The money was used for a cat wall for our cat colony to provide vertical space for enrichment. The wall contains five boxes for cats to relax or sleep in and multiple shelves and a set of steps for vertical activity.
This grant has been extremely helpful and will continue to be for years to come. It has been beneficial on multiple levels. Foremost is that this is the first cat colony we have had and we have found that the cats are happier and healthier when they are able to spend the time they are with us free-roaming. The boxes provide a safe, private space for the cats to initially adjust to the new environment and then, once adjusted, continue to offer a secure space to relax. They also enjoy the vertical space and will spend time moving from level to level. They like having that height to see what is going on around them. The cat wall is also extremely attractive to potential adopters and draws them in to look at cats that they might not notice if they were in a cage or cat condo. The cats are able to express their personality more freely when they are free-roaming and we have found that we are able to adopt out cats who had been with us for an extended period of time.
The cat wall went up right before we opened in our new shelter on July 18, 2018. Since then, 30 cats have been residents of the colony. Of those, half have been adopted.
Sunshine and Scrabble were two of the first cats to live in the cat colony and enjoy the cat wall. Sunshine was a 10-year-old, overlooked, overweight orange senior. We initially wondered how he would do with the vertical wall, but he was the first one to start exploring, climbing and getting cozy in the boxes. His image was instantly transformed from a fat, lazy old cat into a cool older dude who liked to climb. Although he wasn’t immediately adopted, people were drawn to him. He was more outgoing and looked so cute climbing around that he got quite a bit of attention. He got along well with all the other cats in the colony, and when Scrabble, a beautiful 2-year-old black cat, was adopted, the couple decided that they needed to take Sunshine home too. It was perfect in that they already knew that the two cats got along and they were able to add both a young cat and a senior to their family. Sunshine is shown in the first two photos.