CAT just put the finishing touches on an improvement project over 18 months in the making.
In November 2011, Petco Foundation awarded CAT a $15,000 grant to update and remodel the free-roam/colony rooms at the Sherwood shelter.
CAT staff began designing with an eye on improving the environment and enriching the lives of the cats in our care. Using recommendations from the Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters, Petco Foundation’s grant would be use to totally re-do all five free roam room with the focus on providing ways for the cats to be more cat-like: climbing, stretching, and hiding—all with the goal of them healthier, physically and emotionally.
The first step was to create two smaller rooms out of CAT’s largest free-roam room. With the muscle and know-how of the Oregon Trade Women (pdf) and a portion of the Petco Foundation grant, the large space was made into two more manageable rooms. This was complete in March 2012.
Why make two small rooms out of one perfectly good larger room? Glad you asked. Previous, this large room (named the Garden Room after its green decor) housed up to 16 cats all vying for the high perches, protecting the litter box, and arguing over the food bowls. Now, these smaller rooms house six or less cats, which offers the cats a better opportunity to have privacy and being more amiable to their feline friends.
A small team of staff members researched what other shelters’ colony rooms looked like. Our rooms needed total make overs from paint to furniture. More subtle paint colors and designs were chosen. Durable furniture, shelves, and scratch posts were sought. It was all coming together, paint was going up, new items were selected for the rooms, and then a pipe burst upstairs causing water damage to over 60 percent of the shelter.
Completion of phase 2 was put on hold for almost four months. The entire floor upstairs, where these rooms are, was replaced due to the damage.
After everything dried out, the walls were touched up and the design team was back in business gussying up the rooms for the cats.
The grant from the Petco Foundation enabled us to purchase top quality paint and items for the room that not only looked good but were functional and able to be thoroughly cleaned without damage.
Now, more than one year after the project started, we are finally able to get it all complete.
The free-roam rooms are beautiful. The cats are enjoying the new perches and cubbies. Staff and volunteers appreciate the ease with which the rooms can be cleaned.
The only thing missing is more light. Cats love to bask in the sun and, unfortunately, the design of the building does not allow for all rooms to have outside windows.
Large windows were installed into two of the rooms and windowed doors were put into all the free roam rooms. While these do not face the outside, they allow more light into the rooms and better viewing by adopters of the kitties. Yes, we expect a lot of finger and nose prints. We are more than happy to add window washing to the daily routine because the cats are happier!