After months of setbacks, a popular local cat rescue has relocated to a larger facility on Colorado Springs’ outskirts.
Happy Cats Haven, a nonprofit rescue and adoption center for homeless cats and kittens, has moved its 1412 S. 21st St. operation to 327 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs. The newly renovated facility accommodates 70 to 80 cats and kittens, offers larger storage space and expanded medical facilities and retail support.
Established in November 2011, Happy Cats accepts homeless Colorado cats and kittens, and finds them new forever homes. As the business grew, the number of cats also grew and the lack of space inspired executive director Sara Ferguson to relocate the facility. Happy Cats settled on an accessible west-side location that could accommodate shelter requirements.
Happy Cats now has more resources to offer cat owners who need to surrender their pets and is able to provide the kind of support that could prevent surrenders. The colonies are larger so cats that have been abandoned or surrendered will be more comfortable, less stressed and happier.
Also, the relocation allows Happy Cats to lower rent/utility costs and increase income with more enterprise operations. “The expansion and relocation is part of a long-range plan to make the facility more sustainable for the future,” Ferguson said.
Construction of the new facility began in 2017. DLM Enterprises handled most of the construction, Ferguson said. “We have had amazing support from our Happy Cats family for this project and estimate we will finish it under our $375,000 budget at about $64 per square foot. We are paying as we go, so it is still in progress,” Ferguson said.
According to Ferguson, the new building was gutted and an additional story was added. A new parking lot, hardscaping for the Purrflection Garden and other garden beds in front also have been added.
Having a second story will enable Happy Cats Haven to eventually double the number of cats and kittens it serves. “We are more than halfway to our fundraising goal for Phase 3 to complete that,” Ferguson said. Donations can be made online at ColoradoGives.org/PHCphase3.
“Along with reusing over 75% of the original roof plywood and rafters plus recycling all usable metal, we repurposed original windows and doors for the interior. Our tankless water heaters provide hot water on demand without waste and most lighting is LED,” Ferguson said.
Warm pine salvaged from beetle-kill trees and job-site excess, plus salvaged rebar make up much of the catwalks. The original concrete sidewalks were salvaged and used in the garden retaining walls. The Manitou Springs Garden Club and Eagle and Girl Scout volunteers donated plants and assisted with landscaping efforts, Ferguson said.
“All our plants and trees will be xeric and we are working with the Manitou Springs City Gardener to implement permaculture into our designs,” Ferguson said.
“We will have other enterprises under this roof to sustain the nonprofit, including a cat cafe (coffee shop) where people can come enjoy a beverage with our seniors and shy cats, a retail space and two apartments dedicated to cat guardians only.”
Ferguson said cats are the most labor and resource-intensive animals in any shelter, which is why they have the smallest chance of survival. Cats are shut down emotionally when they arrive at the facility and staff and volunteers work to turn these creatures around.
She said Happy Cat Haven staff and volunteers are thrilled with the relocation chiefly because of the quantity of cats they will be able to house and quality services they will be able to provide.
Ferguson added, “The cat cafe will offer a handy stop for drinks on the west end of Manitou Springs, attracting locals and tourists alike. Along with being a loving place to recover scared cats and kittens so they can be adopted, our new building offers everyone in our Happy Cats family a beautiful, peaceful space to spend time with our cats.”
Happy Cats is seeking to add more people to its volunteer staff to help care for the kitties and encourages people to give their time if they can’t donate. To learn more call 719-362-4600 or visit happycatshaven.org.