Cattery expansion at city shelter nearing completion

The cattery project at the Great Falls Animal Shelter is nearing completion.

The city broke ground on the project in September and the additional space has been framed and the new roof is over the expanded space for cats.

Lynn Formell, shelter director, said they don’t have a completion date yet, but “everything is moving forward.”

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The old incinerator was removed by crane through the roof and the new hyrdo incinerator was moved into the crematory space by crane as well.

Currently, crews are pulling up concrete to do the plumbing work for the new hydro-incinerator, which is about half the size of the old unit, freeing up space for cat condo and usable space, Formell said.

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The $84,000 hyrdo-incierator was approved in the city’s 2017 budget and was purchased separately but was installed during the cattery construction. The device uses water to mimic the natural decomposition process and once installed, it will save the shelter at least an estimated $30,000 annually in operating costs since the incinerator usage cost will be reduced from $1.25 to $1.50 per pound for cremation down to 5 to 10 cents per pound.

Cattery project underway at city animal shelter

The hydro-incinerator would also save the shelter about $2,300 in annual repair and maintenance costs, according to staff.

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The Great Falls shelter is the only facility in the region that provides any animal cremation service, which is used by local veterinarians and private citizens.

Cremation services make up at least $40,000 in annual revenue for the shelter, according to staff.

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The cattery includes a new entrance at the rear of the building that allows cats to move into and out of the building without having to walk past dog kennels, lowering stress for the animals.

Formell said they’re still researching which cat condos to purchase that will maximize space, budget and animal comfort.

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Once the cattery is completed, the shelter’s capacity will increase slightly, but Formell said the type of housing and viewing will be better for the animals and improve adoptability.

As of Feb. 13, the shelter had 84 animals. Of those, 21 were intake and 31 were outgoing.

The shelter is still raising money for the H.U.G. Project since the cattery project exhausted the $463,185 that the shelter and volunteers had raised for the project since 2012.