Cat Enrichment

ACT V Rescue & Rehabilitation: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

We used our grant money to buy the following cat enrichment items: catnip toys, cat trees, wand toys, cat tunnels, turbo scratchers, freeze-dried minnow treats and a heated cat bed.

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

This grant helped ACT V Rescue & Rehabilitation by providing additional funds to purchase important enrichment items for our cats in foster care. Because we received these additional funds, we are able to send favorite wand toys with our cats to their adoptive homes. In doing this, our volunteers have an opportunity to coach adoptive homes on how important play is for indoor cats. Our cats will benefit from this engagement with their new owners in different ways. Cats who engage more frequently with their owners will become more social overall, which increases the likelihood of them remaining in their adoptive homes. Cats who receive enrichment and are given a chance to participate in instinctual play will be happier and display fewer undesirable behaviors.

The items purchased with scratching surfaces allow us to provide appropriate choices for our cats to scratch. Teaching and reinforcing these appropriate choices benefits our adoptive homes, as scratching furniture (or other inappropriate surfaces) is often an undesirable cat behavior. Our adoption contract requires adopters to agree to a strict “no declaw” policy, and we want to help set families up for success.

Cat tunnels provide a place for our cats and kittens to hide and stalk each other during play. Hiding, stalking and pouncing are instinctual cat behaviors (related to hunting prey). We posted a great video of this on our Facebook page (the Petfinder Foundation was tagged). Tunnels also provide a place to have some privacy and rest, something that is important for cats who like to have a quiet space to retreat at times.

The freeze-dried minnow treats have been used to make vet visits less stressful.

How many pets did this grant help?

Since receiving this grant, we have provided foster homes with enrichment items for 30 cats.

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

Penny (first four photos) is a 1-year-old female dilute tortie. Her mom was a pregnant barn cat who came into rescue through another organization. Once her kittens were born, it was obvious that two of them had serious health issues. In May of 2019, ACT V Rescue & Rehabilitation was asked to help, and the two sick kittens were transferred into our care. Since then, we have been unable to find a medical diagnosis for Penny. She has seen multiple ophthalmologists and a dermatologist; had skin biopsies, x-rays, and urine, blood and stool tests; been on multiple medication trials for her skin/eyes/ears; and been on food trials.

While we have made some progress, she continues to struggle with the same symptoms: flaky skin, coarse coat, eye drainage and ear debris build-up. She grooms as she should, but is unable to keep herself clean. This means she needs frequent eye cleanings and baths, something that is hard for a cat to have regularly. Because traditional medical interventions alone did not resolve Penny’s symptoms, and her health and quality of life are important to us, we decided to use an integrative medical approach.

Penny’s current treatment regimen includes having her eyes wiped out every one to two days, monthly baths and ear cleanings, and monthly acupuncture sessions (second photo), including both a traditional medical check-up and a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) assessment. Her medications are a low-dose steroid, TCM herbs, an anti-anxiety medication and a probiotic.

Penny has been in her foster home for more than a year. Her favorite things in life are sparkle balls, freeze-dried minnows (third photo), her dachshund foster sister, and her heated bed (fourth photo).

Penny enjoys her acupuncture visits. The vet staff take great care to make sure Penny’s vet visits are positive, since she goes so often. At these visits, we give her time to play with her sparkle balls and lots of freeze-dried minnows. At home, she uses her heated bed almost daily. We got this bed for her so she would have a warm place to dry off after baths, which she loves to do. Thanks to the Petfinder Foundation grant, we had funds to stock up on Penny’s favorite treats and toys and we also bought her heated cat bed.

The staff at Penny’s vet clinic love her personality and look forward to her visits. Penny’s foster family describe her as sweet, funny and adorable. We hope that someday a family will come forward who is willing to take on Penny’s chronic medical issues. Until then, we are committed to giving her the best we can. Thank you, Petfinder Foundation, for helping us do that!

