The Franklin County Humane Society will soon have some of the coolest cats around after winning $10,000 in a national competition.
The Union shelter was one of five selected in an essay competition about the benefits of Churu Veterinary Formula, a liquid puree feline appetite motivator. The essay discussed attending a 2019 conference put on by the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, where employees learned about cost-effective enhancements they can make to their Kitty City enclosures.
“Do you need to escape the stress of 2020? Watch a feline! The antics of healthy cats pouncing on unsuspecting friends, toys or even shadows are guaranteed to make people smile and giggle,” the nearly 500-word essay began.
The enhancements would help reduce anxiety in cats, as well as stress-related health problems like respiratory disease, according to the essay. Officials at the Humane Society created a “Pounce on Progress” plan to improve daily cat enrichment.
The $10,000 award will be used for improvements that will double the capacity of the Franklin County Humane Society’s glass enclosure rooms, with one being able to hold 12 cats at a time and the other eight.
“For us, it’s a way to expand how many cats we can have comfortably, without having to add on to the building,” said Laura Amlong, director of development.
It also will allow the shelter to put in new window boxes and high walkways, which encourage movement and play among the cats.
“We’re going to put shelves and walkways and little ladders on the wall, so they can climb, jump, explore,” said Humane Society board President Susie Blatt. “Cats love to be up high.”
The project was a team effort, with staff medical manager Laura Lay learning about it after talking to a Churu sales representative.
“This is something that we’ve wanted to do for so long,” Blatt said. “You can look in there and see there is plenty of space that’s not being used.”
Blatt said their essay were selected from hundreds of entries.
The winning essays were selected by a panel of veterinarians, said Becky Blomenkamp, regional sales consultant for Clipper Distributing, which distributes Churu and created the Churu Vet Feline Fund. The contest ran from October to December, with the winners notified after the new year.
This was the first time the contest was held.