Hours: Thurs-Mon, noon-6 pm

Welcome to Cat Care Society

We’re a free-roaming cat shelter founded in 1981 to improve the quality of life for cats in need. Our unique approach views all cats as worthy, regardless of their age or abilities.

View our adoptable animals today!

PARDON OUR DUST! OPEN WHILE UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Paws on the Green Golf Tournament

Hit the green and help cats! Paws on the Green is one of Cat Care Society’s key fundraising events of the year.

 

Team spots and sponsorships are open through August 9!

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Our Mission

To be a safe and enriching place for all cats on their journey to a loving home. We do this by providing compassionate care, shelter, adoption services and community engagement.
a tortie cat

Meet

Soup

Lonely Hearts Club Member

Looking for a cozy lap cap to cuddle in with a good book and a cup of, say soup? Come meet Soup! This 10-year-old gal has been at the shelter since January and is ready to go to a home where she can be her best self. Soup is a gentle, sweet soul who likes cheek pets and some quiet company. She gets along well with other cats, too. Oh, and her adoption fee has been sponsored!

Person wearing a blue volunteer t-shirt holding an orange cat

Volunteer

Get involved by giving back! We have many volunteer roles available to help support the cats in our shelter. A few hours can make a world of difference.

Foster

Open up your home by caring for a cat in need and reap an incredibly rewarding experience. You help them thrive; we’ll take care of the rest.

Adopt

Save a life and find your new best friend while opening up more space in the shelter. After picking out your purrfect match, apply to adopt!

Upcoming Events

August 13, 2023

Free Adoption Event & Thrift Shop: Clear the Shelters

June 22, 2024

Seminar: Building a Better Bond with Your Kitty

June 22, 2024

CCS @ Denver PrideFest

July 27, 2024

Seminar: Resolving Litter Box Issues

August 23, 2024

Paws on the Green Golf Tournament

August 24, 2024

Seminar: Keeping Senior Cats Healthy & Young

September 28, 2024

Seminar: The Benefits of Play

October 26, 2024

Seminar: Clicker Training Your Cats

September 20, 2025

Tails of the Painted Cats

The Whisker Whisper Blog

July 12, 2024

Inside CCS’ Enrichment Efforts & Team

Enrichment is an important element in caring for cats, especially in the often-stressful shelter environment. CCS has always had a dedicated team of volunteer socializers and animal care technicians to support cats. But when two current staff members started, they saw an opportunity to increase the impact.

One animal care tech took an interest in feline enrichment and laid the groundwork. Kelly Cunningham, now our lead enrichment specialist, created an “enrichment calendar” to use with the cats. However, with few supplies, she had to get creative, collecting paper towel rolls, crinkly paper and pipe cleaners to provide enrichment on a shoestring budget.

Once Sonia Holmstrom, CCS’ foster & behavior supervisor, joined the team last year, things took off. With a background in animal behavior and experience in zoos, she has been hard at work creating our own behavior & enrichment program. Thanks to our recent partnership, we’ve implemented KONG’s toys in the shelter to create specialized enrichment experiences for the cats.

“Since the enrichment program found funding, we were able to get more supplies, treats and toys to stock the shelf,” Kelly shared. “The kitties are spoiled with the coolest and newest cat toys on the market! Everything we use for enrichment now benefits the cats by allowing them to feel safe, comfortable and confident enough to express their natural behaviors. We’ve already seen such an improvement in the overall happiness of our cats.”

“It has been fun to build a program that targets improved mental stimulation, exercise and socialization for cats in the shelter, as well as for adopted cats,” Sonia said. “We want to see cats expressing their natural behaviors while also strengthening a bond with humans. The enrichment program has also supported our efforts with cats who need behavior modification.”

“Our shy kitties come around at a much quicker pace than before,” Kelly added. “Many of the anxious and fearful cats come out of their shell faster, and it’s because we have a dedicated team of staff and volunteers who make sure these cats are enriched and happy. Before the program, it would take some cats months to show any behavioral improvement. Now, most of them improve in weeks! This can drastically reduce the length of time they spend in the shelter. Confident cats are adoptable cats!”

What’s the difference? Cat enrichment enhances overall well-being, while behavior modification targets specific behaviors for improvement.

