$1,000 Catification Shelter Makeover Finalists CAST YOUR VOTE!

Thu, May 17, 2012

Animal Welfare, Giveaways

The team over at The Vertical Cat received over 200 nominations for individual cat shelters for the $1,000 Catification Makeover! After reading the nominations and looking at the pictures for every single shelter, they came to learn that there are many, many great people doing incredible work across the nation, saving cats and putting in their time to make a difference.

Every shelter was nominated for a reason, from large to small and old to new, with most struggling through adversity. There were fires, floods, lost leases, and other impossible challenges. One thing became obvious — every shelter is worthy of winning the big prize. Some need it more than others, but they are all worthy.

The shelters that made the final list below are indeed doing excellent work. Every one of them is saving the lives of cats and kittens, and working to make those lives better, throughout the country. The final 10 were chosen because of the pictures and stories submitted (and because they got back to us when we tried to contact them!) They are all indeed in need of the $1,000 Catification Makeover, and we’re so sorry we can’t give a makeover to every shelter that was nominated!


But before we get to the finalists and the voting, we have a special surprise! We wanted to make sure that all of the finalists walk away with something to help the kitties, so Kathie over at The Vertical Cat went to work finding other sponsors to donate prizes for all the finalists! Check out these amazing prizes!

Sisal Rugs Direct is generously offering some of their awesome sisal cat scratching posts for all of the finalists! The Grand Prize winner along with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place winners, will each receive a 40″ sisal scratching post. The 5th and 6th place winners will each receive a 30″ sisal scratching post with ramp. For the 7th and 8th place winners we have the Cat’s Meow scratching post, and finally for the 9th and 10th place winners, a 30″ sisal scratching post with perch. Thank you sisal Rugs Direct!

Auntie Em Creations is helping out, too! They are providing a 5-tier cat condo for the 2nd place winner, and a single-tier cat hammock for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th place winners! The winning shelters will get to choose the fabric for their prizes. Thank you, Auntie Em!

In addition to providing the Grand Prize for the 1st place winner, The Vertical Cat is going to send a double wall shelf to the 2nd and 3rd place winners! Plus, all finalists will get 20% off all Vertical Cat products for 6 months!

So all the shelter kitties can climb high, all 10 finalists will receive a 2-pillow Original Cat’s Trapeze, courtesy of Moderncat Distribution!

But wait, there’s more! All 10 finalists will receive a fun pack of donated items for their kitties! They will each receive an assortment of fabulous organic catnip products from Tipsy Nip, a selection of handmade designer cat toys from Moderncat Studio, a Kitty Cuddler Valerian Spiced Catnip Toy from Plain Brown Tabby Toys and Treats, and a case of 12 Stretch and Scratch scratchers, courtesy of Old Maid Cat Lady. WOW! Everyone wins!


And now, without further ado, here are the top 10 finalists for the $1,000 Catification makeover, in no particular order:

SPCA Tompkins County – Ithaca, NY
Cat Count: Approximately 200

The SPCA of Tompkins County was incorporated in 1902 and has been a fully operational no-kill shelter since 2001. Their adoption facility, the Dorothy and Roy Park Adoption Center, provides cats, dogs and other companion animals a “comfortable, healthy, home-like” setting, and is registered as the nation’s first “green” animal shelter which is “good for people, good for animals, and good for the planet.”

This not-for-profit organization shelters nearly 3,000 companion animals every year, works to education school-age children and adults, and collaborates with local food pantries to help feed pets.

They also offer adoptions out of The Annex in The Shops at Ithaca Mall, which started out as a temporary facility. However, three years later, The Annex isn’t seeming so temporary, and has also been nominated for a makeover. If they win, we’ll let them choose which location is most in need.

MEOW Cat Rescue – Seattle, WA
Cat Count: Approximately 90

MEOW is a mostly volunteer-run no-kill shelter that was established by a small group of friends in the 1990s, which places about 1,000 animals into permanent homes every year. When it comes to homeless cats, “newborn or senior, healthy, ill or injured, all are valued at MEOW.” Their goal is to help create a “no-kill nation.”

