David “Bobo” Svoboda likes the cat room at the Humane Society of South-Western Michigan to “pop”. What he means is that he likes the room to be bright and friendly. He also likes it to be organised. He wants the cats to feel as comfortable as possible. This provides us with an insight into the mind of a genuine cat man and we love cat men don’t we?
David used to be in construction four years ago while his sister-in-law at the Humane Society of South-Western Michigan was and is the executive director of the animal shelter. This gave David a route into caring for animals at the shelter which it seems he took with glee because he appears to have found his vocation. He initially worked there when construction work in winter was slow. Now he’s full-time.
“He’s dedicated to the cats, which is one of the reasons he works six days a week…He likes to be the person who takes care of the cats. He likes to do it his own way.”
He looks after up to 100 cats in the cat room. He says that the cat room is full at all times and that there is a waiting list. This is not uncommon in cat rescue centres.
David appears to have acquired his love for cats at an early age because he says that when he was growing up his family always had cats in the house.
His parents always told him that he should take care of an animal like he’d want to be taken care of himself. It seems that his family recognises that we should treat animals on an equal footing to ourselves. They should be equal as family members. With that attitude and respect for the cat you can’t go wrong in caring for your cat to a very high standard.
David says that most of the cats are available for adoption but about a quarter of them are unavailable and in the isolation room where they are healing from an illness or injury of some sort.
One cat in the isolation room is called Speedy. He is a five month old young male cat who came to the shelter with a very badly injured right fore paw. The skin and flesh had been stripped from the paw. It sounds quite horrible. They don’t know how it happened but Speedy is in good hands with David. He has been bandaged up and as David said:
“He can get around pretty good…You would think it would be so sensitive, but he bounces around, and is happy.”
This is so typical of the domestic cat. They are great Stoics. They find a way to get around and they deal with pain in a fantastic way. Disabled cats also get around so well in compensating for their disability. It is admirable and humans can learn from this.
As mentioned, David likes to keep the cat room orderly and organised. This, no doubt, helps him run the cat room to a high standard which in turn helps the cats and makes them more comfortable and therefore more adoptable. We can learn from that too, I think.
The basic facility in which he works needs brightening up because he describes it as, “…a kind of jail setting.” What he means is that it’s just two lines of cages, 4×4 feet square and he recognises that it is far from ideal which is why the shelter is currently engaged in raising money to begin construction of a brand new facility in which cats and dogs will be held in community rooms to alleviate the stress of being in the shelter due to being cooped up in cages.
Up until this post they had raised about half of the $2 million needed. This is admirable work to be highly commended. The plans for the new facility includes six cat community rooms. The cats will be able to live in a setting which is somewhat akin to living in a loving multi-animal home.
Jill wisely said that:
“It will be in tune with the animals, not built by the people for the people… Cats will be in community rooms. They won’t be in little 4×4 cages. They’ll have community rooms with bay windows so they can sit and look outside in a community environment.”
I wonder how many shelters strive for that kind of environment? It must be difficult to achieve it but here we have a shelter which is raising $2 million to do just that and they have a fantastic cat man to manage their brand-new community cat rooms. What a fine shelter this will be.
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