Kzoo Cat Cafe and Rescue: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

We used our generous cat enrichment grant from the Petfinder Foundation to purchase a kitty running wheel and new cat trees for cats to play, climb and hide in.

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

While they are living at the cafe and waiting for a forever home, we know that it is so important for the kitties to have enrichment for their mental and physical health. Our kitties love to play with our customers and volunteers and love to run around and play with each other, but we are always looking out for new and creative ways to enrich their bodies and minds. Our kitties are housed in a cage-free community area and the more socialized, playful and interactive they are, the more likely they are to catch someone’s eye and get adopted!

How many pets did this grant help?

47+

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

Since we set up the kitty running wheel, one of our adoptable kitties, Marley (first and second photos), was the first to figure it out and LOVES running around and around chasing toys or treats. He is a sweet boy with a LOT of energy and the running wheel is a great way for him to play, interact with people and burn off some energy. When you live with 50+ cats, it can sometimes be overwhelming, but Marley has been able to stand out to customers and volunteers when he “shows off” by running on the cat wheel. Marley is still looking for a forever home. You can meet him here.

Animal Advocates: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The following items were purchased and/or custom designed to fit shelter space:

1. Materials to build custom-designed window-sill perches as well as wall-mounted perches.
2. Cat trees of various sizes.
3. Scratchy ramps to both provide tactile enrichment as well as to provide access to reach the new window-sill perches.
4. Interactive toys.

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

Many of our animals came to us when their previous owners were forced to relinquish pets under difficult circumstances. Others come from high[-intake] shelters that are only able to keep animals for a short period of time. These circumstances and transitions can be stressful for animals.

We think it is imperative to the physical and social well-being of cats that they be provided with a variety of enrichment activities and positive interactions with volunteers to develop the animal-human bond and provide stress relief and exercise.

The grant was utilized to help provide an array of furnishings and enrichment activities that meet the needs of our cat population, focusing on their physical and social well-being, including:

1. Custom Designed Window-Sill and Wall-Mounted Perches: A main goal of the project was to design a better use of the bank of windows so the cats can perch for a good view outside and to sit in the sun.
2. Cat Trees: All of the original cat trees in the shelter were used, donated products that were worn and beyond repair. Several new trees of various sizes were purchased as replacements.
3. Scratching-Post Ramps: The ramps were purchased to both provide tactile enrichment as well as to provide access for all cats, regardless of age or physicality, to reach the new window-sill perches.
4. Interactive Toys: The interactive, human-cat enrichment toys were purchased so that our volunteers can help build trusting relationships with the cats and provide adequate exercise.
5. Feline-Human Friendly Bench: The bench was designed to include both comfortable seating for the volunteers and lounging spaces for the cats.
6. In addition to directly benefiting the cats, we feel that the improvements we were able to make also added to the aesthetics of the shelter space, making it a more comfortable environment for our volunteers and visitors.

How many pets did this grant help?

Animal Advocates rescues and re-homes 150 animals per year, many of whom are fostered in our shelter space.

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

A local devoted animal lover and cat rescuer found her life and the lives of 15 animals upended after a devastating fire left her home uninhabitable. One of these animals was Orangey, a 3-year-old tabby cat (first photo). With all the familiar surroundings of home gone and his caregiver not present, Orangey came to Animal Advocates stressed and wary of new people. Along with the renovation to the shelter space has also come a “renovation” to Orangey’s demeanor. The new cat perches and larger window-sill perches allow easier access for a cat of Orangey’s size and agility. Orangey is often found relaxed, sun-bathing on a window perch. The new interactive wand toys have provided a tool by which volunteers have worked diligently to gain Orangey’s trust, slowly helping him to learn that he is in a safe, loving environment.

Orangey is still searching for a forever home with loving, patient individuals. We believe the updated furnishings and enrichment toys purchased with the grant have directly impacted Orangey, as well as the other cats, helping him take great strides in sociability and increasing the likelihood of a successful adoption. Meet Orangey here.

