Most of these kitties are currently living in a large, warehouse-type metal building. It used to be a dog shelter, and the old dog kennels have been converted into housing for several cats at a time. It is crowded, loud, smelly, and visually chaotic.
The kitties that are moving are the ones who have been in the shelter for a while–they are older and/or less social in this environment, so no one has taken them home. Most have been here for at least a year if not more. 🙁
You can kind of see what the shelter is like in this photo–it’s much worse in person:
In the next week or so (most likely Friday, June 28), we are going to load up all of these kitties into carriers, drive them about two miles, and bring them to the new cat house. They will all be placed in a circle in their carriers for several hours, so they can see each other and see the room.
After they’ve had time to sit in the new space, we will probably try and feed them in their carriers, and then later we will let them all explore the room and each other.
Here is what the room looks like (not finished yet!). It’s bright, open, and airy, and will have lots of places to hide, lots of litter boxes, cat walks, and outdoor access to a safely enclosed catio. There is another smaller room beyond this one that they will also have access to.
Stephanie will be their primary caretaker, but she will have help from a small team of volunteers. Here she is with her husband Clark (yay for supportive husbands!).
Thoughts from Stephanie
First of all I can’t thank all of you enough for wanting to do this. Wish I could tell you what it means to me for these kitties to have a better chance to understand what will be happening. The main thing I want them to know is they are safe. This space was created for them and their safety was the first priority.
After that, our main goals were to give them a space for comfort, physical and mental enrichment, and somewhere they could live a fuller life. It was also created in hopes that they could experience human interaction in a different and hopefully better way. Our goal is still to find them their own home but until then we want this to feel as much like a home as it can.
Humans will be coming in at least twice a day to care for them. We want to build more trust with them and I want them to teach us more about their needs. We realize there will be a lot of cats in this space but we have tried to create enough different spots for them to have their own space so no one will feel crowded or stressed. I do want them to know that I have never done anything like this and I am sure that I will make mistakes but will keep looking ways for them to live a harmonious life together.
Will you please try to explain the outside space to them? That even though animals (either Franklin, my own cat, or wildlife) will be able to walk up to the catio but they can’t get in. We have taken every measure we could think of to be sure nothing can get in so they need not be afraid.
Please tell them I am both thankful and excited for this chance to get to know them better and to watch them to be able to express themselves in different ways. I just want this transition to be as easy for them as possible.
Oh – I almost forgot! One side note and a special message for Tippy (who is currently living by herself in a room in a home nearby). She will have two transitions: she’ll move to the cat house for a day or two with no others, then have them move in. Tell her I know this isn’t ideal but I am proud of her for how well she has gotten along so well with the other fosters I have brought into her space and I hope she will show the same tolerance with the new additions.
P.S. from LaShelle
THANK YOU SO MUCH for sending love and understanding to these kitties!!
Some of them (I’m not sure who) may be grieving the recent death of this kiddo, who was supposed to move with them but passed away last night: