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Cat Friendly Homing

Some of the Staff at Bluebell Ridge have completed a 20 week course with International Cat Care to become a Cat Friendly Homing Centre. We have built on the strong foundations we had already, and made some changes to further improve.

Principles of Cat Friendly Homing

  • Increase the number of cats we help

  • Improve cats' wellbeing during their stay in the Cattery

  • Decrease cats' length of stay

Increasing the Number of Cats Helped

We can achieve this by

  • Helping owners with advice when they encounter behavioural problems. It can be possible to improve difficult situations to the point that rehoming is no longer needed. If you are having problems, please don't struggle alone. Give us a call; behaviour problems are always easier to tackle when they first arise, before they become habit. 

  • If rehoming is necessary, we will gather as much information as possible before admitting them to the Cattery. This information will help us assess the best time to admit them, depending on how many we already have in the Cattery, so we can ensure we can effectively care for everyone's needs. For example, if a very nervous cat needs to come in, and if the owner's situation allows, it is best to admit them when the Cattery is quieter, and therefore less overwhelming for them. Staff will have more time to monitor their behaviour and meet their needs. We would also have more choice as to where to place them in the Cattery, finding them a quieter pod with less human and cat traffic to reduce stress.

  • We can actually increase the number of cats we help and rehome ​by reducing the number of cats in the cattery at any one time.

    • It reduces stress levels in the cats as they don't feel overcrowded. ​

    • It allows the staff to care for each individual's needs well.

    • Improving their wellbeing and reducing stress during their stay helps them to feel more at ease meeting strangers. It also in turn improves their physical health and resistance to illness.

    • As a result, they will find homes quicker, making way for more cats to come in and start their rehoming journey.

Care During Their Stay

  • Staff provide the cats with plenty of hiding opportunities in their indoor pods and outdoor runs to increase their feeling of safety. They know they haven't got far to go to hide if they need to.

    • Therefore, even the more nervous cats are more likely to come out of hiding to meet people and explore. 

  • We only interact with them when they come out of hiding and we follow Cat Friendly Interactions guidelines. If they stay hidden, we know they don't feel ready to interact. At this stage they need to feel invisible, and feel safer if we play along and pretend we can't see them. Normally, within a few days of 'decompressing', they will start to venture out and interact more. If not, we take steps to increase their feeling of safety and monitor their situation carefully. If extra measures are not successful in helping them cope with the Cattery environment, we look into moving them into a foster home.                     to go to the 'Meeting the Cats' page for more information on Cat Friendly Interactions.

  • When a cat is admitted to the Cattery, staff carry out a health check before putting them into their pod. This way, we can let them settle in and decompress without having to uproot them later. They are vet checked as soon as possible, normally within a week of their arrival.

  • We conduct a Behaviour Assessment 2-3 days after their arrival. These Assessments are repeated at regular intervals during their stay with us. These help us to determine if additional measures are needed. This could be additional enrichment, extra hiding, a hands off approach, or a single carer approach to help them build trust and confidence. The video below shows the success of a single carer approach. Willow was completely overwhelmed by her move into the Cattery. She could not cope and was quite aggressive. Over the course of a few weeks, with the consistency of just two people caring for her (to cover the whole week), she gained confidence and trust in her people. She blossomed into the most gorgeous cat with such character. She even went on to be homed with a younger family.                   

Willow is calling the shots here. She is only fussed when she makes it very clear she's ready. 

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