Operation Kindness: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

We very gratefully used the $1,000 for the following enrichment products for our shelter cats and kittens:

Window-mounted beds: $200
Robotic cat toys: $200
Kitty Kongs: $175
Hide-a-beds: $125
Cat scratchers for all cats: $200
Special-diet cat treats (calming, hairball): $100

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

The Petfinder Foundation Cat Enrichment grant helped us grow our existing cat-enrichment programs and help 145 cats and kittens enjoy their stay at the shelter until they found their forever homes. Shelter animal enrichment is an important element of the care given to the animals at Operation Kindness. Enrichment is essential to animals in shelters, since traditionally they are confined for long periods of time, which can cause stress. Further, animals experiencing prolonged stress are subject to more illnesses due to a suppressed immune system.

While, on average, animals are in our care for 22 days, we recognize the importance of giving them the very best overall healthcare while they are with us. In order to combat the stress they may feel, we offer physical activities and mental stimulation to help keep their minds active and healthy while they are waiting for their forever homes. For cats, life is all about predictability and control. In a shelter environment, those are two things that are hard to come by for our kitties. We make our best effort to make sure each of our cats is comfortable and confident by providing them with all of their basic needs as well as toys to play with — both interactive and solitary-play toys — as well as things to climb on and beds to hide in if they choose.

Our largest and most effective enrichment program for our cats is our Smarty Cats program. We have more than 60 volunteers who work with our fearful and under-socialized cats to get them feeling more comfortable in the shelter and socializing with people. We also provide free-roaming time for all healthy cats in our catio (a 700-square-foot screened-in porch with views of birds, squirrels and people passing by the shelter). Every week, our cats are provided with novel enrichment such as treats stuffed in paper balls and kitty Kongs (frozen cat treats). We also make sure that all of our cats have their preferred type of bedding, whether that be a soft rug, a tall cat tree, a covered hideaway bed or a cardboard box. Our cat room is full of comfy beds; sisal rope-covered towers for climbing, stretching and scratching; cat trees for napping and climbing; and large windows to watch the world go by. Our cats receive specialized training to build confidence, and learn tricks to help them become more adoptable.

How many pets did this grant help?

145

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

Birdie was a transfer from Hood County Animal Shelter. She’s a beautiful kitty who had a lot of trouble adjusting to the shelter. She was severely matted and would hiss and swat at all of the staff. Nobody was able to touch her. She was very scared and malnourished. After entering our Smarty Cats program, where we were able to give her calming treats, play with her throughout the day, allow her in to sit in the window of the catio, and gave her a safe space to hide when she was scared, after a few months Birdie came out of her shell and started showing her true, sweet personality. We are so happy to report that she has been adopted by a wonderful mother who dotes on her, spends a lot of time with her and has given her the best life Birdie could ever dream of.

Catman2 Inc.: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Cat enrichment grant: $900 was used to purchase enrichment supplies for cats who must be kept in kennels and cages during quarantine periods, medical/surgery recovery, etc.

10 Kat Kaves were purchased at a total of $620.00.

Four 50 packs of Stretch & Scratch corrugated cardboard scratchers were purchased at a total of $295.80.

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

The enrichment supplies purchased have improved the lives of the cats and kittens who must be kept temporarily in cages before being introduced to the general shelter population. The cats who have experienced life in decked-out cages have been happier overall and more energetic. Integration into the general shelter population has been easier on those cats and they seem to adjust better.

How many pets did this grant help?

100

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

Billie Jo was a sickly, frail kitten who came into our care. She was placed in one of our new Feline Serenity Suites, which was decked out with a Kat Kave and a Stretch & Scratch pad. She was able to sleep under the Kave with her blanket, and as she began feeling better, she would weave in and out of the Kave and rub herself against it. Finally, when she had fully recovered, we had a rambunctious kitten on our hands and she discovered the scratching pad. I have never seen a kitten so happy in a cage! Billie Jo literally hung off of the pad and has been tearing it up ever since. She is actually being adopted tomorrow and of course her scratching pad is going home with her.

