Reports From This Organization

Ellen M. Gifford Sheltering Home for Cats: Cat Enrichment Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The money was used to purchase enrichment toys (wand toys with feathers or mice), food puzzles (Kong treat balls, slow feeders), tunnels for hiding/play, cardboard scratchers/loungers, cat grass and other items that encourage play and keep the cats engaged and happy.

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

The cost of operating a shelter sometimes means there is only enough money to spend on essential items. We rely on the kindness and generosity of donors, visitors to the shelter, volunteers and other supporters to make up the difference when it comes to non-essential items like the ones purchased with this grant. Receiving this pet-enrichment grant was crucial in making sure we could purchase items that would keep the cats healthy and encouraged them to interact with volunteers and visitors. Chasing a feather toy, hanging out in a tunnel or rolling a food ball around to get food or treats not only keeps cats happy, but shows potential adopters how they can expect the cat will be in their home (their level of energy). This makes it easier to match that cat with the right adopter, leading to quicker and better adoptions.

How many pets did this grant help?

We typically have a total of 40-50 kittens and cats in our care on a regular basis and this grant benefited all of them.

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

Angel (first two photos) is 8 1/2 years old and has been at the shelter for six years. She was surrendered by an elderly gentleman who could not care for her any longer and is a bit of a loner. She lives in a part of the shelter where we house some of the quieter and under-socialized cats and generally gets along with the other cats in her room. She is not incredibly active, nor does she respond to treats or to play. She does sometimes like to bat a feather toy, but only when she feels like it!

The volunteers were stumped as to how to get her out into the room more and away from her comfy bed. When Gifford received the Cat Enrichment grant from the Petfinder Foundation, part of the money was used to purchase infinity scratcher lounges and cat-grass kits. Angel’s room has multiple cat-lounge areas with comfy blankets, which is where you would normally see Angel. We brought an infinity scratcher into the room and left for about five minutes and when we came back, Angel was happily scratching and then lounging on the scratcher, as if to say, “okay, this is mine now!”

Later that month, we brought in some of the newly grown cat grass and, as expected, most of the other cats in the room came right up and started munching. We were surprised when Angel got down from her bed and started chomping on the grass (first photo). We had never tried this as a motivator to get her moving, but now use it on a regular basis to entice her away from her bed, and she seems to enjoy it! Now that we know we can attract her attention with the cat grass, we can work on getting her used to petting and attention from volunteers and visitors and eventually get her into a forever home. Meet her: http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/31723851

Scotty (third and fourth photos) is 2 years old and is a volunteer favorite. He’s a gorgeous boy with unusual ears like a Scottish fold. He is sweet, but he has had some behavioral issues in his past and is easily overstimulated. He needs just the right amount of play before he reaches his limit and needs alone time to keep calm. Due to his occasional assertive behavior, he is housed in a separate enclosure in the shelter, but we wanted to make sure he got plenty of attention from volunteers and staff and wanted to find a way to learn to understand Scotty’s body language to be better able to recognize when he was at his limit. Using the enrichment items purchased with the grant, we have used toy wands to meet Scotty’s need for play and cat tunnels for him to hang out in when he has had enough play. They have allowed the shelter to demonstrate what a great cat he truly is and to better notice and understand his behavior so that we can find him the right forever home.

Ellen M. Gifford Sheltering Home for Cats: Senior Pet Adoption Grants Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The $600 grant was used to sponsor the adoption fees for three senior cats.

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

Our senior cats were getting overlooked, due to the shelter regularly having cats who were much younger. Having their adoption fees sponsored gave more adopters an incentive to want to meet these seniors. All were lovable, sweet cats and they just needed adopters to give them a chance to show their wonderful personalities. This gave them the advantage they needed to find forever homes.

How many pets did this grant help?

Three senior cats who have all been adopted.

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

Miss Little (first photo) had been surrendered by the only family she ever knew and was not doing well at the shelter. She would find places to hide when volunteers, staff or visitors would come by and she would shrink and make herself as small as possible. Her potential adopter had come in looking for a much younger cat. Our adoption specialists knew that Miss Little would be a great match for her and the cat she had at home who needed a companion. When the adopter visited the room where Miss Little was staying, volunteers were surprised that Miss Little popped her head up and did not scurry away! She let her visitor pet her and talk to her and seemed to enjoy the attention. It looks like Miss Little chose her person!

Pablo (second photo) was so handsome and chatty, the shelter staff and volunteers thought he would get adopted fairly quickly. Days turned into weeks and Pablo was still at the shelter and became a volunteer favorite. Those same volunteers started taking his photo and posting it on Facebook and Instagram. One of those photos got his adopter to the shelter to meet Pablo in person (third photo). Finding out his adoption fee was sponsored made the decision to adopt him even easier, since she had clearly fallen in love. She is a grad student who lives alone and was looking for the perfect cat companion — and it was a match! Pablo now has a forever home and his adopter has updated the shelter staff to let them know he is settling in and has already claimed “his side” of the bed.

Mission (fourth photo) was a long-term shelter resident who had spent part of his life outside in a small cat community. The staff and volunteers noticed that he loved the other cats in the room and, as some of his friends got adopted, he would find a new cat to bond with. Most often, his new bonded pal would be the cat with the least confidence, and his compassionate and nurturing nature would give the other shy cat the bravery to become more social. His adopter had been visiting Mission frequently to make sure he would be a good match for her own shy cat. After many visits, she decided to take Mission home, and she was pleasantly surprised to find that the grant money received would sponsor his adoption fee. Mission is settling in with his new family, and his adopter has kept us updated on the progress of introductions between Mission and his new kitty sister, including a long “meowing” conversation between the two a couple of days after he arrived at his forever home!