of catnip, pipe cleaners, bubble makers, bird-noise CDs, treats, CD players, feather toys, and more!

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

This grant allowed us to purchase supplies that we were out of or otherwise would not have been able to obtain to give the cats a different kind of enrichment, seven days a week. These enrichment items are distributed to the cats throughout the building to help break up the monotony of their stay in the shelter.

How many pets did this grant help?

From Aug. 1 to the current date, our humane society has taken in and cared for more than 600 cats and kittens. These enrichment items have been used to help entertain and enrich all of those felines’ lives during their stays with us.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Although this grant has helped to enrich all the lives of the cats in our care, there are a few who stand out. One cat, Periwinkle (first photo), was a 6-month old kitten who had an aggressive play style. He wasn’t a mean kitten, but he didn’t have much self-control and would nip and scratch people when trying to play.

This grant allowed us to purchase interactive toys so cats like Periwinkle could safely play with them instead of human hands or feet. The toy we gave Periwinkle was just a wobbling base with jingle bells inside and a short feather attachment, but he absolutely loved it. We were even able to send it home with him, so he had one of his favorite things in a new environment, but also to help his family entertain him and continue working on his self-control and behavior intervention.

A second cat that I distinctly remember was a large tomcat named Binx (second photo). He was a very sweet cat, but shy, and spent most of his time high up on one of the shelves we have built into the walls. He would come down with a fair amount of coaxing for pets, but otherwise he really just kept to himself.

After winning the grant money, we were able to purchase some battery-operated toys to periodically place in the rooms for the cats to enjoy. One such toy had a feather attached to a pole that would spin around and go back and forth to entice the cats, and when I placed this toy in the room, Binx immediately came down from the shelf to play with it.

While Binx was playing with the toy, several potential adopters walked through and watched him having a blast with it. Not long after, he ended up getting adopted by a wonderful family.