One person who nominated them said: “MEOW has always wanted stairs, shelves and boxes on the walls, but – there isn’t time as they are too busy taking care of the cats! Shelves were attempted, but… the folks at MEOW are great caregivers, but… not very good carpenters.”

MEOW is located in the back storefront of an older strip mall and they’ve just leased the storefront next door in order to “be able to take care of more cats.” The $1,000 makeover would go to helping them with their expansion.

Cozy Cat Cottage – Powell, OH
Cat Count: Approximately 180

Cozy Cat Cottage is a private non-profit no-kill shelter that provides “refuge, aid and care for abandoned, injured, abused or lost cats and kittens. We refuse to euthanize cats or kittens simply be cause they are unwanted.”

One person who nominated them said that more than 5,000 cats have been rescued from the streets of central Ohio. “Cozy Cat never gives up on any cat. Recently, a cat was placed in a forever home after 8 years with the organization!”

The main back room has plexiglass enclosures for the younger kittens and for stressed out cats, but other cats are free to roam, climb and sleep on the cat trees, hanging beds and counter surfaces. “The room has a very tall ceiling (with very bare and underutilized walls) and is perfect for engaging wall shelves/steps/furniture that the cats can play/hang/walk on.”

Friends of Animals Utah – Park City, UT
Cat Count: Approximately 110

Friends of Animals Utah is a private, no-kill rescue organization founded in 1990 that rescues cats from other shelters’ euthanasia lists. They have found homes for over 10,000 pets and do about 80 adoptions a month. While not a traditional shelter, they keep the cats at their facilities until a home can be found.

FOAU’s mission is “to protect and provide for animals while fostering an awareness of their importance in our lives. This mission includes our goal of improving the quality of life of animals and placing them into loving and permanent homes through rescue, extraordinary and compassionate care, and humane education.”

One person who nominated them said: “Recently we had a ringworm outbreak which required us to throw out thousands of dollars of products. We built a few cubes in the wall for our kitties but we now have very little cat furniture left. Help!!!”

Ellen M. Gifford Sheltering Home for Cats – Boston, MA
Cat count: Approximately 50

The Ellen M. Gifford Sheltering Home for Cats was established in 1884 and is the oldest cageless, no-kill shelter for cats in the United States.

Their mission is to “provide homeless cats with high-quality care in a safe, healthy, and loving environment. We work to find safe, healthy, and loving permanent homes for the cats in our care and to educate potential adopters and the general public about cat welfare issues.”

One person who nominated them said: “Although we were a pioneer in the concept of cage-free sheltering of cats, our facility has fallen behind the times. We have many surfaces that cannot be disinfected easily and our cats climb to heights where we cannot reach them to hide. It would be great to have perches and hiding places where we can still care for our cats — many of whom are semi-feral or extremely shy.”

Carol’s Ferals and Friendlies – Grand Rapids, MI
Cat Count: Approximately 35

Carol’s Ferals and Friendlies assists community cat caregivers with TNR and support services. They’ve spayed and neutered over 5,000 cats in 5 years, had 300 adoptions and relocated over 75 ferals to safe barn homes. They are a non-profit that is no-kill and run by volunteers. The organization operates out of a duplex-type house converted into rehab, adoption, and TNR-related rooms.

One person who nominated them said: “We are in dire need of help for our adult cat room. We currently house 35+ adult cats in a combination kitchen/living room/dining room with [no shelving] on the walls… Everything in the room for furnishings are donated and unfortunately, the tallest thing we have in the room is a single cat tree that only has 3 crow’s nests… By utilizing the walls, we know this would make everyone (people and cat alike) much happier and provide enrichment for the cats.”

Cats Cradle Shelter – Fargo, ND
Cat Count: Approximately 54

The Cats Cradle Shelter is a no-kill shelter run completely by volunteers. Cats live in colonies of 6-10 cats in individual units based on compatibility. Their efforts have helped Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo go five straight months without euthanizing an adoptable cat.

One of their special needs cats, a young guy named Corky, had “backward and crisscrossed legs,” and has received surgery thanks to the shelter and a local vet. While one of his legs had to be amputated due to infection, he’s on the mend. Corky is rather popular and has over 8,000 likes on his Facebook page.

