In November of 2011, seven friends got together concerned about the welfare of cats and wanting to start a more “feline friendly shelter.” The main founder, Sara Ferguson, recently agreed to an interview and helped to enlighten us about cats.
Because in the wild, it is natural for cats to gather and live in ‘colonies’, Happy Cats Haven houses the 25-30 cats they care for, in that way instead of individual cages. It is more like small rooms in a house complete with different levels for the cats to relax and sit on. There are ramps, scratching equipment, cat condos and toys. The staff really tries to get to know each cat personally to ensure success, even down to the cat’s scratching preference which never enters most owners’ minds.
The rescued felines all live in small families and each have a name, some sharing in theme names such as The Fillmore Street Band. The Fillmore Street Band cats all have instrument names in that case. They cater to their wards by giving them the exact situation that suits them best. Even those cats that need a single accommodation have something much more impressive than a metal cage to live in.
According to Sara Ferguson and Allison DuVal, the shelter treats cats in such a way that lets them get comfortable and stay adoptable. When asked about the most important problem they deal with in trying to help the cat population, according to Allison Duvel, it is a lack of understanding of cats by their owners.
Owners often don’t understand cats are different from dogs and must be raised differently. They do not understand the value of neutering and spaying to lessen the cat population and also avoid many health issues from cats repeatedly having kittens. They don’t think of their cat as a companion and so do not play with them or stimulate them in any way. This can result in cats that are bored, even ill and more prone to get into trouble. They don’t understand that cats can be trained.
You would think that by now everyone believes in the importance of neutering and spaying and that no one would just abandon a cat or mistreat it. Unfortunately, statistics prove otherwise.
Happy Cats Haven wants adopters to feel at home and be able to view the cats in a more natural environment. The process to adopt a cat is lengthy to assure a good match and a forever home. There are people wanting to adopt and people wanting to surrender cats. This is a no kill facility with limited space so anyone wishing to give up an animal must go through a more involved process for their animal to be accepted. The staff is here to help you work out problems with your pet so you can make it better and not give up the cat. As is the case with most shelters they rely heavily on volunteer help and donations. They prefer money to products, but do accept either. They also appreciate Costco cards to help with everyday expenses. They have items for sale at the shelter and on their website. Look for their upcoming events which will be announced here.
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