Here’s a heart-warming story about the immediate success of the HSBC’s recently
opened new cattery for hard-to-adopt cats. Housed in the HSBC Pet Adoption Center at
1607 Marquette in Bay City, the cattery is the HSBC’s answer to helping hard-to-adopt
felines find forever homes with adopters who look past these cats’ age, health issues or
disabilities to see the wonderful pets they can become.
One of our HSBC volunteers, Sherry Nelson, directed this project creating our beautiful
and functional cattery. This was a project over three years in the making, requiring much
research, funding and elbow grease. The cattery consists of four 5’ x 8’ glass-walled
enclosures where 3-4 cats can live comfortably with room to climb, play and snooze
while waiting to catch the eye of the right adopter. After recently being granted a shelter
license from the Michigan Dept. of Agriculture and Rural Development, the HSBC
officially opened the cattery on January 17, 2020. As of this writing, seven special needs
cats have been adopted in the first 17 days of operation, well beyond our expectations!
To prepare for this project, HSBC volunteers did a lot of research and inquiry to learn the
elements and design of a well-functioning cattery. In order to garner ideas, several HSBC
members traveled to the Humane Society of Huron Valley in Ann Arbor and to Michigan
Humane Society Pet Adoption in Detroit. (These two facilities are truly top notch and run
state of the art shelters in Michigan.) The gracious directors of both facilities gave us
lengthy and thorough tours, inviting us to ask any questions of their personnel as well as
provided us a multitude of resource links. Our further research gathered invaluable
information on topics such as disinfectants and cleaning protocols, flooring and materials
choices, adoption paperwork and tips, enrichment techniques, and how to train
volunteers, to name just a few topics, from other valuable resources such as the ASPCA,
the Humane Society of the United States, and the Michigan Dept. of Agriculture.
The space in the Pet Adoption Center which the cattery now occupies used to house a
giant Jacuzzi tub as the building’s prior business was a physical therapy and
rehabilitation clinic. Demolition of the hot tub was the first order of business, and our
volunteers worked away with chainsaws, pry bars, and sledgehammers to bag and remove
a mountain of debris. Later, Mike’s Custom Tile Company donated two days of their
services to remove the cracked tile flooring with jackhammers, then smoothed and
leveled the floor with concrete sanders and filled all cracks. A giant sand pit was all that
was left after the Jacuzzi was extracted. Our contractor, Feinauer Construction, then built
a floor drain system before filling the hole with reinforced concrete, installed a hand sink,
a new water heater, a new steel exterior door, applied fiberglass reinforced plastic sheets
along the walls, and replaced the ceiling. A large window was also installed thanks to the
generosity of Kathy Staudacher, who wanted the cats to have access to natural light and a
view of the outdoors.
Following a substantial donation from Greg and Luanne Grocholski, the HSBC was able
to have a seamless acrylic floor professionally laid throughout the entire cattery. This
seamless floor allows for easy cleaning, with no cracks for dirt and microbes to hide,
essential for maintaining a sanitary environment.
1st Call Heating and Air Conditioning installed a new high efficiency HVAC system to
circulate air solely to the cattery, enabling us to isolate any odors or airborne germs. A
heavy-duty air handler and ultraviolet light in the ducts keep the air quality exceptionally
clean as well, further ensuring high standards of sanitation for the cattery space.
Scott Carmona, a local businessman, also donated his time, expertise and business
connections to the HSBC for the cattery project. Mr. Carmona worked closely with Bay
City Code Enforcement to navigate the complex building rules and requirements on our
behalf. Mr. Carmona’s relationship with the company Swiftwall Solutions also led to a
very generous donation of materials and labor from this Midland-based company to build
the four specially designed enclosures to house and display the cattery cats.
Finally, we painted all cattery walls with colors that coordinate with the main conference
room, added colorful decals, and mounted functional whiteboards to display information
for visitors and volunteers. Each enclosure has a five-tier cat tree with cushions made by
our HSBC sewing volunteers, which the resident cats love to climb and snooze on.
Modern platforms are also mounted at various heights on the walls, enabling the cats to
perch as high as ten feet to increase the usable square footage of the enclosure and
decrease stress by giving each cat individual territory. To further enrich the enclosure
environments for the kitties, we have also placed toys and scratching pads for their
enjoyment. Our cattery volunteers interact daily with the cats by playing, grooming, and
giving them treats. There are no bored, sad residents in our HSBC cattery – only relaxed,
comfortable, playful felines spending their days awaiting adoption by their new forever
Visitors and potential adopters are invited to stop by the HSBC Pet Adoption Center
Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. The grand opening for the HSBC Pet
Adoption Center with ribbon cutting by the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce is
scheduled for March 13 at 4:00, and we couldn’t be prouder of our success in providing a
unique, specially designed facility to aid in the adoption of elderly, disabled and special
needs cats and kittens. Come in and see for yourself!