South Bend students create cat wall for HAVA


was starting to renovate the building that would become Harry's House, the new cat shelter, Christine Balcom, former board member and HAVA photographer found a photo of some boxes that another shelter had created and placed on the wall of their cat room.

Balcom thought it would be a great idea for our shelter as well and so began the "Cat Wall" project. HAVA approached Ryan McMurry, shop teacher at South Bend High School and asked him to make the cat wall a reality.

This past weekend, McMurry, along with sophomore Mason Stuck and junior Jordan Lorton, delivered the finished boxes to HAVA and installed them in the "Happy Cat Room," a room where young, healthy cats are allowed to run free. The boxes are perfect.  They're big enough inside for cats to hide and they have ledges which the cats can jump up on. They have wonderful designs cut out in the boxes and they will make hundreds of cats very happy for many years to come.

Balcom was stunned when she saw the wall. "They're better than the ones I saw in the article. They're great!"

And Dee Roberts, President of HAVA, said she was speechless. "They're just so beautiful. We really had no idea they would be so wonderful!"

Kelli Habersetzer, former HAVA board member, helped bring this project to an end and was there when the wall was finally installed. "The Cat Wall looks awesome. Our cats are going to love this!"

McMurry mentioned that students from many different classes were involved with this project with his CAD class making it a class project, designing, drawing and manufacturing the boxes and shelves. "Thanks to our new technology in the wood shop, we were able to use Mastercam software and a CNC router to cut out the artwork designs. "

HAVA would like to extend its sincere appreciation to McMurry and his students and to Bud's Lumber, Electric and Pllumbing for donating all the lumber. We are so grateful to them for making this project a reality.