A cat’s enrichment is tailored to their needs based on factors like age, diet, medical needs, behavior and personal preference. A successful tailored enrichment program provides:

  • Safety, predictability and consistent, positive interaction with humans
  • Easy access to resources
  • Personal space and vertical territory
  • The choice for a cat to interact, avoid or hide
  • Play/exercise opportunities & sensory stimulation

“First, I consider the environmental enrichment,” Kelly said. “The rooms are set up to fit the individual needs of the cats to reduce stress and anxiety: Where do they like to hang out? Do they like vertical space? Do they prefer to have their own ‘corner’? In a multi-cat room, this is accomplished by splitting the room into smaller areas, each spot with its own bed, food/water and litter box so each cat can claim their own space and reduce tension over territory. The furniture is strategically placed to maximize the ‘cat superhighway’ space and allow for more vertical movement. I also consider what kind of bedding they prefer, if they sleep up high or down low, if they hide/play in tunnels or use them to cross the room unseen. Many cats prefer water fountains, which are great for environmental enrichment. A variety of scratchers are also a necessity for scent-marking. I make sure to include several different kinds of toys; I put battable toys of different textures, (crinkly, soft, jingle bell) on the floor and on high surfaces. I also set out solo play toys, such as the ball & track type or interactive/motion toys. Finally, I leave out treat puzzles for cognitive stimulation. Before I leave the room, I engage in hunt and play sessions with the kitties. Our enrichment charts have a spot for comments where we write the cat’s preferences or favorite toys, which has been helpful in deciding what to use each day.”

Kelly’s favorite recent success story is Holly and Chloe, a pair who came to CCS extremely fearful and reactive. Because of their age and some medical issues, at first we did not believe they would have a successful outcome. Kelly began to visit them several times a day, playing David Teie’s cat frequency music while sitting on the floor, offering a Churu treat and some calming words and pets with a telescoping brush.

“Chloe seemed to be a bit more social and less reactive than Holly, but I was still determined to help these two feel safe and happy,” she explained. “Holly moved into her own room and relaxed only a tiny bit, so she went to a lovely behavior foster who put in so much time and effort helping her come out of her shell. Truly, Holly’s behavior would not have improved without the help of our foster. In the meantime, Chloe was moved into the shy cat room. I visited her several times a day and gave her lots of treats and attention. For a while she would remain in the hidey cube and let me pet/talk to her, but after two weeks, she would come out of the cube to greet me and solicit pets. Then I began short play sessions and offered treat puzzles (which I discovered she absolutely loved). A month or so later, Chloe had improved remarkably and was greeting most people who entered the room and showed her some attention. Holly came back from foster and joined her sibling in the room. I used the same methods on Holly then; consistently going in to sit with her, establish trust and build confidence. About a week before she got adopted, she was also coming out of the hidey bed to greet me when I approached. I truly believe these two became so confident and happy because of the dedication of our love, attention, time and enrichment we provided for them during their stay. I’m so happy they both found their forever homes. I’m so proud of how far they came!”

There can be misconceptions about what enrichment for cats. Though cats can be independent or aloof, that doesn’t mean they don’t need interaction. “Enrichment is necessary for the physical and emotional well-being of cats, which is more than just playing with them,” Kelly said. “Enrichment provides an environment that is comfortable, safe and stimulating. Enrichment gives cats the confidence to be their best selves. Imagine if you lived in a house with nothing to entertain you or make you feel at home! No comfy beds or couches, no TV, no video games, no snacks or hobbies. Life would be pretty boring. Cats are no different, and it’s our responsibility as pet owners to give our animals a fulfilling, happy life.”

To learn more, visit our Behavior & Enrichment program page!

July 2, 2024

Bringing Home a New Cat: Tips for Introducing Cats to Each Other

Are your favorite houseplants safe for your feline friend? Discover which plants to avoid and which are safe for your cat-friendly home, as well as how to keep your kitty from munching on greenery. With these tips, you’ll gain peace of mind knowing your home is a safe haven for your furry companion.
July 2, 2024

The Importance of Feline Enrichment: A Shelter Director’s Take

It’s another busy summer season here at Cat Care Society. As is typical for this time of year, we are seeing a rise in requests to take in cats as we — and many other shelters — navigate the influx of kittens. As we head toward the final peak of the season around October, we also have several irons in the fire for CCS’ future. You may have noticed some construction recently as we install a new elevator. More special projects are in the works to ensure our building can best serve the cats in our care.

