A Cattery For All

Greenhill’s new cat adoption area is designed to make cats happy and comfortable 

The Greenhill Humane Society facility we have known is gone. In its place stands a state-of-the-art housing facility for its furry tenants. The facility now has a series of mini apartments for the cats. And, like they should be, the cats are spoiled.

Up until living with the cat who has become my fur baby, I thought I was a dog person. Greenhill volunteers give their time and love to cats for the same reason I do: Cats are independent but loyal.

Kathy Carpeneti has been a volunteer for seven years. She is a greeter for those who come visit the cat adoption room with the idea of adoption in mind.

“Volunteering is the highlight of my week. When I come here, everything else goes away. It’s very calming,” Carpeneti says.

With the new remodel for the cat adoption area mostly complete, kitten rooms give kittens a “safe, climate-controlled and quiet space to thrive while waiting for adoption,” says Megan Brezovar, event and community engagement manager for Greenhill. “All of the renovations are done with the cats and animals in mind.”

Greenhill has funded the remodel through contributions from individual donors, grants from foundations and a loan.

Greenhill operates the largest animal shelter in the Eugene-Springfield area, taking in animals from all over Lane County.

In 2019, the nonprofit cared for 1,885 cats, and 94 lost cats were returned to their original owners. The 1,885 number includes a variety of outcomes which include: adoptions, return to owner, transfer to other animal welfare organizations and humane euthanasia, Brezovar says.

The newly updated cattery has suites on the perimeter of the cat adoption room allowing people to walk around to see the cats while giving the cats access to their newly added catios. In the middle of the large cattery, one large room lets potential owners be with the cat they are interested in adopting.

The most important aspect of the remodel of the cat adoption room is the cats’ comfort and safety. On each door, a little sign says, “Come and visit me!” or “I need some quiet time, thanks!” These little signs remind people to treat animals with respect, an important lesson Greenhill teaches that animals have boundaries, too. The Greenhill volunteers’ emphasis on respect is given on both sides: possible owners and the animals.

Sally McDonald is an adoption counselor who has been with Greenhill for the past eight years. At a potential owner’s intake, McDonald sits down with the potential cat owner and asks them questions about their lifestyle and what has interested them about becoming a cat parent. She wants to make sure the cat and the potential owner are a good match for each other.

“I pay attention to the cat’s needs, which are most
important. By knowing the cat, I know what they need in order to be a perfect match,” McDonald says.

Carpeneti and McDonald are lifelong cat owners. They say volunteering with Greenhill has helped the duo give back to the community.

The previous cat adoption and care spaces totaled 3,030 square feet. The expansion added 880 square feet for a total of 3,910 square feet of dedicated cat care and adoption spaces.

Included in the $6.2 million remodel are new dog adoption and care buildings, new dog play yards, an expanded veterinary hub and remodeled and expanded cat adoption and care areas.

Greenhill broke ground on its remodel project on June 21, 2018. The first phase of the remodel was the dog adoption area, care buildings and dog play yards. The renovations for phase one were to be completed in March of this year but with COVID-19, the renovations have been halted.

The project will be substantially completed within the next few weeks. Greenhill is still fundraising for some equipment needs and is currently holding off on moving forward with any additional construction projects that are part of the renovation until the worst of COVID-19 pandemic resolves, Brezovar says.

For more information about adopting a cat or general information about Greenhill Humane Society, please visit Green-Hill.org or call at 541-689-1503. Greenhill Humane Society is located at 88530 Green Hill Road. 

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