It doesn’t get any more ‘purr-fect’ for the felines up for adoption at the Patti Dale Animal Shelter, than having their very own ‘cat condos’ designed for their comfort and well-being.
An official groundbreaking ceremony for a new cat intake and isolation facility at the shelter on 56 Avenue in Aldergrove took place early Friday evening, June 16.
Given the nickname ISOasis, a play on isolation oasis, this Langley Animal Protection Society (LAPS) initiative has been in the making since 2014.
A sheltering first in Canada, the ISOasis will provide space for the care of sheltered cats and kittens in Langley, and will increase the shelter’s capacity to care for felines by as much as 40 per cent.
The purpose-built facility will provide dedicated isolation space, cat condo suites, an intake room, and more that will enhance the quality of life and reduce the time from intake to adoption, while limiting the spread of feline related diseases.
In Langley, roughly 23,000 homeless cats, combined with owned cats, are producing about 80,000 kittens every year. Seventy five per cent of those kittens will die before they are six months old. Not only do cats often struggle more in shelter than dogs, they are significantly more likely to be sick when brought into the shelter.
An outpouring of donations — to the tune of $591,000 — has brought ‘The Mews at ISOasis’ to this point.
During the groundbreaking, Jayne Nelson, the executive director and former manager of animal welfare with LAPS, said ‘The Mews’ is expected to break ground in early July, with project completion anticipated for late September.
“We really are the little shelter that could,” Nelson said. “LAPS has this amazing ability to do things that most would not think is possible for a shelter our size. Building the ISOasis is an awesome example of that special ability.”
Nelson thanked the Township of Langley for believing in the importance of providing a high quality of care for the more than 1,400 stray, lost, and unwanted animals in the community.
The Township committed 40 per cent of the funding for the ISOasis project.
Kathryn Welsman, the chair of the board of directors for LAPS, has been on the ISOasis committee since its inception, as both a board representative and a veterinarian.
“From a veterinarian/medicine point of view, I really couldn’t be more thrilled to see a shelter putting such proper emphasis on isolation,” she said. “Diseases such as ringworm and upper respiratory tract infections, they have such horrible impacts on the cats’ physical and mental health, and they add time and costs to the shelter, and they put a lot of strain on the staff to care for them.”
Welsman said the ISOasis addresses all these issues by creating an “optimal environment” to improve the cats’ health.
“This is something every citizen in Langley can be really proud of,” Welsman added.