The Central Alberta Humane Society is seeking $6,000 to buy three air filtration units to fight off respiratory illness among the cats in its care.
Executive director Tara Hellewell said it’s common for a facility such as the shelter to experience two or three serious infections per year.
“We’ve recently had another bout of respiratory infection with our cats. We lost a couple of very small, weaning kittens in one of our holding rooms,” Hellewell said.
She said with the stress and strain of COVID-19, watching cats that are sick, and losing a couple of kittens, hit staff particularly hard.
“It spurred us into action. We thought it was time to invest in some equipment.”
She said cats have delicate immune systems, but stress is a major factor that contributes to illness.
“The stress of being in shelter opens them up to the risk of infection. We just have to do our best to take away other factors that we can control.”
Other shelters have experienced good results from air filtration systems, she said.
Late last week, about $3,200 had been raised. The units have been ordered, and are expected to arrive before the end of the year.
“We took a chance on ordering them before we had the funds in place, knowing we just needed to make this happen for the cats. When we did the call out, we were just hopeful people would respond, and they have, and that’s great.
“It’s really heartening to all of our team to see that, especially right now. We need some cheering up. This is making us really hopeful. We’re super grateful. Our community is so awesome.”
She said ideally, the shelter would like to purchase air filtration units for every cat holding room. For now, the new units will be mobile, so they can be moved around the facility.
Hellewell said the shelter had to stop accepting more cats because of the recent infection. More cats are now expected this week.
About 130 felines are at the shelter waiting for their forever homes.