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HSO Cat Habitat Nears Opening


Great things keep happening at Humane Society of the Ouachitas [HSO]. Earlier in the year, HSO received grant funding from corporate and local business donors to assist low-income residents with the cost of spay-neutering their pets. Thanks to another grant from PetSmart Charities in the amount of $16,000, HSO was able to make much needed shelter improvements, including the purchase of a 14 ft. x 32 ft. building designated for a new “Cat Habitat.”

For over 10 years, HSO’s adoptable cats were housed in a room addition, which was kindly built with the donation of materials and labor by the Eagle Lodge of Mena and the assistance of volunteer Russell Stockton. The room certainly served the cats well, keeping them separated from the dogs’ kennels.

As HSO grew, many of the kittens and cats were fostered until ready for adoption by Udene Westphal in a cozy little backyard building she offered, complete with heat and air. “The new cat habitat will provide space for a kitten adoption room, a cat adoption room, and a separate health observation room. This building is a wonderful asset,” said Volunteer Shelter Manager, Tina Ball. “We are grateful that PetSmart Charities has once again invested in Polk County through HSO.”

The materials to finish the building’s interior, such as wiring, lighting, heat, air, windows, sheet rock, easy to sanitize wall board, and flooring, were purchased with the remaining grant funds. Finishing the interior of the new building was organized by Volunteer Board Member, Neal Fosdick.

“Over the July 4th long weekend, a crew of some of the handiest men in town generously donated their time to assist Fosdick with the job,” said longtime HSO Secretary, Cheryl Murphy. Four volunteers from the United Methodist Men’s Group, James Ferris, Mike Meiers, Billy Wood, and Bob Mathews, worked for several days before 4th of July to finish the interior.
The final detail will be the vinyl flooring installation and the facility will be ready to accept its new feline residents. HSO plans an Open House of the new Cat Habitat in the near future. The date for HSO’s Grand Reopening and Open House has not yet been set, but there will be an announcement for this fun event. “Thanks to all area pet lovers, shelter supporters, volunteers and corporate donors, who help homeless pets every day through supporting their locally owned and operated Humane Society of the Ouachitas,” said Murphy.

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