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San Francisco SPCA: Stretch and Scratch Cat Scratchers Grant Report

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

We are grateful to the Petfinder Foundation Cats R Cool Program for providing 1,000 Stretch and Scratch cat scratchers for use by the cats and kittens cared for by the San Francisco SPCA. The cat scratchers are being used by the cats and kittens who are brought into our shelter to eventually be made available for adoption.

These compact yet sturdy scratchers have been a wonderful addition for our shelter cats, particularly in the Foster Care Program and SPORE (Shelters Preventing the Outbreaks of Ringworm through Education) Program. Our foster kittens are unweaned or recently weaned kittens who are not quite ready to be made available for adoption. These kittens are cared for in foster homes, typically confined to small spaces such as the bathroom. As one might expect, these kittens are often bursting with energy with limited outlets for play or scratching. The Stretch and Scratch scratchers have been the perfect tool to cover the slippery tiled floors of foster parents’ bathrooms while simultaneously entertaining our foster kittens to no end. The SPORE Program aims to prevent the spread of ringworm. Ringworm, in cats, takes about 5-7 weeks to cure in our shelter environment. Because of the highly contagious nature of ringworm our animals are taken out of their enclosures weekly and their environment is thoroughly cleaned and changed by an amazing group of dedicated volunteers. Since everything is tossed out weekly, we are reluctant to give too many enrichment items in their enclosures. These small, but durable, cardboard scratchers have been a wonderful addition to our ringworm wards. The cats and kittens love them and provides them an opportunity to stretch and relax while they are undergoing treatment. Our kitties thank you very much for your continued support for shelter animals.

How many pets did this grant help?

As of the end of January 2014, we have used approximately 100 scratchers. However, each foster parent typically uses a scratcher for 2-3 kittens, so they have helped approximately two to three times that number.

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

1. From Candace, a dedicated SPORE Team Volunteer:rn”Cat scratchers are especially important for our cats in the ringworm ward, where the length of stay can exceed 100 days, and their only stimulation is ping pong balls and toilet paper rolls. With the arrival of the cat scratchers, attached vertically on each cage or kennel door, came additional stimulation and pleasurable exercise.rnThe change for Arnold is just one example. Arnold and his two siblings were separated from their mom and housed together to play with each other. But when first his one, and then his second sibling was cured of ringworm, Arnold was left by himself. Then came his cat scratcher. He ran to the front of his kennel and did what comes naturally–stretching up to, scratching and leaving his scent on his cat scratcher.rnNow the treatment team is more likely to find the ringworm cats at the front of their enclosures, using their cat scratchers, instead at the back, crouching on their bedding. And when, after 105 days, Arnold became eligible for adoption, his “forever family” did not have to train him to use his scratching post!”rnrn2. From foster parent Kelsey:rn”Portia and Antony were very shy when I first got them, but they couldn’t resist playing on their cardboard scratcher. I would sit in the bathroom with them right next to their scratcher, and as timid as they were around people, their curiosity got the best of them and they just couldn’t stay off of it. Eventually they warmed up to me and would run back and forth from my lap to the scratcher. Having something for them to play on and scratch really helped them become comfortable in their foster home in just a few days, something that I was expecting to take at least a week with how timid they were at first.”rn

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