A few weeks ago we visited the Ellen Gifford Cat Shelter in Brighton, MA. According to their webpage “The Gifford Shelter is a cageless, no-kill facility founded in 1884 and sponsored by Ellen Gifford. The shelter is a pioneer in creating an environment that does not confine cats to small, movement-restricting cages.”
While on our site visit to the shelter our site contact, Karen, gave us a tour of the facility and gave us an overview of the basic functions of their organization. The property is split into two separate buildings. The main housing for the cats is lovingly referred to as “the Brick.” This building houses many of the cats that need basic attention and care and are waiting to be adopted, but it also houses—in a separate area—cats who are shy and need to be introduced or reintroduced to human contact. They’re the less “social” cats of the bunch, however, just as adorable. In the second building, where the main office is located, the upstairs has been turned into a safe place for cats with special needs. This is where we met Franklin, a cat who had recently been attacked outdoors and was left with several wounds and needing to have an eye removed. Post-surgery, the shelter has provided a comfortable space for him to be quarantined while he recovers.
We learned that the Ellen Gifford Cat Shelter participates in the trap-neuter-return program. TNR is a process by which feral cats are captured, spayed or neutered, and then returned to live in their outdoor habitat. The idea of the trap-neuter-return program is to reduce the feral cat population so that these cats may live longer and healthier lives in an environment where they are not fully supported by humans. It also contributes to reducing cat fights and competition for resources. The ASPCA’s website outlines many of the questions surrounding the TNR process here.
Some activities our volunteers may get to participate in while at the Ellen Gifford Cat Shelter are: restoration of scratching posts and living spaces, yard work and upkeep for the facility, painting a sanctuary room for cats with special needs, and cat therapy (playing with the cuties).
The Ellen Gifford Cat Shelter, along with many of our other sites, is a 501(c)3 organization. They are tax exempt and function primarily off of donations and sponsors. If you love cats feel free to visit their site and donate!