In addition to our regular services, Cat Haven run a number of community programs including:
Free emergency cat boarding for people in crisisWe provide free emergency boarding of cats and kittens for people in crisis situations, such as escaping domestic violence; being made homeless; needing emergency hospital treatment; or needing inpatient mental health treatment. Often, in situations involving domestic violence and mental health problems, people have little or no access to support from family or friends and are socially isolated. For these pet owners and their children, the bond and companionship they share with their cat is a lifeline. Unfortunately, most human refuges and hospitals will not allow pets, and traditional pet boarding facilities not only charge a fee but will not take pets on short notice without appropriate veterinarian records to show that vaccinations are current. As a result, people may delay fleeing violence or seeking medical treatment due to concerns over the safety of their cat. When a person does eventually seek help, they generally have to surrender their pet resulting in further trauma for them. Cat Haven supports people in seeking the help they need by providing free boarding for their cat so that they know their cat will be safe and that they can be reunited once their circumstances improve.
Companion cats in residential aged care facilitiesStudies have shown that regular interaction with animals has a positive effect on mental health and also helps to combat feelings of loneliness, particularly in the aged community. Cat Haven encourages Perth residential care facilities to adopt older, more sedate cats to become a communal cat at the facility bringing companionship and joy to the residents. Cat Haven provides food and equipment for the cat free of charge and monitors the well being of the cat providing free health checks and vet treatment as required.
Subsidised sterilisation and microchippingIf a litter of kittens is surrendered to Cat Haven we offer free sterilisation of the mother cat to ensure no further litters are produced. We also conduct special projects to assist members of the community in sterilising and microchipping their cats. For example, as part of National De-sexing Month in July 2019, Cat Haven received a $2,000 grant from the City of Gosnells to offer free cat sterilising and microchipping to financially disadvantaged cat owners living within the City of Gosnells. The grant enabled us to sterilise and microchip 40 cats. We also provided the City of Gosnells with details of the cats to follow up on registration, to ensure compliance with the Cat Act 2011. We have run a similar program in the town of Northam where there is a significant problem with abandoned cats and hoarding of cats.
Cat Rescue ServiceCat Haven employs a Cat Rescue Officer who is skilled in cat handling and available to assist members of the public and Local Government Authorities in rescuing stray animals. Our Cat Rescue Officer has assisted with trapping and collecting abandoned cats and kittens; rescuing cats and kittens caught in dangerous places such as drains and chimneys; collecting cats from hoarding situations; and providing advice to Rangers and the general public regarding cat handling to minimise the risk of injuries to people and the cats.
Outreach ProgramOur Outreach Program offers free cat food to financially disadvantaged people in the Perth community, helping them keep their companion cat in their homes. To date we have distributed food to areas where there is a need but we are hoping to build a pantry on our shelter site in the near future. This will allow people to pick up the food in privacy.
Education about cat welfare issues and responsible pet ownershipWe provide education and training to volunteers and the general public to raise awareness of, and commitment to, sterilisation, microchipping and cat care to optimise cat well being and reduce the number of stray and unwanted cats which is vital to protect native fauna. Education is provided through social media, print media, radio, telephone advice, group presentations and special events.
Training opportunities for Murdoch University Veterinary studentsEach year, students training to become vets or vet nurses at Murdoch University spend practical placements at Cat Haven. In the shelter Vet Clinic they are exposed to a wide range of cat and kitten health issues and have the opportunity to observe clinical consultations with owners; clinical examinations; diagnostic testing and result interpretation; development of treatment plans including use of medications; surgery and post surgical care. Cat Haven works closely with specialist veterinarians in fields such as orthopaedics and ophthalmology, which provides students with exposure to these areas of specialisation.
Assistance to other animal welfare groups.Cat Haven works closely with the RSPCA and local community rescue groups. We assist the RSPCA with the rescue of cats and kittens and can provide care for animals on occasions the RSPCA facilities are full. We support small rescue groups by inviting their participation in adoption events giving their rescued animals a higher profile and better chance of finding homes. We also share donations when we receive surplus to our needs and provide vet advice and short term care for animals when possible.