Foothills Animal Shelter gets a catio

New outdoor space, which cats can access on their own, will be a boon for cats used to being outside

Paul Albani-Burgio
palbaniburgio@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 6/10/21

One of the longstanding problems with animal shelters is that cats are usually relegated to being second-class citizens within them, Foothills Animal Shelter Executive Director Connie Howard says. …

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Foothills Animal Shelter gets a catio

New outdoor space, which cats can access on their own, will be a boon for cats used to being outside

Posted

One of the longstanding problems with animal shelters is that cats are usually relegated to being second-class citizens within them, Foothills Animal Shelter Executive Director Connie Howard says.

“Animal shelters were designed for dogs, they just were, and cats became this sort of aside that often were put in substandard spaces and too-small cages,” she said. “And we often didn’t know a lot about the behavior and needs of cats.”

But at Foothills, the addition of a new fenced in outdoor space the staff are calling a “catio” is the latest step to changing that and providing a better environment for the increasing number of cats that are end up spending time in the shelter.

The new space, which was officially opened with a ribbon-cutting event on June 4, contains toy and play equipment designed for cats.

Cats housed in an updated space designed specifically for cats that have adjusted to shelter life will be able to access the space on their own whenever they want via their own doors leading into it (another space for cats that are still adjusting to the shelter is also being updated).

Howard said the space will be particularly helpful for those cats that are used to being able to roam freely outside.

“For those cats that have been indoor/outdoor cats, often the transition to the shelter can be really challenging,” she said. “So we are trying to do a lot to help those cats and we are excited to say today that this new catio is part of that.”

The patio was funded by Donna Toeroek, a longtime donor to the shelter who said she has “a big heart for cats.”

“Connie said ‘let’s see if we can make a catio,’” said Toeroek. “And I said `what the heck is catio?’ But then I thought what a good because some of the cats I adopted were outside most of the time and it’s an adjustment. And now to see it, it’s really amazing.”

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