The Chautauqua County Humane Society (CCHS) has formed the "Feline Action Committee" (FAC) with the goal of improving the welfare and living conditions for the cats at the shelter.
The FAC was formed by CCHS employees who are committed to improving the quality of life for the animals waiting for adoption. Shelter manager Susanne Bloom and community relations director Roxanne Wendling are striving to create a more effective means of adoption and intake with the "Cat Colony Renewal Project" (CCRP).
The capital campaign of the committee is to renew the cat colony used to house cats that are ready for adoption. By renewing the space, the cats will have more second chances to be adopted. The colony will also serve to improve the cats' quality of life and hygiene while waiting to find a home.
In order for the CCRP to be successful, a total of $25,000 will need to be raised by the end of the year. If the funds are gathered, the project will become a reality starting in January. With the funds currently at $9,500, every little bit helps. That's why Bloom and Wendling are asking the community for support.
"Several years ago we visited a colony and we realized what they were doing works," said Bloom. "So, we want to make ours look more friendly, to create an environment that is less stress on the cats and allow customers to see them. We hope that the home environment will keep them healthy and increase adoptions. If we increase adoptability, we will increase our intake rate so that we can help the community more fully."
The new colony will be able to house up to 40 cats. It will offer more climbing options, a viewing area for potential adopters and a "Serenity Room" where surrendered cats have a calming transition to the cat colony. The colony will reinstate the "Get Acquainted Room" as a secluded area where adopters can interact with the cats.
"We held a campaign kick-off in early May that about 35 people attended, and donations were made," said Wendling. "We can't start the renovation until we have the full amount because animals have to be displaced while the work is done. Once we have the main colony completed we can raise money for phase 2, which is an outdoor enclosure."
Individuals and businesses interested in taking part in the project can volunteer, make a donation, join the FAC or host a community-oriented event to raise money.
"We're asking the community to conduct their own mini fundraisers to help us," said Wendling. "You can have a garage sale, a block event, dinner or anything pet themed. So, if you can't adopt another cat, you can adopt a project instead. Just have fun with it."
In addition to the kick-off event, the CCHS also hosted an "adopt-a-thon" in which homes were found for 21 cats. Adoption fees were waived for the event in conjunction with national adopt-a-cat month this June. The first step of adopting an animal is to fill out an application. The process allows the CCHS to help make the right match between animal and home. Adopting an animal helps in two ways: first is finding a home for an animal in need, and the second is that the space it occupied is now free to bring in another.
Seniors who missed the adopt-a-thon still have an opportunity to take home a pet. Today from noon until 4 p.m., the CCHS will host a senior tea in which senior citizens guests have the adoption fees waived. The idea is to match seniors with animals 5 years and older. Refreshments and food will be provided.
"We need to find people who are willing to take home senior pets," said Bloom. "Sometimes they have special needs or just need a permanent home. We have about 13 on the list including cats and dogs."
Events like the adopt-a-thon help find homes for animals that have had troubled lives. For example, the last of the 31 dogs that were rescued from the May 2011 Prospect Street cruelty case has finally find a home.
There are many ways to get involved with the CCHS. From walking dogs to socializing with cats, there are many aspects where volunteers are appreciated. For more information call 665-2209 or visit spcapets.com.