Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
WASHINGTON — The Paws & More animal shelter held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, celebrating the opening of its new catio.
Shelter Director Amber Talbot said the new $35,000 feature was funded by an anonymous donor.
“It was his wish,” she said. “He walked in one day with a check and he said, ‘Build a catio,’ and I said, ‘OK.’”
Talbot said the space would provide tremendous enrichment for the shelter’s cats.
“Providing enrichment for these cats is just so critical in animal sheltering, because if we aren’t providing enrichment, their health is going to decline,” she said. “That doesn’t leave them in a very healthy place for adoption.”
While the shelter keeps cats in “communal living” spaces, Talbot said the more private play area would be helpful.
“They’re in little colonies, but that also doesn’t give someone private one-on-one time,” she said. “It can be a little overwhelming for someone to go into a colony to pet one and getting surrounded by the others … it’s a cage-free space where they can relax and really be themselves.”
Talbot said the room was built with versatility in mind.
“Anybody could throw up some chicken wire and a frame, so it could have been much more affordable, but this really needed this to be an all-seasons addition,” she said. “We’re in Iowa and we wanted to make sure that the weather wasn’t going to be an issue.”
The event marked the shelters’ most crowded time of year, and the beginning of its spin-the-wheel event, in which people adopting pets spin a wheel for a random discount on their adoption fees.
“This is our busiest time of year, so we’re really desperate for kitties to get out of these cages and into homes before the holidays,” she said.