[Vision2020] Caturday (June 30, 2018)
moscowcares at moscow.com
Sat Jun 30 05:31:46 PDT 2018
Barn cats have a new place to call home on Caturday.
Courtesy of the Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington) at:
Bungalow is the cat’s meow: SCRAPS’ ‘working’ felines have a new place to call home
The barn cats at the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service have a new bungalow to call their own – complete with perches, catwalks and lots of places to hide.
The “working” cats, who are typically unsocialized feral cats, live together in a new building measuring 12 feet by 12 feet nestled among the trees behind the dog walking area.
“The kitties really seem to be enjoying it,” said SCRAPS director Lindsey Soffes.
There are three cats living in the bungalow and another three are finishing their time in quarantine before moving in. The shelter usually has between three and 15 working cats, though there were 25 in residence when volunteers began building the bungalow a few weeks ago.
“It seems like they come in waves,” Soffes said.
The building is simple and has walls of lumber and wire with 2-by-4-inch openings. Boards have been laid across the sturdy rafters to give the cats additional perches. Two cat trees are placed in corners and small hiding boxes sit along the back wall.
Some cats like to go up high while others like to hide down low, she said.
“It’s really personality specific,” she said.
There haven’t been any cat fights despite the communal living. When the cats were first released into the bungalow they would often huddle in pairs or groups, Soffes said.
During a recent visit to the bungalow one black cat sat on one of the boards in the rafters, another was curled up in a section of one of the cat trees. The ear of the third was just visible from behind another rafter. They didn’t try to run or hide but kept their distance.
“They live among people,” Soffes said. “They just like to be free.”
Several bowls of food and water are placed around the small building. The cats get wet food at night, Soffes said.
“They’re really the least picky eaters around,” she said.
Soffes heard about a similar bungalow created by Austin Pets Alive in Texas and wanted to replicate it for her barn cats.
“She had the idea of having one at SCRAPS,” said animal protection officer Ted Adams, who headed the project. “We just started the ball rolling.”
Adams recruited friends and family to help in the effort. Money for the project was collected during an April fundraiser. Adams donated his time and some of the materials “even though he won’t tell me how much,” Soffes said.
Ziggy’s donated the materials at cost, Adams said.
“It was a good partnership,” he said.
When the weather gets colder Adams will install sliding plywood panel walls that can be moved into place easily. Insulated cat houses will also be added.
“These guys are outdoor kitties so they’re used to living outside,” Soffes said.
The bungalow is a big step up from the quarantine room where they used to be housed, she said.
“They were having to wait in cages,” she said. “That was so stressful to them.”
The feral cats are usually trapped by animal protection officers or members of the public. They are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and given an exam by a veterinarian when they arrive. They are adopted out as barn cats, though some have also gone to warehouses and shops, Soffes said.
“There’s a decent demand,” she said. “We’re able to place all our barn cats. Sometimes it takes longer depending on the season. They trade their really refined mousing skills for food, water and shelter.”
Barn cat owners should expect to feed the cats even if they are catching mice. Soffes said it’s best to get two cats at once so they’re more likely to stick together and stick around.
Adams said he’s glad the project turned out so well.
“It’s great,” he said. “You come out here and sit. You have the breeze coming through. This was worth the sleepless nights.”
Soffes said she’s pleased she can help an underserved part of the pet population.
“We really want to save every one we can,” she said. “This is a big step for us.”
The barn cats at the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service have a new bungalow nestled among the trees behind the dog-walking area.
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