Katie’s Place – Virtual Shelter Tour
When you drop by, the first thing you’ll see is the SPCA shelter. We’re behind that. You can park on the street and walk around, or you can drive into the parking lot and park closer to our building if there’s space.
You’ll see our building inside our fencing. Go through the double gate in the fence and you’ll see the shelter, below. The double gates help protect against accidental escapees. We’ll always close one gate before opening the second one so any four-legged opportunists will not be able to slip out of the compound.
Come in and you’ll find yourself in a long wide hallway pictured above. (But it won’t be as crowded as it was during our Grand Opening in the photo.)
A proud centerpiece at our new shelter is the Donor Dedication mural on the wall by the front door. It was painted lovingly and painstakingly, leaf by leaf, by one of our volunteers, Eva. There are enough leaves to acknowledge each donor of $200 or more (with spare leaves for the future). We think our mural embodies the spirit of Katie’s Place and the love that built it better than anything else could!
There are nine communal rooms off the hallway. Each is a bit different but each has the same design. They have screened windows and doors looking onto the hall, and a door at the other end of each room opens onto an attached, enclosed porch.
The new shelter has space for approximately 125 cats and small animals. They’re confined individually when they arrive until they’ve had a vet check and have acclimatized to the shelter.
In designing the shelter, the focus was on creating comfortable surroundings as much as possible. Social contact and a stimulating environment have proven to be big factors in maintaining the cats’ well being. There are cages for cats who must be segregated and monitored. However, experience has shown the volunteers that common bugs and viruses are managed best in a homelike environment.
Over the years, Katie’s Place has dealt with outbreaks of afflictions common at any shelter, such as cat flu. Efforts to isolate and disinfect at the old barn were futile. The volunteers medicated and monitored the animals and found that their recovery rate compared favourably to that of cats kept in isolation while sick. After the first few tense episodes, this was a welcome epiphany and had a great influence on the design of the new shelter.
Nothing can stop a bug from getting around, short of the stringent sterility of an operating room. Where people, animals, equipment, and supplies go, microbes travel with them. The biggest defense is a robust immune system. Stress compromises immunity and arriving in shelter care is stressful. Thus, many new cats have a bout of cat flu. But when they have space to wander, a selection of hidey holes, and social contact, their immune systems work at peak efficiency. Most new cats recover in short order. Longer term residents are rarely affected.
The Boys’ Room is at the front, beside the kitchen. (We call it “The Boys’ Room” because the residents are usually male.) These are the cats with Feline Leukemia (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). But you wouldn’t know they had a chronic condition unless we told you. These cats are plump, robust and happy. They won’t live as long as completely healthy cats but they can enjoy life for several years. Their porch is separated from the neighbouring porch by a plexiglass divider. The viruses pose no threat to the neighbouring cats. The boys will eventually have access to a part of the grounds around their porch.
The feral cats and semi-feral cats go to one of the back communal rooms, farthest from the bustle of activity. Those cats that prove irrevocably feral will go to a protected monitored feral colony. See the page about our feral property for more information and photos.
Porches allow the cats to enjoy the outdoors safely. They really love their porches and in summertime, most of them spend the whole day outside, sunning and watching birds and insects.
We are especially pleased with our new kitchen. Indoor plumbing and hot running water are a novelty for us. Compare the photo below of Marilyn washing dishes in the new kitchen with the photo of Caylee washing dishes in the outdoor area at the barn where our only water came from a cold water pump — big difference for us, especially in winter!
Beyond our kitchen is our laundry and storage room.
At the very back, we have a storage porch where we keep pet carriers and other equipment. We plan to create an area for bunnies out there. We haven’t had a lot of bunnies but we still get a few.
We also have a little display area at the back with special trinkets, cards, good books or other items that we think people might like to buy. When something nice is donated for which the shelter just isn’t a good place, we figure somebody else can enjoy it at home and we can put the proceeds toward animal care. Our sales cupboard isn’t large but we hope to reorganize things better over the next year and display more items. Check it out next time you drop by.
Volunteers come by daily to do the chores. They come when convenient for them — first thing in the morning or after work…. There’s no set schedule for anyone to be there so the shelter is closed to the public except for weekend Open Hours (12:00-2:00 Saturday and Sunday). People who want to adopt but can’t make the Open Hours can set up a time to meet a volunteer there. Anyone interested in seeing our animals and finding out about them before dropping by can click on Our Adoptable Pet List on our Petfinder page and see a complete listing of Katie’s Place animals currently available for adoption.
Now that you’ve seen our shelter, we hope you’ll drop by and meet our animals in person. Most of them love having visitors and crave the attention and affection they miss from their days when they had beloved families of their own.
We look forward to seeing you!