Shelter Cats Get Mats for Christmas

Press Release
December 21, 2011
Penny Wallace

Wednesday morning members of the Haywood Spay/Neuter board gathered to deliver over 40 self-heated thermal mats to Haywood County Animal Services for use in the cat and puppy rooms. Nancy Lux, Haywood Spay/Neuter’s Treasurer, handmade these colorful, heat-reflecting and washable fleece mats. “Cats get stressed in the shelter. Stressed cats don’t get adopted. They often develop upper respiratory infections when they are stressed which also takes them out of the running for adoption. These mats provide each cat a warm and cozy place to rest and hopefully relax.” said Ms. Lux.

The gift of the mats is part of on-going efforts to improve the adopt ability of the animals at the shelter. Earlier this year people from Haywood Spay/Neuter, Animal Services and Sarge attended a seminar put on by Home Again during which several approaches for de-stressing shelter animal were given. Since then some have been tried and/or implemented. These efforts include moving the cats less often, providing cut-down paper bags and pillowcases as hiding places. Now these self-heated thermal mats will help the cats stay comfortable while in the shelter. “Calm, comfortable cats have a much better chance of being sweet and cuddly when potential adopters visit. Even we humans are all more attractive when we’re not stressed,” added Connie Hewitt, Haywood Spay/Neuter’s President. “I’d be stressed too if I found myself in a noisy barracks instead of my own home.”

Jean Hazzard, Director of Haywood County Animal Services received the mats commenting, “Nancy gave us some of these earlier and the cats love them and they wash up beautifully. These will be put to good use.”

As of November 30, 2011, the Haywood County Animal Services Shelter had 1,542 cats enter the shelter and 68% of those cats were subsequently euthanized. “This awful statistic begins with people who don’t spay or neuter their personal pet cats. It grows when the offspring don’t get adopted and are allowed to wander away, or are dropped off at the local cat lover’s driveway in the hopes that they’ll get fed. The cats that survive homelessness naturally breed with others. The kittens become colonies of feral cats which become public nuisances” commented Penny Wallace, Haywood Spay/Neuter’s Executive Director. Susan Kumpf, Haywood Spay/Neuter’s TNR Project Coordinator has been working throughout the county to Trap, Neuter (vaccinate for rabies) and Return free roaming cats to their home colonies. The colonies stabilize, keep other breeders out and because they are not constantly having kittens, the females are healthier and the males are less likely to get into fights. Ms. Kumpf told us, “The TNR process works better than any other to cut down on the increasing number of kittens born wild. It also saves the taxpayers’ dollars. There is no need to spend public money to euthanize non-breeding cats. They are easy to recognize because TNR cats all have had their left ears tipped. So, they won’t likely end up at the shelter. We estimate that there are currently 10,000 or more homeless cats in the county. ”

If you would like to help Haywood Spay/Neuter humanely reduce the number of homeless cats they’d be glad to accept your gift of money and/or volunteered time for our TNR Project. Call 828-452-1329 for more information. To donate send your check to PO Box 992, Waynesville, NC 28786-0992 or visit their website at and make a secure donation through PayPal.

Colorful, comfortable and washable. What more could a lost cat need?


Kit Kat