The Cat Lounge is one of our most popular rooms at the shelter. The room is just off of the lobby and can hold up to 6 or more cats who are free to roam the space, play, eat, and interact with the public. Almost everyone who comes in to look at cats makes a stop in the lounge for playing, petting, and other positive interactions with the cats. In fact, if you’re a cat at the APCSM, the lounge is where you want to be. So how do we decide what cats make it into the lounge? The truth is that a variety of factors can make a cat eligible (or ineligible) for the lounge. Read on for a behind the scenes look into our cat evaluation process for: The Cat Lounge.
Factor 1: Health. Our first job here at the shelter is to keep our pets healthy and safe on their Journey Home. If a cat is sick with anything – even something mild – they can’t go to the lounge. Examples of this might be a cold or respiratory infection, an open wound like from a dental surgery, or something congenital like Cerebellar Hypoplasia. If there is a condition that could put either that cat or the rest of the lounge at risk, the cat can’t go in.
Also, the cat lounge is a free-feeding space. That means we set out several bowls of wet food, dry food, and water for all the cats to share. Therefore, if a cat has a special diet he can’t go to the lounge. Grain free? Nope. Diabetic? Nope. Wet food only? Nope. Really fat and needs a diet? Sorry. If we need to manage the cat’s food for any reason from portion control to special digestive wet food that cat can’t be in the lounge.
Factor 2: Personality. The health and safety of our animals is always priority #1 but personality comes close behind. After all, if a cat is aggressive to other cats and we let her into the lounge, that would endanger the safety of the others. We only even consider cats who seem to be OK around other cats AND people, and have no bite history.
Factor 3: Other Factors. There are a few other factors that will make a cat (or cats) more likely to be considered for the lounge. Bonded pairs that need to be kept together for example, do much better in the larger room than squeezed together in a cage on the adoption floor. Bigger cats that might need more room, or older cats that feel more comfortable resting on a big soft couch. If we only have a couple of slots open in the lounge and there are a bunch of cats that qualify, these are the factors that will give a pet priority.
If a cat is healthy and meets those criteria we’ll try a supervised visit to the Cat Lounge.
The Visit. A staff member will bring the potential lounge cat to the room and let him go to roam, sniff, and meet the other residents. The staffer will stay and observe the interactions between the cats in order to make sure there’s nothing unusual. We expect a certain amount of hissing, swatting, and challenging but by and large we’ll know pretty quickly if it’s real aggression or just posturing. If it’s a good fit we’ll let the pet stay in the lounge and when we open our visitors will see a furry new face waiting for love in the lounge.
The Takeaway. So here’s what the kids these days are calling “the cheat.” The cheat is that if you need a family cat that’s got no significant health issues and is good with other animals, humans, and even potentially kids, the lounge should be your first stop. Yes, the kittens are cute but the lounge cats are all pre-vetted for personality and ease of care or they wouldn’t be there in the first place. Now are they all “the perfect pet”? NO! There’s no such thing as a perfect pet, just a pet that’s perfect for you and depending on your needs the right pet for you may not be in the lounge. But it’s a good place to start.