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Boy Scout builds cat towers for animal shelter for Eagle Scout Project

Cove Leader-Press

The cats at the Copperas Cove Animal Shelter are lounging in comfort and style now thanks to the donation of a custom-built set of cat beds from a local Boy Scout. 
Wesley Hotz, 18, has had his eyes set on obtaining his Eagle Scout Award, which is the highest award a Scout can get with of Scouts BSA. The award requires Hotz to complete a project that benefits his community, which led him to the Animal Shelter. 
“I asked around the city to see what they needed most because I didn’t want to try and build a bench that nobody needed,” Hotz said. 
He ended up at the Animal Shelter and learned of the desire for a replacement for the carpeted cat towers that are situated in the outdoor cat enclosures just outside the cat room. 
Animal Control Supervisor Tamara Hall explained that those carpeted and wooden pieces of furniture are not good because the staff are not able to fully sanitize them, in between the cats using them, against diseases such as ringworm. 
Hall said she had found a design for cat beds years ago and held onto it, hoping to find someone who could bring it to life.
“It looked like it would be fun for the cats, and it would give them a chance to space themselves out a little bit more, and it’d just be more cat friendly and more staff friendly in the regards that we’d be able to sanitize it, keep it clean and not have the worries of things like ringworm and stuff like that,” Hall said. “It’s a U shape, so that way the cats have multiple areas to get in, get to play and get away. You know, they have area to be a cat, essentially.”
Another Eagle Scout had constructed dog beds for the shelter out of PVC pipe and a special fabric previously, so Hotz came up with a cat-friendly version. He created a 20-bed U-shaped piece for the cats, using PVC pipes, screws, glue and fiberglass woven screen (Phifertex). 
“We’ve actually been communicating about this project for two years,” Hotz said. “I think it’s really cool. We put in eight days of hard labor measuring it out, cutting it, re-cutting it, measuring it all out again, and then we’re finally here helping the community.”
Hotz had the help of his fellow Scouts at Troop 258 throughout the project, with a few even coming out Monday morning to help him build the set up inside the enclosure. 
Hotz’s mother, Rita Hotz, watched as Hotz and his fellow scouts put the beds together. 
“It’s a huge project to take on,” Rita said. “I’m very proud of him. It’s been a long time coming.”
Hotz said that he had hand blisters from working on the project but he was excited for the finished project. 
“Outside of like the initial like, ‘Hey, this is hard work,’ I think it’s going to be really cool to look back in 30 years and say I did this,” Hotz said. 
Hall was very excited watching the Scouts put the cat beds together. 
“I cannot tell you how happy I am about seeing this,” Hall said. “It’s for the mental and physical well-being of the cats, and that’s something that’s huge.”
Hall said the shelter had 17 felines, including several kittens. The older cats are allowed out into the cat patio areas, separated by male and female, when the weather is nice. The carpeted cat towers that had been in the cat patio area are not able to be sanitized against certain diseases and when they get wet, they lose their structural soundness and risk falling apart. 
For right now, the u-shaped cat tower is in the cat patio area that houses the female cats because the shelter tends to get more female cats than male cats, she said. 
“With that being said, this will also open up the opportunity for other Eagle Scouts to continue on, so we look forward to that,” Hall said. 
She added that if the public wants to help with the cat tower beds, they are welcome to come to the shelter to look at the design. She said the cat furniture can’t be made out of wood or carpet due to needing to be sanitized. 

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