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.
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.
30 cats so far, and more expected in the future
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!