Hello! We are the Chico Cat Coalition, a no-kill, volunteer-run cat shelter in the northern California town of Chico, California. We have a shelter that houses approximately 60 cats. Prior to the receipt of the Bissell Pet Foundation grant, our shelter was one large room — a former warehouse of approximately 1,000 square feet that was converted with cyclone fencing into a cat shelter. We also have a great outdoor fenced-in area. The money we received from the Bissell Pet Foundation grant was used for fencing and materials to divide our shelter into two fenced-off areas — one for the feral, unadoptable cats, and one for the cats that are adoptable and need an area where they can be shown to potential adopters.
In our shelter, we have approximately 30 feral cats that we will be caring for for the rest of their lives (we no longer take in feral cats, but we did at one point and are still caring for those cats), and 30 adoptable cats. The adoptable cats that have been in our care for a long time, we noticed, were becoming less friendly and less adoptable. They found areas to hide among the feral cats and in corners of the shelter. When a potential adopter who saw the cat on Petfinder would come to visit, the cats would find it very easy to hide, leading to fewer adoptions for these adoptable cats, who we found becoming more and more feral.
With the money received from the Bissell Pet Foundation grant, we were able to purchase cyclone fencing and materials needed to fence off a portion of the shelter where we can house these adoptable cats, along with their own outdoor area. These cats will get more daily exposure to humans via our volunteers (we have two volunteer shifts daily who feed and socialize the cats), and in time, will become more used to people, more friendly, and will find their forever homes!
Duffy is a cat who has been with us since he was a kitten. He is an orange tabby who came to us along with his brother Murphy when they were both about eight weeks old. As kittens, they were playful, friendly, and loved people. Murphy quickly found a forever home as a kitten, but for some reason, Duffy was overlooked and not adopted. As he grew older, he became less accepting of humans; he would hide from even his favorite volunteers, and no treats could lure him from his hiding places so that he could be shown to potential adopters. We could see that we were in danger of ending up with another feral cat in our shelter — we didn’t want that to happen to Duffy!
When our adoptable-cat room was finished, thanks to the Bissell Pet Foundation grant, Duffy was moved into the area and, with fewer hiding places and a smaller area in which to navigate, he was exposed twice a day to lots of love, attention, and treats from volunteers. He quickly remembered how great humans are, and we saw signs of him returning to his old friendly self. We all held our breath when we got a call from someone saying that she had seen Duffy’s pictures on Petfinder and she wanted to come meet him. We told her all about Duffy — that he’s very shy, but such a sweet cat, and that having a forever home would make all the difference for him.
Duffy’s potential adopter came to meet him, and thanks to our adoption room, was able to sit on the floor, put out some treats, and happily Duffy approached her for some attention! She was still apprehensive about the adoption, and asked if she could temporarily foster Duffy until she decided whether or not he was the right cat for her home. Of course! Two weeks ago, we got the call that we had been waiting for — she had decided to permanently adopt Duffy and make him part of her family. The long-time Chico Cat Coalition volunteers were thrilled! We had seen Duffy as an adorable kitten, watched him regress to near-feral status, then make a comeback with the addition of our adoptable cat room.
This amazing change would not have happened without the Bissell Pet Foundation grant money. We could not be more grateful. THANK YOU, Bissell, for what you have done for our shelter — our cats, kittens, and volunteers appreciate it so much!
Attached are pictures of the indoor adoptable cat room, the outdoor adoptable cat area, and a picture of Duffy in the bathtub in his new home.