The new year is often a time of reflection on the events of the year prior, as well as a time to look forward to exciting things coming in the year we’re starting out. For the ACS Feline Care Department, one of the first things that comes to mind is the development of our Barn Cat Program in 2018. We have had some exciting developments in this innovative and progressive program that finds loving homes for one of the most challenging types of cats to place in a shelter environment: feral cats.
The Barn Cat Program was designed to provide a happy solution for everyone in the placement of feral cats. Most importantly, we are giving the cats what they want—a return to an outdoor home away from daily contact with humans, with food and shelter provided so they can live a happy life. To feral cats who were never socialized to humans, we seem like aliens that want to abduct them and conduct experiments on them—poking, prodding, and continually trying to touch them when they are terrified at the very sight of us. Well-meaning as we may be (especially since some of the poking and prodding is to provide them the vet care they need!), the cats don’t understand it, and are happy to return to the life they know. On the human side, our barn cat adopters want to provide a home to cats that are in need of their help, and are happy to provide food and shelter in return for mouse patrol. Many barn cat adopters go the extra mile for their cats, providing heated cat houses, canned food treats, and anything else they can think of that the cats might like. These adopters are truly special people, and ACS often receives updates, pictures and stories from them as their barn cat journey unfolds.
In 2018, our Barn Cat Program received the exciting new addition of an outdoor enclosure to house the barn cats in during their stay with ACS, before they leave us for their new home. Eagle Scout Brody Cole of Troy designed and built a shelter for the cats, which combined with a donated “catio” and deck created a wonderful private space for these cats. The addition of this enclosure increases our capacity to provide humane housing for barn cats, since they have a safe and quiet space away from the stress of visitors. A stressed cat is a sick cat, not to mention an unhappy cat, so we are so excited to have this new space to give them the privacy they need to stay healthy and happy until they leave us for their new home!
For more information about the Barn Cat Program, please visit the link below!
~Emily Blade, Director of Feline Care
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