Shelter Enrichment

You can help make shelter cats more comfortable and adoptable.

In most shelters, cats live in small, easy-to-clean stainless-steel cages with a metal gate as the entry, a small litter pan, food, water, and a towel or blanket. This meets the most basic of physical needs, but in no way meets behavioral or emotional needs to keep a cat healthy and satisfied.

Cats communicate with scent. They have scent glands on their cheeks, their head, and their paw pads, and when a cat leans up and scratches something, they are effectively announcing, “this is my space, my home.” But in a stainless steel kennel, there is no place to scratch. Also, every time a worker sanitizes the cage – a necessary process – the cat’s natural scent is washed away, and kitty is left once again in an alien and frightening place.

Providing specially-designed cat scratchers helps a shelter cat feel much more secure and confident like they “own” the space they’re living in. For them, getting to scratch is like choosing your own couch or color of paint – it makes the room feel warmer and more inviting. Providing a scratcher helps alleviate boredom and reduces behaviors that discourage adoption. When the happy day finally arrives, and a shelter cat meets her new family, her scratcher will go home with her, providing a familiar and scented object to help kitty adjust to the new home.