Langley cat centre opens just in time for kitten season

An opening ceremony is underway for a new feline intake facility at Aldergrove’s animal shelter.

Dozens of cat lovers and dignitaries are gathering at the Langley Animal Protection Society’s (LAPS) shelter in Aldergrove this afternoon for the final unveiling of a long-awaited structure.

The 1,400-square-foot cat ISOasis (as it’s nicknamed – a play on the words isolation and oasis), as it’s been dubbed, has been almost four years in the making.

“The building of our new Cat Intake and Isolation Facility has been a long process,” said Jayne Nelson, executive diector of the LAPS Patti Dale Animal Shelter. “It is hard to put into words what this journey has been like. We have experienced so many highs and lows during the process. We made a lot of new friends and received a lot of amazing support from both our local and world-wide communities… But I honestly wondered at times whether it would ever be built.”

Nelson said that working togrther has created a place of healing for the many cats and kittens who will go through the facility.

Each year, more than 1,400 animals are cared for at the shelter already.

“It is built and it is beautiful, useful and will help so many cats and kittens in the years to come,” Nelson said.

She thanked a long list of donors, including construction companies that did the work.

ENM Construction and the Lacey family agreed to do the work while forgoing any profit from the job to ensure it could be done under budget, Nelson noted.

Despite many delays and hiccups in the process, the facility is now done and ready for occupancy. It’s ready for the deluge of felines expected just as the onslaught of kitten season begins, said Nelson.

Just two days before the LAPS Kitten Roundup event, Nelson is able to throw open the doors and offer stakeholders a look inside the centre, which is located just a few steps away from the Patti Dale Animal Shelter in Aldergrove.

A lot of people and cats have been looking forward to this day, said Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese.
“And a lot of people put a huge amount of time, effort, and hard work into the creation of this unique cat shelter,” he noted.
“This is the first facility of its kind in Canada, and we are thrilled to see it come to life here next to the Patti Dale Animal Shelter… The ISOasis is proof that the Township of Langley is a community made up of people who truly care about the well-being of animals.”
Dr. Kathryn Welsman, a veterinarian in Kamloops (formerly of Langley) spoke to the quality and importance of the facility to the health and safety of cats.
She’s been involved in the project from its inception with Nelson and former executive director (now CFO) Sean Baker. She recounted reaching out to her old professor at the Ontario Veterinary College because he is one of the top researchers in infectious diseases, as well as shelter medicine experts in the U.S. for thoughts and ideas.

“We had two principles we needed to adhere to while designing and building this new facility – we needed to reduce the spread of disease and have spaces that kept animals welfare in mind. Sometimes those are two things that are hard to marry together,” Welsman said.

But touring the facility later with the crowd of guests, she lauded LAPS for its persistence and acknowledged their goal has been achieved.

“So, on a personal note, having worked on this for the past three years, I’m happy to see the project coming to a point where ideas have become reality. And professionally, I’m excited to see a shelter put such emphasis on welfare and medicine,” Welsman said, commending Nelson for her “amazing energy” and tireless efforts spearheading this project – which sometimes didn’t seem like it would ever be realized.

• Click here to see a photo gallery from the event

RELATED – Finishing touches go on Langley’s new cat care centre 

RELATED – VIDEO: Langley shelter takes in unwanted kittens Saturday

 

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