Cat Enrichment

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.

Habersham County Animal Care & Control: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

We purchased individual cage scratchers for ALL the kitties in our isolation room, overflow holding, and kitten cages. We also purchased a FUN One Fast Cat wheel to exercise some of our more energetic felines. We were also able to purchase Feliway diffusers and refills for all three cat rooms.

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

The cage scratchers helped the kitties stay busy and be able to perform natural scratching behaviors. The One Fast Cat wheel helped to exercise some of our more energetic felines. The kittens had a BLAST learning how to use the wheel, and it got staff and volunteers involved “training them” to learn to use it. The Feliway diffusers and refills helped reduce stress in our cat population.

How many pets did this grant help?

300+

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

Renegade was a sad little abandoned kitten who came to us. She despised being in the cage all the time. We decided that even though she was small, she might be spunky enough to enjoy the cat wheel. This little lady sure surprised us! She had a blast running on the wheel, and the video we took of her landed her a home within 24 hours!

Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

We used the grant funds to purchase a variety of enrichment equipment for the cats in our care. We purchased toys, interactive feeders, safe scratching products, durable cots, and calming products.

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

This grant helped our cats to have a better, lower-stress, more relaxed experience throughout their stay with us. We also saw a decrease in length of stay for our cats! Their time with us was both better and shorter!

How many pets did this grant help?

503

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

One of the cats this grant helped is Hope (first photo). Hope stayed with us for more than 60 days! That is six times our average length of stay! However, because of this grant, we were able to ensure that Hope received the proper daily enrichment she needed. When we first met Hope, she was unhappy with us. She did not want to accept our presence, let alone our affection. With time and committed enrichment, Hope came around to be one of the most loving cats. And she got adopted!

Henry County Humane Society-Geneseo: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

We purchased three cat wheels to put in three of our six community cat rooms.

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

We are always looking for ways to provide different enrichment to our cats while they wait to find their forever home. All of our cats live in community cat rooms and in order to keep them busy and entertained, we are always rotating out the type of toys that are in their rooms.

Despite always introducing new toys, we were still having trouble getting some of them to get the adequate amount of exercise to keep them at a healthy weight and keep them active. We also felt that if we could provide more ways for the cats to get exercise, it would help reduce the cat fights that sometimes go on in the community cat rooms because the cats would be able to expel some of that pent-up energy in a more positive way.

We always wanted to get cat wheels, and being awarded this grant made that possible much sooner. We have several cats who will use the wheel and our volunteers are working on trying to get more cats interested in it. We have a hunch that more cats are using it than we know because as soon as we come around the corner and they see us watching, they tend to hop off.

How many pets did this grant help?

30+

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

Those of us in the animal-shelter or rescue community know that black cats are some of the hardest cats to adopt. This can be because of the superstitions around black cats or just because their fur doesn’t have any interesting variations or markings to make them stand out, so oftentimes these cats are picked last.

This has been the case for Beauregard and Amos, who came in last summer as kittens and are still in our shelter a year later. These boys have great dispositions and always interact with everyone who comes into their room.

They have found that working out in pairs is better. We always need that friend who is going to be there for us and encourage us every step of the way. I think that is what these two are for each other. So now, while they wait for their forever homes, they can continue to work out together and continue to live their healthiest lives.

Meet Beauregard here.

Meet Amos here.

Sand Springs Animal Welfare: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Cat cages and accessories

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

We were able to expand our number of cages by 20 and put away all the flimsy fold-up crates we were using. The cages are much nicer and more sturdy and we were able to get hammocks and beds for further comfort. The cages have a middle divider, so when we aren’t at full capacity, the cats can have much bigger cages.

How many pets did this grant help?

We handle about 450 cats per year. These cages help them all!

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

Lilly and her two kittens were in a small wire crate before this grant enabled us to purchase some bigger, nicer cages. They LOVE the bigger cage and their hammock!

Brown County Humane Society: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Granted funds were used to purchase enrichment items for our shelter cats — items such as toys, food puzzles, and training supplies as well as hidey beds and feral boxes to provide a sense of security for shy cats.

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

This grant was even more beneficial than we could have imagined when we originally applied. During the past few months, our shelter has been operating by appointment only due to the COVID pandemic. Because of this, our cats are not getting the same level of human interaction that they have gotten in the past. This can quickly lead to boredom and loneliness for the cats, which can lead to even bigger mental and physical health issues.

However, because of this grant, we were able to buy additional items that keep the cats stimulated and provide entertainment during times when there are no people for them to socialize with. Having multiple types of items (food puzzles, toys, cat scratchers, etc.) allow us to mix up the enrichment each cat receives daily. This way they are not becoming bored by having to play with the same toy over and over.

These items also provided the ability for some of our shyer cats to come out of their shells. A cat’s natural curiosity can sometimes overpower their timidness, and enrichment items can help this process. Watching another cat play with a toy and enjoy the interaction can entice a shy cat to come out and give it a shot. And, over time, they begin to come out of their shell and even begin playing with the other cats.

How many pets did this grant help?

30 cats so far, and more expected in the future

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

Rooster (first photo) arrived as a stray after being found running loose at a resident’s home. When he came in, it was obvious he had been on his own for some time. He had a broken tooth and his fur was so matted, he had to have several areas shaved in order to clean him up. But once he received a few days of care, his loving, playful side quickly came out.

Rooster’s favorite item purchased with the Petfinder Foundation Cat Enrichment Grant was the food maze (last three photos). Rooster had once spent a lot of time having to hunt for his food in order to survive. While we love that he no longer needs to hunt to eat, the puzzle maze provides the mental stimulation he was getting from hunting. So items like food mazes and puzzles allow Rooster to still receive the mental stimulation he needs to be a happy cat.

Rooster was adopted and is now settling into his new, loving home. He will never have to hunt to survive again!