April 16, 2024

I’m a dog person. I grew up with large dogs including Labrador retrievers, huskies, Saint Bernards and Anatolian Shepherds. I love the way large dogs roam an area, protecting their turf. They’re big and lumbering, full of love and play.As much as I like these dogs, I dislike cats. To me, cats seem needy and moody, temperamental and vindictive. I don’t care for the way they can take over a space or insist on getting your attention until you feel forced to give it.It wasn’t until a recent visit to a large animal shelter that I began to look at cats a little differently.In a neighboring town there’s a large shelter facility. I believe they have a contract with the city to also serve as animal control. At any rate, the facility is equipped with wings to house dogs large and small. They also have cat rooms where the more docile cats can co-exist together, and a viewing room full of caged cats for those that need to be in their own space. My guide was well versed in animal behavior and even introduced me to their on-staff behaviorist who has spent years training birds, dolphins, cats and dogs.I learned that cats need mental and physical stimulation as much as any human. Items like cat trees give cats an opportunity to change their surroundings and see things differently. They can climb up cat trees and look down, hide in the enclosures as though stalking prey. They can use the sisal-wrapped posts as a place to scratch their nails. Cat trees are one way that shelter cats can get the physical stimulation necessary to keep them in good health (loose limbs, trim weight, etc.) but also the physical stimulation necessary to ward off bad behavior.If this interests you, I encourage you to check with your local animal shelter and find out if they’d benefit from a donation of cat trees. Maybe you can help enrich the lives of shelter animals near you.