In our summer 2024 Cat Care Quarterly, you will find several articles about cat behavior and enrichment — two topics that we’ve been focusing on lately that you will hear more about! It’s so important to us to offer experiences that help build the minds and bodies of our feline friends so that they are happier, healthier and more adoptable.

But there are actually some common misconceptions about why exactly enrichment matters. In fact, research about cats has been significantly behind what has been done for behavior modification in dogs. Why is this? While there is a long and varied list that has brought about this lag, much of it is related to the idea that cats are more independent and not as social as dogs.

Posing a potential risk to the public, animal welfare policy has been directed at statutes focusing on dogs as well as the creation of animal shelters to house them. This focus is partially why they’ve received the bulk of behavioral research! Unfortunately for cats, they haven’t received the same level of support until recent years.

Throughout my time working in shelters, I’ve seen a few trends play out. Dog owners experiencing unwanted behaviors often think about working with a professional to resolve an issue. Plus, it’s easier to find a dog trainer than a cat behaviorist. Cat owners are more likely to view a problem as unfixable (or too hard to fix) and rehome or surrender them.

Some shelters don’t take in cats in the first place, and even more aren’t able to offer formalized enrichment to the cats in their care due to capacity. The flip side of this is that cats are more at risk for health issues in shelters because they don’t handle stress well. Additionally, behavior exhibited by cats is often  labeled incorrectly, limiting our ability to create possible interventions and support plans.

That’s what we’re trying to change. By building a comprehensive cat enrichment and behavior program, we hope to begin slowly changing the narrative and evening out these trends. Cat Care Society has long been dedicated to supporting cats and their owners through adopter education and seminars. But now, we’re ready to take it a step further. We want to up our game and offer better avenues for cats in our care to exhibit normal behaviors. The opportunity to learn to trust humans, to play with toys, stimulate their senses and increase their physical and mental development, is something we are so passionate about and excited for.

When we take in unsocialized or fearful cats, we’ll now have a system for them to gain confidence faster, to address their needs in meaningful ways and create opportunities for those who have a need that has gone unfilled.

We couldn’t do this work without the support of our partners, though. We are so thankful for the other shelters in our area who trust us to take in their animals and work with them successfully. Because other rescue groups — especially those in rural areas — don’t have the same resources, we welcome their animals to our facility to work with our medical and behavioral team and have a real chance.

We have seen countless animals who weren’t thriving in other shelters or a prior home come out of their shells and completely transform once they’re in an environment that offers them the space and support to blossom. No shelter is the same as a home, but the closer we can get to that, the better a cat will do. Our free-roaming spaces and enrichment opportunities means that these kitties can become their true selves, find their natural behaviors and let their personalities shine. This makes adopters be able to envision that cat in their home easier and have a more successful adoption story. And every adoption — and foster home — means that we are able to help one more cat have that same opportunity.

If you’re looking for more information on cat enrichment or need help finding a behaviorist, please visit our website’s Resources, Enrichment and Blog pages, or reach out to talk to us about how we can help!

More Resources

July 12, 2024

Inside CCS’ Enrichment Efforts & Team

Enrichment is an important element in caring for cats, especially in the often-stressful shelter environment. CCS has always had a dedicated team of volunteer socializers and animal care technicians to support cats. But when two current staff members started, they saw an opportunity to increase the impact.

One animal care tech took an interest in feline enrichment and laid the groundwork. Kelly Cunningham, now our lead enrichment specialist, created an “enrichment calendar” to use with the cats. However, with few supplies, she had to get creative, collecting paper towel rolls, crinkly paper and pipe cleaners to provide enrichment on a shoestring budget.

Once Sonia Holmstrom, CCS’ foster & behavior supervisor, joined the team last year, things took off. With a background in animal behavior and experience in zoos, she has been hard at work creating our own behavior & enrichment program. Thanks to our recent partnership, we’ve implemented KONG’s toys in the shelter to create specialized enrichment experiences for the cats.

