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La Crescent Animal Rescue: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

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

Grant money was spent on building honeycombs on a wall for the cats to climb into, building a bridge with platforms at each end and different levels of platforms on the wall to jump to and on, building a 5' x 3' tiered cube unit in the main cat room for cats to nap on or play in, a muffin tin for hiding food under toys, bird feeders which were purchased and placed outside the cat room window and filled with bird seed, 2" cat spring toys, a CD player for bird sounds and "cat music," and a 6' wall-mounted sisal scratching post.

Cats in our care had very little stimuli from the environment to gratify the instincts that come naturally to them in the way of their emotional, physical, and psychological needs. This was evident in their behavior throughout the day. It manifested itself through pacing, pulling out tufts of fur, over-grooming, fighting with one another, stalking a particular cat, and sometimes appearing to be depressed and moody.

Since we are principally funded by donations and fundraisers, there are few funds left to be spent on items for cat enrichment. This grant has allowed us to change that. Rather than having a mostly flat surface with a few shelves, the cats now have multiple places where they can imitate hiding and stalking prey, running over bridges, going in and out of multiple cubes, and jumping from shelf to shelf, as well as stretching muscles on the sisal scratching post.

Auditory stimulation is provided with bird and nature CDs. A bird feeder just outside one of the windows in the cat room will provide entertainment while the cats sit on the window ledge platform. The cats seem less stressed with more to do. There is less fighting and bullying of targeted cats. Pacing and over-grooming has decreased. Volunteers have had to break up fewer cat altercations.

How many pets did this grant help?

This grant has helped all current cats at the shelter and will continue to help cats in the future.

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

Caramel (first photo) was a 5-year-old stray torbie who came to us this summer. She was usually friendly but could on occasion become a little testy and lash out at volunteers. She didn’t like other cats but would usually tolerate kittens.

Caramel paced back and forth in the area she was in but growled and looked threatening to every cat she passed. It helped her disposition when climbing ledges were installed and she was made to work for her food.

We also found one other cat she enjoyed being with and put those two together in our “safe room.” They did very well together, lying next to and grooming one another. Caramel would come and sit on anyone’s lap when they would sit on the floor and became a big lover, wanting pets and scratches.

Caramel was adopted a few weeks after moving into the safe room.

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