One of the first things visitors will see in the new Aiken SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare are spacious cat adoption rooms. No more confining wire cages. There are also cat colony rooms with access to open-air porches. Staff photo by Haley Hughes.
Aiken SPCA staff and volunteers have begun moving into the Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare, the nonprofit organization’s brand new facility on Willow Run Road.
An estimated 150 animals were transported from the Aiken SPCA’s old shelter on Wire Road to the new center on Monday with more to make the move in the next few days as dogs, cats and humans work to get settled in the 20,000-square-foot building. The facility will open for business Thursday.
SPCA Board Chair Barbara Nelson flitted from room to room, taking pictures of the dog and cat adoption rooms with an iPad. She mentioned off hand that her eyes filled with tears Monday morning as she drove into the building’s parking lot.
Some cats were placed in spacious adoption rooms with large glass windows facing the reception area for unobstructed viewing. Others were placed in even larger colony rooms, complete with steps leading up to an elevated cat walk and access to open-air, screened-in porches visible from the exterior of the building.
Gone are the traditional wire cages, said Gary Willoughby, SPCA president and CEO. They were cramped and didn’t permit the cats to experience much mental and physical stimulation. Now, there is plenty of space and furniture fixtures for them to climb on and maneuver around.
The colonies are large enough to house up to 15 cats at a time, and potential adopters are encouraged to visit them so they can interact with the cats. There are even get-acquainted rooms where visitors can play, pet and cuddle with a cat one-on-one to determine if the furry friend is right for their home.
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