One person who nominated them said: “They do soooo much for kitties! The kitties would love the enrichment! There is alot of wall space in each room and with shelves available the cats would have that much more of the room to use.”

Good Mews Animal Foundation – Marietta, GA
Cat Count: Approximately 100

Good Mews is one of the few virtually cage-free, no-kill cat shelters in the state of Georgia. Established in 1988, the shelter has found homes for approximately 5,000 cats. Good Mews also promotes public awareness regarding the value of pets, animal welfare, pet overpopulation, and quality human-animal companionship through education and outreach programs.

One person who nominated them said: “The Good Mews shelter is designed primarily with free-standing cat trees that take up valuable floor space, are difficult to clean and don’t maximize limited space in the shelter. Because they are made of carpet, they wear out quickly in a shelter that houses 100 cats. The Vertical Cat shelves would make perfect use of the space available.”

The shelter takes in many hard to place cats, including one that lost its back legs. Special needs kitties “deserve a special place to live and play that meets their needs.”

Pawsitively Cats – Tucson, AZ
Cat Count: Approximately 125

PAWSitively Cats is a no-kill shelter for adoptable and special needs cats rescued in the Tucson area and is largely volunteer-based. They are working to provide compassionate care for homeless cats and trying to find loving, permanent homes for them, while working to promote Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) for feral cats, and to educate the public regarding spay/neuter and responsible pet ownership.

One of the people who nominated them said: “This little shelter and it’s volunteers have done so much to help Tucson’s cats. PawsCats recently took responsibility for all of the cats of another recently closed Tucson cat shelter, so the budget is extremely tight and currently does not allow for shelter renovations. I personally have been working to save money to buy paint and supplies to freshen up the main room at the shelter… I know winning this makeover would be tremendously beneficial to the cats.”

Santé D’Or Foundation – Los Angeles, CA
Cat Count: Approximately 60

The Santé D’Or Foundation is a no-kill volunteer run adoption center and community focused rescue. The animals come to them from the streets, are surrendered by residents experiencing extreme financial hardship, a crisis, or those who are no longer able to care for them. They offer a home to adult and some special needs kittys, many who live there for years before finding a forever home.

The last few months Santé D’Or has making many changes and updating the space. But according to a person who nominated them, there’s more to do. “This shelter needs to win the Catification makeover because the love that is given to these animals does not reflect the condition of the shelter… We have been wanting to get the front room redone to feel more open and welcoming. It would be great to have the cats running up the walls!”

EXTRA SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Animalkind in Hudson, NY to Receive Special Fundraiser!

Out of the almost 800 nominations we received, over 350 of them were for Animalkind in Hudson, NY. On May 1, there was a massive fire at the AnimalKind shelter. Luckily, no lives were lost, but the 120 cats in their care had to be evacuated and the shelter is devastated. Clearly, Animalkind is desperately in need of the Catification Makeover, but we have decided not to include them in the top 10 finalists for this contest. Instead, Moderncat, Jackson Galaxy, and The Vertical Cat are going to organize a special fundraiser just for Animalkind in the coming weeks. They need some extra help in these difficult times and we are going to give it to them! Stay tuned for more details.

Cast your vote!

Please use the voting form below to cast your vote for the shelter that you want to win the Catification Makeover. Be sure to click the vote button at the bottom to make your vote count. You will only be able to vote once. Voting will close at midnight on May 22, 2012 and the winner will be announced on May 23. Good luck to all the finalists!

Voting in now closed.

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756 Responses to “$1,000 Catification Shelter Makeover Finalists CAST YOUR VOTE!”

  1. 1
    Sara E.

    Man, that’s a hard choice!!!! Thank you to all of the rescues and shelters for their hard work!!!!!!!

  2. 2
    Pamela C

    Sorry the shelter I nom didn’t make it BUT it is Fab of you guys to make sure all Shelters who made the list will get something! I will take some time to decide on my vote as I don’t know any of these shelters. THANKS

  3. 3
    Debbie Bour

    I wish that all of these facilities could win because of all the great things that they do.

  4. 4

    That’s tha hardest vote I’ve ever cast. Good luck and many thanks to all of the shelters!!

