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Stephen Memorial Animal Shelter: Stretch and Scratch Cat Scratchers Grant Report

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

The Stretch and Scratches we received through this grant were used to help reduce the amount of stress our cats are under while they are staying at the animal shelter. Each cat that was in a kennel received their own Stretch and Scratch. In our colony cat areas and kitten enclosure we place several Stretch and Scratches around their living areas for them to us.

This grant helped (and still is helping) the cats staying at the shelter in a few different ways. This time of year is a time where we see a lot of our cats coming down with feline Upper Respiratory Infection. However, since providing the cats with Stretch and Scratches we have noticed a marked decrease in the number of cats coming down with URI. We have also noticed that cats who do have URI are recovering quicker. This has helped us immensely because we are able to get the cats ready for adoption faster and send them to new homes. We have also noticed that the free-roaming cats (adoptable cats that get along with one another are allowed to free-roam in the colony room) are more active. Which is a great perk because some of our longer residents were starting to get fat :)

How many pets did this grant help?

So far, we've given about 50 cats Stretch and Scratches

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

These Stretch and Scratchers have been a godsend for all of our cats but specifically, they have helped out the feral cats in our care that are part of our barn cat program. This program, which started last spring, allows us to live-trap feral cats that are causing a nuisance within the City of Oskaloosa, Iowa, get them sterilized and vaccinated, and relocate them to rural farm homes. The cats that we live-trap as part of this program stay at the shelter for an average of 5 days. As one can imagine, these feral cats get stressed out very easily during their stay at the shelter and frequently come down with URI, so our goal is to get the feral cats sterilized, vaccinated, and sent to their new farm home as quickly as possible to avoid URI due to stress. We have been able to help these feral cats immensely by providing them with a Stretch and Scratch. While we never see them use it, because they hide in their dens during the day, we certainly see evidence of their use every morning when we come to work. As a result, we are able to get these feral cats out of the shelter and into new farm homes as quickly as possible.

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