Times have changed for some lucky cats in certain shelters who’ve been able to provide a “cat room” or “cat colony room” where cats can live communally, walk freely, and interact with prospective adopters at will rather than the row upon row of steel cages I’d grown up seeing at this same shelter. These four cats were just hanging out being cats, socializing with each other and with humans if by no other means than eye contact, and no doubt feeling like a part of everyday life in their room just off the lobby of the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society‘s North Shore shelter.
Below, Dillon sleepily observes action outside his deluxe picture window.
Tabby girl Caramel had been at the door just waiting for a human to come along and visit, then Xavier, full of gravitas, spied me and made a bee line for the door, both waiting for the expected opening and attention from humans. It was too close to closing time so I did not, rudely just taking photos as I walked back out to the main lobby.
Xavier was not taking “no” for an answer! He paralleled me, walking through the room as I walked down the short hallway, then jumped up on the sill for the small vent window to look at me at eye level. How could I resist such a magnificent being? Cat colony rooms help cats stay socialized to humans and other cats while waiting for a home, and as Xavier did, they can make eye contact with a human and move about as they would in a room in your home, and approach a human at will, a very natural way to meet your new best friend.
Even the cages have changed though, the rectangular cages each having a small area walled off and accessible through a fun little port hole, a place where kitty can rest and get some quiet time.
The WPHS isn’t the only shelter in the city with a cat colony room. The Animal Rescue League purchased an old gas station property next door to the shelter and converted it to house cats and include several rooms where cats could live communally.
Read more about the success of cat colonies in “All Together Now” in Animal Sheltering, “The Shelter Revolution” and “Creature Comforts: New Directions in Cat Housing and Enrichment” in American Humane Magazine.
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I regularly stop to visit kitties in the cat rooms, as well as kitties who are still in the cage areas, and I’m most often at WPHS because it’s on my end of town. Resist all kitties I must, for there are no rooms at my inn, and I was on a mission. I stopped at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society on Tuesday to pick up an ear-tipped kitty who had been trapped and surrendered by someone who apparently didn’t understand the ear-tip meaning. The shelter does not keep ear-tipped cats, but they will contact the Homeless Cat Management Team to let them know an ear-tipped cat has arrived, and someone will pick up the cat before the end of the day. This was my mission this past Tuesday evening, arriving just before the shelter was closing. I had been heading to a rescuer’s home to take a kitty to a prospective adopter’s home on a home visit to see how they got along, so I stopped for the ear-tipped calico and took her to that rescuer’s home for her to foster.
Read more articles about Health and Safety and Veterinary Medicine.
Browse some rescued cats and kittens—browse here or visit PittsburghCAT!
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!