  5. 5
    Pamela C

    I voted for Carol’s because I have a special place in my heart and home for Feral Cats. Please note everyone, I did a wall project just from Wooden Wine crates someone sold me for $1 and a piece of wood I covered
    with Sisal using hot glue (wall scratcher). Total cost $5 and a few trips to the Home Depot for KULL Wood (put supports under the boxes), the cats have a full running and sleeping wall. Find a stud, uh – in the wall – and go from there!

  6. 6
    Tiffany Harvey

    It’s hard to tell which pictures go with which shelters. (It looks like the picture is right above each name, but the pic is closer to the entry above it?) Could you add a divider bar or a couple of line breaks to make it more obvious?

  7. 7
    Kristina L

    Pawsitively Cats – Tucson, AZ really looks like it needs this! Vot for them!

  8. 8

    Good luck to everyone and thanks for helping all the fur babies!

  9. 9

    How lovely that ALL of the finalists get goodies–how generous!!

  10. 10

    Our 501c3 cat rescue, Feline Lifeline in South Carolina is in need of a shelter. Maybe we will have one some day, and can apply for a makeover.

  11. 11

    Thanks, ModernCat, for posting this. I love all the great products you share with us but I especially love being made aware of things we can do to help shelters and rescue organizations. I didn’t know about this Catification makeover or about the fundraiser for AnimalKind in Hudson and I am so grateful that you posted this.

  12. 12

    Very difficult choice – perhaps these 10 could all have fundraisers?


  13. 13

    I agree with Sara E. above. The photos and descriptions show a remarkable group of institutions and people. Thanks! And thanks to Kathie at Vertical Cat who ensures that all shelters receive something for their dedication!

  14. 14

    the shelter in Tucson looks like it needs the most help!
    hope they win!

  15. 15
    Kimberly C.

    Very Hard to choose! You are all so deserving! Thank for every thing you all do for Cats!!

  16. 16

    Round of apaws to all the people that donated prizes and to all the shelters/rescues for taking care of the kitties. Seems like everycat will be a winner. Can’t wait to see who wins the big makeover!

  17. 17
    Marilyn H

    So many deserving kitties!

  18. 18
    Catherine Turley

    while i am sad that puffy paws kitty haven with 230 special needs cats did not qualify (special needs animals are often shut out of grants and contests because of low adoption rates), i am happy to see pawsitively cats which took on the responsibility of los gatos cats.

  19. 19

    TOUGH choice! MANY many thanks to the sponsors who are really going all out, and of course to the angels and saints who run these great facilities (including those who didn’t make the top 10). Super excited that the Hudson NY guys are getting an extra hand.

  20. 20

    I can’t find the vote form but I would like to vote for Marrietta, Georgia.

  21. 21

    I had a very hard time choosing. It makes me so sad to see all those kitties without homes, but happy to know that they’ve been taken in by good, caring people.

  22. 22

    All great choices! Love that there are so many wonderful organizations helping cats!

  23. 23

    Wish I could vote for all of them!

  24. 24
    Lisa Anne Mayfield

    Wow! Hard choice! Thank you to Modern Cat & all the sponsors for a great shelter helping vote! ^.^< <3
    Lisa Anne

  25. 25

    Reading about all of these shelters was inspiring and heartwarming. It was extremely difficult to make a choice. I wish that all of them could get the makeover. In the end, I voted for the Georgia shelter, because the South is a particularly difficult part of the country for our feline friends. There is much ignorance here concerning animals, and animal care. I’ve had to rescue many cats and dogs here, and all with very little resources. The need is so great everywhere, but even more so in America’s South.

  26. 26

    OMG they all deserve help! That was a hard decision to make. I wish them all the best and hope they get help with their kind endeavors.

  27. 27

    Pawsitively Cats – Tucson, AZ
    Cat Count: Approximately 125

  28. 28

    I agree, incredibly hard choice! It took me an hour to decide!

  29. 29

    I definately teared up reading about these shelters. I wish I could have voted for them all.

  30. 30
    DaisyMae Maus

    Wow! Such great work being done for cats!

  31. 31

    This was so extremely hard. I wanted to vote for everyone!

