Things are looking up for the cats at Homeward Bound Pet Shelter. Yoga4Cats, the volunteer-initiated fundraiser that received international attention in 2015 with a video that went viral, has resulted in donations sufficient to fund shelter upgrades for the free-roaming feline living spaces.

After all of the excitement with the first event in June, we had to keep going – and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the donations from the next event, said Jeanette Skaluba, HBPS volunteer and microbiology supervisor at Meda. Yoga4Cats – A Black Cat Affair was hosted in October [at the Madden Arts Council] and featured adoptable black cats. This event raised $1800 and Project Catification was born!

Jeanette enlisted two retired engineers to help with the catification carpentry – her dad from Michigan and locally, Jack Kelsheimer. The volunteer team has catified two existing spaces at HBPS and hopes to complete all of the rooms with existing and future donations.

Jeanette added, “We now have vertical spaces that feature open and enclosed areas, and two cat superhighways! Our new rooms feature an inviting space for visitors to interact with the cats at eye level or while sitting comfortably so you can test drive a lap cat. Most importantly, it makes a huge difference in the quality of life for the cats as they wait for their forever homes.”

Kelly Gagnon, Director of Public Relations and Development at MRI, stated, “We’re really excited about this grass-roots volunteer project. It’s so motivating when you see a team of volunteers see a need for the shelter, raise funds to address the need and then do the leg work to make their vision a reality. We are so lucky at Homeward Bound to have volunteers like Jeanette, Jack and others!”

Yoga4Cats continues to receive positive press. Best Friends Animal Society, based in Kanab, Utah operates the nations largest sanctuary for homeless animals and provides adoption, spay/neuter and educational programs. The Yoga4Cats fundraiser concept is currently featured in Best Friends Jan/Feb 2016 magazine as part of their “For the Love of Cats” article which highlights innovative cat adoption strategies.

Catification is the process of creating feline-friendly environments that cater to a cat’s natural instincts to climb, perch, rest, play, and claim their territory. This concept is particularly important for free-roaming cats in a shelter setting and utilizes the vertical space to give our cats more square footage!

Homeward Bound Pet Shelter will be hosting a Catification Open House this weekend on Saturday, January 23rd from 2 – 3:30 pm. Guests are welcome to stop in, enjoy snacks and refreshments, learn more about catification, and meet adoptable cats (and dogs)! Tickets will be sold for a catification raffle basket for additional project funds. Additional donations are welcome!