“Since the enrichment program found funding, we were able to get more supplies, treats and toys to stock the shelf,” Kelly shared. “The kitties are spoiled with the coolest and newest cat toys on the market! Everything we use for enrichment now benefits the cats by allowing them to feel safe, comfortable and confident enough to express their natural behaviors. We’ve already seen such an improvement in the overall happiness of our cats.”

“It has been fun to build a program that targets improved mental stimulation, exercise and socialization for cats in the shelter, as well as for adopted cats,” Sonia said. “We want to see cats expressing their natural behaviors while also strengthening a bond with humans. The enrichment program has also supported our efforts with cats who need behavior modification.”

“Our shy kitties come around at a much quicker pace than before,” Kelly added. “Many of the anxious and fearful cats come out of their shell faster, and it’s because we have a dedicated team of staff and volunteers who make sure these cats are enriched and happy. Before the program, it would take some cats months to show any behavioral improvement. Now, most of them improve in weeks! This can drastically reduce the length of time they spend in the shelter. Confident cats are adoptable cats!”

What’s the difference? Cat enrichment enhances overall well-being, while behavior modification targets specific behaviors for improvement.

A cat’s enrichment is tailored to their needs based on factors like age, diet, medical needs, behavior and personal preference. A successful tailored enrichment program provides:

  • Safety, predictability and consistent, positive interaction with humans
  • Easy access to resources
  • Personal space and vertical territory
  • The choice for a cat to interact, avoid or hide
  • Play/exercise opportunities & sensory stimulation

“First, I consider the environmental enrichment,” Kelly said. “The rooms are set up to fit the individual needs of the cats to reduce stress and anxiety: Where do they like to hang out? Do they like vertical space? Do they prefer to have their own ‘corner’? In a multi-cat room, this is accomplished by splitting the room into smaller areas, each spot with its own bed, food/water and litter box so each cat can claim their own space and reduce tension over territory. The furniture is strategically placed to maximize the ‘cat superhighway’ space and allow for more vertical movement. I also consider what kind of bedding they prefer, if they sleep up high or down low, if they hide/play in tunnels or use them to cross the room unseen. Many cats prefer water fountains, which are great for environmental enrichment. A variety of scratchers are also a necessity for scent-marking. I make sure to include several different kinds of toys; I put battable toys of different textures, (crinkly, soft, jingle bell) on the floor and on high surfaces. I also set out solo play toys, such as the ball & track type or interactive/motion toys. Finally, I leave out treat puzzles for cognitive stimulation. Before I leave the room, I engage in hunt and play sessions with the kitties. Our enrichment charts have a spot for comments where we write the cat’s preferences or favorite toys, which has been helpful in deciding what to use each day.”

Kelly’s favorite recent success story is Holly and Chloe, a pair who came to CCS extremely fearful and reactive. Because of their age and some medical issues, at first we did not believe they would have a successful outcome. Kelly began to visit them several times a day, playing David Teie’s cat frequency music while sitting on the floor, offering a Churu treat and some calming words and pets with a telescoping brush.

“Chloe seemed to be a bit more social and less reactive than Holly, but I was still determined to help these two feel safe and happy,” she explained. “Holly moved into her own room and relaxed only a tiny bit, so she went to a lovely behavior foster who put in so much time and effort helping her come out of her shell. Truly, Holly’s behavior would not have improved without the help of our foster. In the meantime, Chloe was moved into the shy cat room. I visited her several times a day and gave her lots of treats and attention. For a while she would remain in the hidey cube and let me pet/talk to her, but after two weeks, she would come out of the cube to greet me and solicit pets. Then I began short play sessions and offered treat puzzles (which I discovered she absolutely loved). A month or so later, Chloe had improved remarkably and was greeting most people who entered the room and showed her some attention. Holly came back from foster and joined her sibling in the room. I used the same methods on Holly then; consistently going in to sit with her, establish trust and build confidence. About a week before she got adopted, she was also coming out of the hidey bed to greet me when I approached. I truly believe these two became so confident and happy because of the dedication of our love, attention, time and enrichment we provided for them during their stay. I’m so happy they both found their forever homes. I’m so proud of how far they came!”

