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Humane Society of Forsyth debuts cat habitat
Puts felines on display in store
Rucker cat 6

NORTH FORSYTH -- Shoppers visiting a local north Forsyth pet supply store can now leave with more than feed. Just be sure to check with the family before bringing home a bag of food — and a cat.

The Humane Society of Forsyth County premiered its new cat habitat at Rucker Horse & Pet’s Keith Bridge Road location on Jan. 17.

Four to six cats can be housed at a time, which is expected to increase the adoption numbers and “ability to showcase” the shelter’s felines, said Mark Schullstrom, president of the Humane Society board of directors.

“I personally have never been to a family-owned pet store or supply store that has one [like this],” Schullstrom said.

The 10-feet-wide by 7-feet-tall enclosure features a glass front display so visitors can see the cats, he said, with an information board detailing each animal.

Caging material on the back affords access in and out, and there is room for storage underneath.

“Each cat has two cubicles in it, where there’s food and water in one, and they can travel to another cubby hole where their litter box is,” Schullstrom said.

He said the family-owned business approached the humane society about the addition. They were already partners, with the business supplying food through donations, but wanted to bring in the habitat even though it meant taking some of their own products out to clear up floor space.

There was just one problem: the habitat, which came all in one piece, was in New Jersey and quite costly.

Schullstrom’s parents ended up donating enough money to buy the enclosure and additional kennels and grooming tubs for the shelter’s dogs, he said.

Someone still had to get to New Jersey and transport the goods down in a 30-foot trailer.

“Usually, they’re not the nicest things, but this one is top of the line,” he said of the habitat. “We’ve looked at them before, and they’ve all been well over $10,000 for a basic one.”

Volunteers plan to visit the store twice a day, switching out the cats twice a week.

“I think it will increase cat adoptions because the store’s hours are longer than the shelter is open,” Schullstrom said.

Rucker Horse & Pet is close enough to the society, the county’s only no-kill animal shelter, that volunteers can meet prospective pet owners to introduce people and animals.

“When [people] go to the shelter, they may feel overwhelmed because there’s so many [cats],” Schullstrom said. “This way, each cat may get a little more attention than they’re used to.”