We had another cat named Flo who had been in a cage with all the new enrichment supplies and she loved her pad, so it went home with her when she was adopted and her family reports that she still loves it so they can’t throw it away. We expect Billie Jo will have a similar story.

Iroquois County Animal Rescue: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Funds were used to purchase two types of hide boxes for our caged shelter cats.

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

The grant has helped our organization to keep the cats in our care happier, more comfortable and above all, healthier. The hiding boxes reduce the amount of stress that a cat experiences after shelter intake. In the past, this stress typically lead to a cat developing an upper-respiratory infection. The boxes have helped our organization reduce our amount of vet visits needed.

How many pets did this grant help?

It helped/will help a total of 360 cats per year.

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

Molly, Pippy, and Mildred were all cats who were terrified upon admittance to our shelter. The hide box provided them with a place to feel safe and decompress. Each was able to come out of their box little by little each day at their own pace, until they eventually came to feel comfortable interacting with our staff.

Melissa's Menagerie's Second Chances: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The money was used to purchase cat enrichment items for our new cat room, including two food puzzles, a 5×7-ft. sisal mat mounted on the wall for climbing, a LickiMat slow-feeder cat mat, a PetSafe FUNKitty Egg Cersizer Interactive Toy and Food Dispenser, a Catit Senses 2.0 digger for cats, and two water fountains. We also purchase two premade hammocks, and materials to make two sets of double-decker hammocks that hang from the ceiling. We also purchased two cat towers — one for our new room and one for the old room. We purchased an IKEA cube shelf and then purchased cube beds to put on the shelves. We purchased two cat tunnels, packs of toys, and two wand toys, and made mats and beds out of sisal and fleece.

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

The nine cats and kittens who live in our new cat room are the happiest group of felines. Three started out very shy and hid all the time. But the treat puzzles have lured them from hiding, and now they are starting to play with humans more. The cat towers and hammocks provide the cats with relaxing places to nap, and the tunnels and toys keep the younger cats occupied and active. The climbing wall is also very popular among our resident felines. In all, the enrichment items we provide keep the younger cats healthy and active and are helping to socialize the shy cats in our care.

How many pets did this grant help?

Nine cats currently reside in the room. Cats rotate into the room from foster homes when they are ready for adoption. We plan to care for approximately 100 cats in this room each year.

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

Anise (first and second photos) is one of our long-timers and has been in our care since March 2019. She was rescued with her five kittens, all of whom were adopted in the early summer after they were old enough to be spayed and neutered. Anise was not feral, but was extremely shy. She would not make eye contact with humans, and would hide whenever humans tried to interact with her. Since moving into our new cat room in September, Anise has slowly come out of her shell. She is spending more time out in the room instead of hiding in the cat tree. Her favorite perch is a shelf near the window. She recently began interacting with the food puzzles, and playing with the other cats in the process. We are very excited to report that these cat-enrichment activities provided by the grant are slowly bringing Anise out of her shell, which we are positive will lead to a kind and loving purrever home. Meet Anise here.

Humane Society of Cherokee County: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The Petfinder Foundation funds were used to construct a new catio for our indoor shelter cats.

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

The catio enables all of our indoor cats to experience a safe outdoor environment at their leisure. The concept of a catio is pretty new in our community, and visitors to our shelter express quite an interest in our new catio. Interest regarding our catio has also been generated by word of mouth at our Resale Shop and at community events.

How many pets did this grant help?

About 15 at our shelter now, but it will help all our shelter cats in the future as well.

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

Catio Story: About a New Catio and Two Great Cat Buddies

Our catio is finished and has been in use for a few weeks now. The cats are loving it — especially one cat, Spooky.

A little background on what prompted us to build a catio. Two of our resident cats, Cat Mandu and Spooky (first photo), have been the shelter greeters and office assistants for several years now, working side by side welcoming people to the shelter. Spooky, the black cat, has always had a tendency to want to be outside, but knowing it wasn’t safe, we didn’t let him go out. He and Cat Mandu would spend their time sitting on the windowsill, looking outdoors and waiting for visitors.

