• Report: #710694

Complaint Review: Cat Depot

  • Submitted: Sat, March 26, 2011
  • Updated: Sat, April 09, 2011

  • Reported By: anonymous — Sarasota Florida United States of America
Cat Depot
2542 17th Street Sarasota, Florida United States of America

Cat Depot Beautiful Facility, Great Potential, Unfortunate Leadership. Sarasota, Florida

*General Comment: The truth finally revealed!

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When I first came to Cat Depot to volunteer, I was very impressed with the sturdy and spacious building, immaculate cleanliness, roomy pods for cats, and overall newness of it.  I've volunteered at other animal shelters, and was excited to be a part of an animal welfare organization that had so many quality resources at its disposal. 

I love all cats, but have a soft spot for recovering feral cats.  I've learned with experience that patience and noninvasive interaction are essential for them to trust people.  So I was surprised when I saw feral kittens caged in brightly lit, busy area.  Shelley Thayer, the director, told me that the objective was to get them to sit in a lap as soon as possible; they would have to be sent to a feral colony if they couldn't 'turn' them in ten days.  Tough love, the she called it.  After being accosted with constant noise and interaction, the kittens would tolerate being held, but appeared untrusting of people. Some would take longer to be acclimate, and respond with fearful aggression to the volunteers trying to help.     

I thought of my old shelter, when we volunteers helped a highly aggressive, frightened kitten become a loving, adoptable pet.  We kept his space dark, read to him, offered small treats at the front of his kennel and played with toys where he could observe us.  We didn't even try to pick him up or touch him- besides, he would have taken our faces off!  When he learned that we would not invade his space, and did interesting things, he approached when he was ready- he actually climbed out of his kennel and into my lap, purring and kneading. :)  We worked with him maybe a couple hours, for four or five days.  Nothing special or time consuming.

What concerned me even more than the sensory overload technique used on kittens, was the treatment of the recovering adult feral cats.  They were basically warehoused, since they were not going to be transformed into lap cats.  This floored me - any true cat person knows not all cats are lap cats!  I was told they were probably going to be shipped off to feral colonies elsewhere.  The employees who were familiar with these cats (who had been in their care for YEARS) were understandably too busy to help socialize them, and appreciated the few volunteers who cared enough to reach out to these shy cats.  Many of them were sweet, with quirky personalities that a hard boiled cat person would appreciate, but the public was not allowed to go in and socialize with them.  

Many of the habits that cat people instinctively understand were actively shunned and discouraged.  The director threw a fit when I gave the cats a cardboard box to play in - she said it would make them regress into feral behavior again.  Then she was furious when she saw me petting a cat in a sheltered fleece basket.  This cat had been hissing and swatting because she was new to the pod, and nervous about the new cats around her; I found a place for her where she didn't have to look at other cats, and focused my attention on getting her calm.  Shelley pulled the cat out of its safe place, dumped it on the floor, and said "See?  That's better.  I know you think these cats are special snowflakes, but they need to learn to be social."

The final straw for me was the grand opening; loud music was blasting throughout the shelter, making many cats nervous and scared.  A lot of them hid in the only hiding place they had available: their litter boxes.  What kind of an impression would this make on a person wanting to adopt a cat?

It's truly a shame that a place with such wonderful resources and potential is more concerned with PR than actual animal care.  I understand that Ms. Thayer was in marketing before she was director.  What she needs to realize is that cats are NOT a homogenized product to be packaged and sold.  All cats are different, and anyone who appreciates cats knows this to be true.   

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/26/2011 08:55 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Cat-Depot/Sarasota-Florida-34234/Cat-Depot-Beautiful-Facility-Great-Potential-Unfortunate-Leadership-Sarasota-Florid-710694. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 General Comment

The truth finally revealed!

AUTHOR: Horizen - (USA)

I am so happy to see the truth being told about the atrocious leadership of this facility! I do not undertand why the "owners, cofounders" allow this dog and pony show to go on. Do any of them know anything about cats? Money does not mean your smart.

The director puts up a front and her skills with cats is awful. She is a know it all and will NOT listen to anyone else's concerns or ideas for that matter. Wow, what a distorted ego.

I heard one of the cats that went to the OTHER outside sanctuary died! A long standing cat depot resident that had no business being put out there. Its so true how she decides which cats stay or go. Cats that have been in the shelter for a long time will not survive outside under the care of people who do not know what they are doing or what to watch for.

Her feral kitten training is a joke. She forces the cats the come around. Shock therapy doesn't work. True, not all cats want to sit in someones lap. If they are forced to that cat is just trying to survive whats its being forced to do.

yes the cats hide in their litter boxes as they have nowhere else to hide. the cats are shoved in pods fast and have no time to acclimate, who cares as long as the numbers show she is moving cats in and out!

Its a big show in there and all about money and Shelley Thayer is a marketer.. how sad that is, she knows nothing about cat behavoir. I think the Utah place dumped her along with many others feel the same way. Writing for her Utah place and helping cats out in a hurricane evet does not make you a specialist.

No more community help unless its a big deal and gets them into the newspaper and on the news. Also they like to take in purebreds as this brings in shelter money.

Cats that need medical attention for a chronic issue that may cost money wait to be treated by a vet until they can raise the money, meanwhile the cat suffers. How about getting the cat treated so it does not suffer and then raising the money? If Thayer is so smart why doesnt she think for the cat and find a way to fix this backward issue?

I am appalled to read that Thayer dumped the cat out of its safe place calling it a snowflake and forcing it to join the pod group. since when is a cat not aloud to be a cat? its abusive behaviour.

Word spreads fast Cat Depot.... Maybe you might want to rethink your ways. Sure, not everyone does everything right and people will disagree alot... but look at the reviews.. something is wrong if people are saying the same thing.

Its about the cats, that means everything about them, including their comfort.

Time for some real knowledge.

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