Tip of the Week: Mind if We Freshen Up a Bit?

We hope you’re enjoying this new column as much as we are. Get a shot of fresh inspo every Monday when we share tools, time-savers, and just-plain-genius ideas that your colleagues and members of The Association have suggested and tested. This week’s tip comes courtesy of the behavioral modification program for shy cats at Lollypop Farm, Humane Society of Greater Rochester.

In an Extreme Makeover-worthy transformation, Lollypop Farm, Humane Society of Greater Rochester turned a little-used bathroom into a Shy Cat Colony room. They’d been placing some of their shy and fearful kitties as office fosters, but were dreaming of a smaller, dedicated room just for them. “This way, we could regulate who goes in and out,” share the staff behaviorists, “and ensure a uniform experience for the cats.”

When the CEO suggested one of two adjacent bathrooms that wasn’t being used on a quiet floor, the maintenance team set to work and built a new glass-paneled doorway.

Pre-makeover, with the old bathroom door removed

As you can see in the top photo, the design refresh includes many of the feline-friendly fixtures. They kept the sink (but removed the automatic censor so curious kittehs wouldn’t MacGyver the room into a waterpark), and repurposed the child’s changing table into vertical space for the cats. They also added a radio, and a variety of cat trees that they regularly rotate out.

Per ASV Guidelines, this cozy kitty haven with natural light is limited to four adult cats max. Staff work with the residents several times a day and, once they’re ready, the cats typically graduate into a top cage on the adoption floor. “Some come into the Behavior Office, where there’s less traffic but they’re still exposed to new people,” explain the behaviorists. “After a one-week transition, we’re ready to show them to potential adopters.”


This tip was originally shared in Scaredy Cats: Behavior Modification Tips for Shy Cats in Shelters, one of the short, prerecorded webinars in The Association’s Innovation Bank.


Learn More

Blog: Tip of the Week: Spaghetti, with a Side of Teambuilding
Blog: Tip of the Week: Just Chillin’
Blog: 4 Behavior Tips for Shy Cats in Shelters


The Association is the only international society of leaders actively leading and managing community animal shelters/animal control agencies.


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