Mayor Murray officially opens the new Seattle Animal Shelter remodeled cat and critter areas

Mayor Murray joined Seattle Animal Shelter staff, volunteers and donors today to officially open the shelter’s newly remodeled cat and critter areas. The nonprofit Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation and private donors to the shelter generously provided much of the funding for this project, which provided updated and more flexible spaces for the animals.

“Seattle is a city that loves its animals, as the massive crowds at our Kitty Hall events prove year after year,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “These renovated spaces at the animal shelter provide more room for the animals and their adopters as they get to know each other. Shelter staff and volunteers will be able to provide better care for the animals as they help them find forever homes.”

The construction project called for an extensive upgrade of the cat room and critter area. The renovation of the cat adoption rooms more than doubled the typical cat housing unit footprint and provides flexibility for population variations. Three cat roaming rooms were added, allowing cats areas to play and increasing interaction with potential adopters. Critters were moved into a dedicated room with rabbit housing units, adjustable shelves for small critters and an abundance of daylight.

Taking advantage of the construction staging, the city expanded the project scope to include a new veterinary exam room, volunteer reception desk in the lower level lobby area and workspace for the foster care coordinator. Contractors also installed guillotine-style transfer doors in the dog kennels to provide increased staff safety when handling the dogs. Structural upgrades were completed on the electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems, including maximizing efficiency of existing equipment to allow more fresh air to reach the animals.

The Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation contributed $220,000 for the original cat and critter rooms remodel and an additional $65,000 for the veterinary exam room. Other funding sources include $200,000 from the shelter’s Help the Animals and Shelter Expansion funds and $1.6 million from other city funds. The total project cost, which included the additional structural work, was $2.1 million.

“The new cat and critter areas offers improved space for our staff, volunteers and, most importantly, the animals we care for,” said Don Jordan, Seattle Animal Shelter director. “Cats and critters now enjoy a more flexible and stimulating environment that better showcases them to potential adopters. We are so thankful to the foundation and its supporters for their generous contributions.”

During construction, cats and critters were housed in temporary animal care trailers. Dogs were also relocated to a trailer during the day to remove them from construction noise within the shelter facility, but were returned to the dog kennels each evening. Leading up to and during construction, the shelter sought additional foster families to give the animals a temporary home and break from the shelter environment. Almost 90 new foster families stepped up and more than 200 animals were placed into foster care during the project.

The Seattle Animal Shelter, located at 2061 15th Ave. W., is open Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. for adoptions and licensing. For more information, call 206-386-7387 (PETS), or view animals available for adoption online at www.seattleanimalshelter.org. Adoptable pets are also featured on “Pet of the Week” on the Seattle Channel at http://www.seattlechannel.org/CityStream/Pets.

Photo credit: City of Seattle

Left to right: (1) Adoptable cat Raja perches on a climbing wall in a cat roaming room. (2) Mayor Murray addresses the crowd as Shelter Director Don Jordan stands by. (3) Shelter Director Don Jordan, Mayor Murray and Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation President Julie Pitt were on hand for the opening of the new cat and critter suites. (4 and 5) Mayor Murray, Seattle Animal Shelter Director Don Jordan and Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation President Julie Pitt “cut the yarn” to open the shelter’s new cat and critter suites.