All five Animal Humane Society locations will be closed September 1 in observance of the Labor Day holiday.

First-class felines

Cats get the suite life while they await new homes.

The cats at Animal Humane Society’s adoption centers now know a little about how we humans feel when we get an upgrade at the Hilton.

The centers at all five AHS locations have been modified so that instead of having access to only one cage, cats available for adoption can now wander through three of them. Yes, the felines have gone from having a room to having a suite.

According to Kathie Johnson, senior director of operations at AHS, the change came about based on recommendations from Sandra Newbury, DVM, of the University of California-Davis’ Koret Shelter Medicine Program, after she was invited to visit AHS.

“Dr. Newbury, using the Association of Shelter Veterinarian Guidelines, recommended that each cat should have two feet between litter box, food and an area to rest, or a separate area for each whenever possible,” Johnson said, “and our new arrangement gives them that separate area.” The change did not require replacing the existing cages, just the addition of a few new ones and cutting holes between them all. The modifications were made site by site during the past few months.

A key to making the change was being sure AHS could give the cats the extra rooms without causing a shortage of overall space. “We looked at a lot of data to be sure we would have the number of cages we needed,” Johnson said. “But we also know that if a situation causes the need for extra cages for a short period of time, we can always temporarily ‘plug’ the holes to immediately create more housing.” “The people here think the new arrangement is great,” Johnson said. “But the reviews from the cats are the most important thing -- and they just love it.”

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