Have you ever gone to a humane society where the cats are treated like royalty? Me neither. Most (shelters~humane societies} have stacks of cat carriers as well as a playroom with cat beds and cat furniture. The playrooms are crowded with cats, some of which don’t get along with each other. I thought this was pretty much the way they all were until I read about the Washington Animal Rescue League.
This place is a true utopia for cats who have been left behind. Their philosophy focuses on recovery and adoptions. Each cat has their own living area made of bacteria resistant material and no metal bars. Instead, tempered glass doors are used. This not only promotes recovery for the cats, but also allows great viewing for the people who pass by. Each space also has a couple of perches so the cat can have different vantage points. Additionally, each has a separate area for their litter box. What I thought was the most extraordinary feature was the ventilation system. They pump fresh air into each space every four minutes. Pretty sweet!
Of course there is a playroom, but not just your run of the mill cat playroom. This one has a ceiling high waterfall! Can I come stay there? There are various levels on both sides for cats to climb and play. Did I mention that only cats that get along with each other are put in the playroom at one time, and then only eight per play shift? These people thought of everything. They have big tree branches running throughout the playroom that get replaced a couple of times a year. Volunteers spend time with them in the playroom to acclimate them to humans. If I were a cat guest, which is what they really are, I might not want to leave this place!
The calming environment has paid off in numerous ways. They state the cats are less stressed. Also, with their high-tech ventilation system, they have seen a 95% reduction in airborne diseases. This goes hand in hand with their philosophy of recovery and well-being. The facility also reported a substantial growth in the number of adoptions. It seems people like to spend a few hours there as well … no wonder.
It looks to me this place is a great model for other facilities to copy. We all want to promote a healthy environment and caring atmosphere for cats in shelters and this seems to be a great one.
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