Save the Lives of Shelter Pets in North America

by Petfinder Foundation
Mar 26, 2014

Easing the Stress of Shelter Life for Cats

The scratchers attach to the inside of cage doors.
The scratchers attach to the inside of cage doors.

Life in a cage is stressful for shelter cats, and stress can lead to health and behavior problems that keep cats from being adopted. So we have grant programs designed to ease cats' anxiety -- both in the shelter and as they transition into their new adoptive homes.

We grant adoption groups Stretch & Scratch cat scratchers and ACES Humaniac Cat Castles cat carriers/habitats. Both go in cats' cages and enable them to engage in instinctive behaviors there (scratching, hiding and resting on higher ground). And both go home with the cats when they're adopted so they have something familiar in their new surroundings.

We've granted out 33,780 Cat Castles to 66 adoption groups and 40,000 Stretch & Scratch cat scratchers to 107 organizations.

Both grants have been huge hits. As Wendy Mirrotto, executive director of Kitten Krazy, Inc., in Medina, Ohio, tells us: "I LOVE these Stretch and Scratch Cat Scratchers! The cats love them, too! They are purrfect for any cage and give the cats somewhere to stretch and scratch -- a very important function for a cat."

The scratchers are especially helpful for cats who are isolated as they recover from illness or surgery, including Henrietta, who was found frozen to a pipe and had to have a leg amputated due to frostbite; Bea, who arrived at the shelter covered in burns and stab wounds; and Roadie, whose eye was dislodged from its socket and had to be surgically removed.

The scratchers also help cats adjust to foster and forever homes -- and can even curb unwanted behaviors there. "One of our adopters complained about [her new] kitten scratching furniture," says Feline Finish Line Rescue president Catherine McCulloch. "I gave her two scratchers and told her to tie them on the table legs. She said the kitten loved them and started to leave other items alone."

The Cat Castles likewise help cats both in shelters and at home. Inside their cages, the Castles give the cats a place to hide as well as an elevated vantage point (via a "turret" on top of the box) where they can view their surroundings while feeling secure.

"These boxes are vital to the enrichment and stimulation of the cats we are caring for while they are waiting for their forever homes," says Humane Society of Southern Arizona Associate Director of Development Morgan Rost. "The boxes/perches will remain with the cat or cats -- if a bonded pair -- through the duration of their time at the HSSA and will go home with each cat at the time of their adoption."

Thanks to donors like you, shelter cats can rest easy while waiting for their forever families.

Cat Castles include an elevated perching "turret."
Cat Castles include an elevated perching "turret."
A scratcher helped Henrietta recover from surgery.
A scratcher helped Henrietta recover from surgery.



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Organization Information

Petfinder Foundation

Location: Tucson, AZ - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Emily Fromm
Chief Development Officer
Tucson, AZ United States
$100,939 raised of $99,999 goal
1,684 donations
$0 to go
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