Back in the winter, Cat Mandu became ill, and that was when we thought she needed a catio, and that Spooky would enjoy it too. Plans were made and a grant request was written, but sadly, Cat Mandu passed away shortly before we received the funding to build it. After Cat Mandu left us, we noticed that Spooky didn’t greet people or want to hang out in the office any more. He appeared to be depressed and had lost some of his zest for life.

What excitement there was, though, when we heard from the Petfinder Foundation that we were awarded a grant to build a catio. We started immediately on the construction, and in a flash we had a catio off an office window. And guess who was the first cat in it? Yes, it was Spooky. He wasn’t sure about going through the pet window the first time, so we nudged him a little. That was all it took. Now Spooky and his new friends like to hang out in the catio, where they are examples to everyone who visits the shelter of how much cats enjoy and need a catio of their own. Spooky is now greeting people again and likes to show off his catio to anyone wanting a tour.

And it isn’t just a catio. The official name of it is CATIO MANDU, after Spooky’s best friend.

And by the way, Spooky is still looking for his forever home. A photo and more information about this precious cat can be seen here.

HART for Animals, Inc.: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

We used a Petfinder Foundation grant of $988.28 in the following manner to provide enrichment for the cats in the Cattery at the HART Animal Center:
Materials to build three Window Box Catios® – $332
Labor – $480
Three Drinkwell Fountains, including filters and brushes – $176.80
TOTAL $988.80

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

As is true at any organization that shelters animals, adult cats stay longer at the HART Animal Center — an average of six months. In addition, during “kitten season,” orphaned kittens arrive every day and are placed in quarantine to keep them healthy until they are adopted or transported to larger rescues. We used the Petfinder Foundation grant to build a large window-box Catios for adult cats in the Cattery and two small units in the kitten play areas. These window boxes will provide all sheltered cats with the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors without any danger to themselves. They will also allow kittens to familiarize themselves with the world from their play areas. The three Drinkwell fountains became a greatly appreciated addition to the kitten areas, with two or more kittens simultaneously enjoying the running water.

How many pets did this grant help?

An average of 50 felines per month, and a total of 500 or 600 year.

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

The window box Catios were completed and installed the second week of August. The first cat to use them was the Adoption Wing cat, Waylon (first photo), who toured the addition as if he had ordered the window boxes himself! Other cats who enjoyed the improvements were Macie (a spayed surrogate mother who loves to take care of orphaned kittens) and Sterling, a formerly outside cat now enjoying the indoors. The cats currently available for adoption are still checking out the new structures. One of those is Gracie (second photo), a 1-year old female, whose Petfinder profile can be found here.

Paris Animal Welfare Society: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

This grant was used to help us give our felines the best enrichment possible — a CATIO!

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

Shortly after receiving the grant, we started making more plans, and building quickly came after! We are still in renovation, as we are making sure it will benefit the cats as much as possible, but have been successful in taking some of our cats out!

In the photos is a 10-month-old cat with chronic upper-respiratory infections. Unfortunately, even with numerous antibiotics and medical intervention, Scott will always have problems with URI’s. However, since letting Scottie and Clarkson (his cage buddy) out daily in the enclosure, we have seen a tremendous decrease in URIs and an increase in their overall happiness and health! We were able to get some great social-media photos and are hoping to reach his forever family soon! Until then, Scottie is enjoying the outside life — and doing so safely!

How many pets did this grant help?

50 thus far, with 1,200 expected annually.

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

Scottie is still available for adoption, but his health is increasing every day thanks to our new catio! Our staff are still working hard on finishing the final touches (including ladders and climbers that volunteers made) and hope to be finished soon. Scottie can be seen at our shelter location as of now, but is expected to move to an off-site adoption location as soon as his health improves.