There can be misconceptions about what enrichment for cats. Though cats can be independent or aloof, that doesn’t mean they don’t need interaction. “Enrichment is necessary for the physical and emotional well-being of cats, which is more than just playing with them,” Kelly said. “Enrichment provides an environment that is comfortable, safe and stimulating. Enrichment gives cats the confidence to be their best selves. Imagine if you lived in a house with nothing to entertain you or make you feel at home! No comfy beds or couches, no TV, no video games, no snacks or hobbies. Life would be pretty boring. Cats are no different, and it’s our responsibility as pet owners to give our animals a fulfilling, happy life.”

To learn more, visit our Behavior & Enrichment program page!

July 2, 2024

Bringing Home a New Cat: Tips for Introducing Cats to Each Other

Are your favorite houseplants safe for your feline friend? Discover which plants to avoid and which are safe for your cat-friendly home, as well as how to keep your kitty from munching on greenery. With these tips, you’ll gain peace of mind knowing your home is a safe haven for your furry companion.
July 2, 2024

The Importance of Feline Enrichment: A Shelter Director’s Take

It’s another busy summer season here at Cat Care Society. As is typical for this time of year, we are seeing a rise in requests to take in cats as we — and many other shelters — navigate the influx of kittens. As we head toward the final peak of the season around October, we also have several irons in the fire for CCS’ future. You may have noticed some construction recently as we install a new elevator. More special projects are in the works to ensure our building can best serve the cats in our care.

In our summer 2024 Cat Care Quarterly, you will find several articles about cat behavior and enrichment — two topics that we’ve been focusing on lately that you will hear more about! It’s so important to us to offer experiences that help build the minds and bodies of our feline friends so that they are happier, healthier and more adoptable.

But there are actually some common misconceptions about why exactly enrichment matters. In fact, research about cats has been significantly behind what has been done for behavior modification in dogs. Why is this? While there is a long and varied list that has brought about this lag, much of it is related to the idea that cats are more independent and not as social as dogs.

Posing a potential risk to the public, animal welfare policy has been directed at statutes focusing on dogs as well as the creation of animal shelters to house them. This focus is partially why they’ve received the bulk of behavioral research! Unfortunately for cats, they haven’t received the same level of support until recent years.

Throughout my time working in shelters, I’ve seen a few trends play out. Dog owners experiencing unwanted behaviors often think about working with a professional to resolve an issue. Plus, it’s easier to find a dog trainer than a cat behaviorist. Cat owners are more likely to view a problem as unfixable (or too hard to fix) and rehome or surrender them.

Some shelters don’t take in cats in the first place, and even more aren’t able to offer formalized enrichment to the cats in their care due to capacity. The flip side of this is that cats are more at risk for health issues in shelters because they don’t handle stress well. Additionally, behavior exhibited by cats is often  labeled incorrectly, limiting our ability to create possible interventions and support plans.

That’s what we’re trying to change. By building a comprehensive cat enrichment and behavior program, we hope to begin slowly changing the narrative and evening out these trends. Cat Care Society has long been dedicated to supporting cats and their owners through adopter education and seminars. But now, we’re ready to take it a step further. We want to up our game and offer better avenues for cats in our care to exhibit normal behaviors. The opportunity to learn to trust humans, to play with toys, stimulate their senses and increase their physical and mental development, is something we are so passionate about and excited for.

When we take in unsocialized or fearful cats, we’ll now have a system for them to gain confidence faster, to address their needs in meaningful ways and create opportunities for those who have a need that has gone unfilled.

We couldn’t do this work without the support of our partners, though. We are so thankful for the other shelters in our area who trust us to take in their animals and work with them successfully. Because other rescue groups — especially those in rural areas — don’t have the same resources, we welcome their animals to our facility to work with our medical and behavioral team and have a real chance.

We have seen countless animals who weren’t thriving in other shelters or a prior home come out of their shells and completely transform once they’re in an environment that offers them the space and support to blossom. No shelter is the same as a home, but the closer we can get to that, the better a cat will do. Our free-roaming spaces and enrichment opportunities means that these kitties can become their true selves, find their natural behaviors and let their personalities shine. This makes adopters be able to envision that cat in their home easier and have a more successful adoption story. And every adoption — and foster home — means that we are able to help one more cat have that same opportunity.

If you’re looking for more information on cat enrichment or need help finding a behaviorist, please visit our website’s Resources, Enrichment and Blog pages, or reach out to talk to us about how we can help!

More Resources

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Tues–Weds: Closed
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