Rental pain: cat shelter builds surrender grief room

Cat Haven have built bereavement rooms to give a space to those forced to surrender their cats, as the rental crisis tightens it grip on WA.

Major renovations will soon be completed at the animal rescue centre in Shenton Park, through funding provided by the State Government.

More than a quarter of Cat Haven’s intake has been surrenders this year. Picture credit: Craig Duncan

The new space will contain an upgraded reception, dental room, additional office space and bereavement rooms for people to say goodbye to cats they are surrendering.

Cat Haven’s spokeswoman Amber Ashford said the new bereavement spaces are essential to manage the increase in surrenders the shelter has seen as a result of the rental crisis.

“A place you can spend your final moment with your cat before they are surrendered is a huge priority,” Ms Ashford said.

“It’s heartbreaking for the person surrendering, but also for our staff, these rooms will give the space needed to say goodbye.”

Ms Ashford said Cat Haven have seen a dramatic increase of surrenders and a reduction of adoptions during the past few years.

“Due to the rental crisis and not allowing pets in rentals we have seen an increase in surrenders since COVID-19 started.

“People have been forced to surrender their cats to get a rental or to afford food,” Ms Ashford said.

Funding for the renovations was announced as part of the 2021-2022 state budget, providing the shelter with an extra $150,000.

Ms Ashford said this extra funding allowed the shelter to complete these renovations, “without this help, we would not have been able to do these much-needed renovations to our site.”

In May this year, the State Government announced they would double funding to multiple animal rescue groups, including Cat Haven, increasing funding for the shelter from $75,000 to $150,000.

Local government minister John Carey said shelters like Cat Haven play an important role for animal welfare and have seen an increased demand since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The renovations began at the beginning of March and are set to open the doors to a newly renovated building in mid-June.