  32. 32

    I’d like to cast my vote for MEOW Cat Rescue in Kirkland, Wa. I just passed the 11 year mark with my weird & wonderful Crabby, who I found for my Mom at MEOW’s old location(and was estimated at 7 back in 01). Mom’s gone now, but Crabby’s still with me, & moving a bit slower now, but still as sweet & cool “as honeydew vinewater”, and it took me years to realize that she wasn’t being crabby when she talked all the time, she was telling us how happy we were that we found each other at MEOW

  33. 33
    Pattie Phillips

    Blessings to all the shelters and the wonderful people who run them, but my vote is definitely for the Pawsitively Cats Shelter in Tucson, Arizona. Southern Arizona is a bad place to be a homeless cat, and this shelter not only gives tame kitties a second chance, but also feral cats, that gradually become socialized. They even maintain a separate shelter for feline leukemia positive kitties and care for them the rest of their lives. This is truly the most unconditional love for animals I’ve ever seen in a shelter situation. As you can see from the picture, Pawsitively Cats operates on a shoestring budget and with the summer heat rolling in, every little bit of help counts. It would be so nice to spiff things up at the shelter a bit. The kitties would love it, and the volunteers would appreciate it too.

  34. 34

    Very Hard to decide. They are all doing such wonderful work.

  35. 35
    kim patton

    Very hard choice. Thanks for all you do.

  36. 36

    This is very difficult, all worthwhile causes, all needing help. I wanted to vote for them all. This theme would make a great reality TV show for Animal Planet – Extreme ‘Shelter’ Makeover.

  37. 37
    Nancy Alexander

    Fantastic cause! We have 2 pet kitties in our home. It wouldn’t be the same without them.
    Nancy R. Alexander

  38. 38

    They all deserve to win.

  39. 39
    sally schwartz

    all are deserving, but north dakota has so few resources (very few people)

  40. 40

    Congrats and good luck to the finalists. However, it would have been nice to know that the contest was really only open to “no-kill” shelters. There are just as many deserving shelters that have to make the difficult decision to humanely euthanize injured, ill, or aggressive cats in their care and don’t get to use that all-important “no-kill” label.

  41. 41
    Debbie Stone

    Hard decision as every rescue works so hard, good luck to all, I voted for Corky’s rescue, thanks for saving him x

  42. 42
    Judy Hall

    It is an extremely hard choice! I wish I was a Millionaire, and I would make it my life’s mission to travel to these amazing places and give them all the best cat rooms to be had! Good luck to all! Thanks for all that you do!!!

  43. 43
  44. 44

    While I wish EVERY cat shelter/sanctuary/rescue prosperity, I tried to choose the one that seems most in need from among those submitted.

    MOST GRATEFUL to everyone concerned for giving the special status to AnimalKind. I was one of those submitting this rescue and, as someone who advocates for NYACC-incarcerated cats on social media, AnimalKind holds a special place in my heart. May they soon be back up and running, under better conditions than ever before.

  45. 45

    I wish the best to all the kitties and I give a big thank you to all the people with big hearts that help all the kitties.

  46. 46

    Great work to all the rescues!

  47. 47
    Anna A

    I agree with Sara – hard choice. I’m so glad that all of the finalists will receive something (kinda getting choked up reading). And thank you for helping out AnimalKind. That’s in my neck of the woods!

  48. 48

    Wish they all could win the make over!

  49. 49

    I’m proud and amazed to see that our little old Ithaca shelter has the highest number of cats among all these worthy contestants. I always knew they did an amazing job on a shoestring but now I know just how amazing they are.

  50. 50
    Linda Corlis

    This sheltered does the most lovingand caring service one can ever hope for and it does it for any animal that is ironed over into their care. the animals are petted, loved, free to roam and play with their others pals if their health permits.
    They are firm believers in helping to control the animal population and also do all they can do to help reduce but also to. Nurture the wild animalS in their area.
    This is a a shelter that bring to mind the saying ,”small but mighty”.


  1. [...] them forward? You don’t need to register to vote. And you can only vote once. So go now to cast your vote for the Tompkins County SPCA. (Oh, and by the way, the picture in the voting website is not one of the cat rooms. It’s one [...]

  2. [...] is a quick snippet from the contest website to give you some [...]

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