Stacked steel cages line the walls of the Humane Society of Utah’s old cat adoption room, and an information card attached to each cage reveals the animal’s name and the reason its owner gave it up.
The cryptic excuses include “moved, no time, having a baby, owner problem, destruction” and so on. Behind bars, the furry felines watch and wait.
“This is about as good as it got. If you were a cat and got in here, you were living large,” said HSU Communications Director Carl Arky, referring to the old space where cats were taken for a chance at a new home.He said hundreds of cats wait in the shelter’s receiving wing until space opens up in the adoption center where prospective owners can get a look at them.
Thanks to generous donors, that sad scenario is set to change dramatically this weekend. The organization will open its new Kitty City, a remodeled wing of rooms that contain “townhouses, condos and villas” that give the adoptable felines more freedom and opportunities to interact with each other and visiting humans.
HSU Executive Director Gene Baierschmidt hailed the advent of Kitty City as one of the most exciting and significant moments in the shelter’s 52-year history.
“Instead of steel cages, our cats will now live in beautiful rooms and enclosures,” Baierschmidt said in a statement, adding the animals now have a cozier place to “take cat naps, play with other cats and meet all the people who will want to come and experience Kitty City for themselves.”
Between 60 to 70 cats occupy the old steel cages, while Kitty City will accommodate three times that many — in surroundings where people can stroke their fur and get a feel for their personalities and behavior.