CATS GET OWN WESTE WING MORE PET ADOPTIONS EXPECTED FROM SHELTER'S NEW SOLARIUM.
CASTAIC - When word gets out about the plush scratching posts and sun-drenched window sills at the animal shelter's new cat solarium, kitties with warm homes and plenty of food may give their owners the slip.
While the spacious addition to the Castaic Animal Shelter was built to house strays and lost cats temporarily, the cushy appointments - feline favorites including padded laundry baskets and carpeted cat trees with semi-hidden crevices - may convince kitties they should stay.
``This solarium allows us to hold (the cats) a little longer,'' said Rosendo Perez, the shelter manager and a lieutenant with the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control. ``And people (wanting to adopt a cat) can come in and play with them, get more familiar with the cats.''
Local politicians, shelter employees and animal lovers officially opened the cat solarium Thursday morning with a brief ceremony and ribbon cutting.
Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Laurene Weste - a pet owner who runs a rescue shelter from her home - was surprised and touched when Perez unveiled a sign that introduced the spacious room as The Weste Wing Cat Habitat.
Weste proposed the project in 2001 at the groundbreaking for a Lancaster animal shelter.
``This is a very important thing for the public to know about,'' Weste said. ``People don't call this a pound like they used to. It's a shelter where people can feel comfortable bringing in animals. And when you take one of these kitties, they're not coming from a stress situation.''
The absence of stress in the demeanor of the half-dozen adult cats in the solarium Thursday was almost comical. Three of the distinctly different- looking cats lounged in a pile in a cushioned box - their limbs in a sleepy tangle.
With the county budget already stretched tightly, shelter employees and local businesses donated their time, money and materials to erect the room and furnish it with benches and kitty toys.
Perez estimated that, without the donations, the airy addition would have cost about $80,000 - far more than could have been found in the budget.
The solarium can hold 25 to 30 adult cats at one time and is located off the operating room, where every cat brought to the facility is tested for feline diseases and spayed or neutered before it can be adopted.
``Kittens go really fast,'' Weste said. ``It's the adult cats this was really built for. This room gives people a chance to sit down with a cat and see if they want it as a pet. I believe that this solarium will save hundreds of (cats)'' from being destroyed.
Marcia Mayeda, director of the county's Animal Care and Control Department, said the department recently set a long-term goal to place 95 percent of its adoptable animals by 2010.
For information on animal adoption, call (661) 257-3191.
(1 -- color) Leaving exercise to others, a calico rests in the new play area at the Santa Clarita animal shelter in Castaic.
(2 -- color) Three cats cuddle up in one of the cushioned spots at their new solarium in the Santa Clarita animal shelter.
David R. Crane/Staff Photographer
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Nov 8, 2002|
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