The Cat Clinic Denver Post Article07-Oct-2016
Lakewood’s Cat Care Society working to
improve clinic services for low-income cat
Expanded hours, new equipment highlight changes with more to come.
When Heather Allen joined the staff of Lakewood’s Cat Care Society as the shelter manager, she quickly saw potential in the nonprofit organization.
“I realized we were sitting on a gold mine. We could do so much more with cats and the public,” Allen said. so after being named executive director earlier this year, she immediately got to work.
In the last few months, the Cat Care Society has improved its services at the clinic to include expanded hours and better equipment for the veterinarians and vet technicians. The clinic also hired a second veterinarian to help on Saturday shifts and during the week.
The Cat Care Society provides shelter for up to 50 cats and also has a veterinary clinic that provides services to cats in the shelter, low-income cat owners and other customers. The nonprofit, formed in 1981, had its current shelter built in 2001 and the downstairs clinic was added in 2005.
The clinic is now open from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 8 a.m.-noon on Saturdays. The shelter is open noon-5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday and noon-3 p.m. Sundays. The shelter houses cats and kittens that are given away or brought by people who can no longer care for them. It will take the cats brought in unless it’s at capacity — it does not euthanize for space.
The clinic also recently provided discounts on dental work to expand its customer base.
“We started there to see how many we could get in the door,” Allen said.
Allen notes that the clinic still has a lot of old equipment in need of replacement and recently used crowdfunding to raise money to buy new surgical equipment and get a new water circulating system. The clinic can now test blood samples on-site.
Lead vet Katie Waisanen is happy with the upgrades and hopes plans to get new ultrasound and X-ray machines in the clinic come to fruition within the next few months.
“At least I feel like I’m at a place where I can do good medicine. I’m kind of spoiled,” she said.
Vet tech Shantal Blea has been with the clinic through its transition over the past year and said the changes have opened up the clinic as a possibility to more clients. Low-income clients are given discounts on a sliding scale.
“We really have a different clientele now. We can provide more care, and people are taking advantage of that,” she said.
Customer Barbara Dawson said that she previously experienced problems with getting in to see a vet, even in times of need, because the clinic in was full. She has not needed urgent service recently since any changes went into effect, but she does like the specials now offered.
“I was able to get our cat’s teeth cleaned at a very affordable rate due to a special that was offered,” Dawson said, adding that she also likes the new waiting room. It’s been painted and has cat-related art displayed on the walls that is for sale.
Allen said the clinic and shelter are mostly funded by grants and donations in addition to clinic costs. She hopes within the next year to have the clinic be sustainable and help fund the shelter.
A long-term goal is to build a new clinic and shelter double the size of the current space over an old house on the property that serves as an administrative office.
“I’m really excited for everything going into future,” Allen said.