Tag: nonprofit

‘My Grandfather’s Cat’ Finds Future Homes For Pets of Seniors And The Terminally Ill

Buddy has a dirty little secret: He’s a biter and scratcher.

The little guy has improved dramatically over the past few years and it’s something we actively work on, but he occasionally has his moments when he gets freaked out and indiscriminately lashes out, or gets frustrated and redirects his flood of emotion on the nearest person, which is almost always me.

I love the little dude anyway, I can anticipate his moments of overstimulation or freak-outs, and I know how to calm him down.

But I also know that, if anything were to happen to me and Buddy ended up in the shelter system, he probably wouldn’t make it out. He’s even more likely to lash out in a scary, unfamiliar situation, and cats who bite and scratch are usually deemed unadoptable and put on the express route to the needle.

That’s why I made my relatives promise that, if I get hit by a bus or something, one of them has to adopt Bud, give him a loving home, and treat him as an extension of me.

Not everyone has that luxury, especially the elderly and the terminally ill. That’s why Angela Rafuse, a 27-year-old from Novia Scotia, founded My Grandfather’s Cat.

Rafuse’s grandfather had recently lost his wife of almost 60 years and had his own health problems that demanded urgent attention, but he resisted going to the hospital because he didn’t want to leave his wife’s cat, Mackenzie, alone.

“That cat was all he had left of my grandmother, and he didn’t want Mackenize to end up in a shelter,” Rafuse told People.

Rafuse with Mackenzie. Credit: My Grandfather’s Cat

When her grandfather passed away in 2019, Rafuse adopted Mackenzie. When she posted a video of the quirky cat to TikTok, the resulting discussion in the comments led to the realization that lots of people have been in similar situations, with relatives whose illnesses were compounded by worry about what will happen to their beloved pets when they’re gone.

“We heard stories from people who had to put their grandparents’ pets into shelters after they passed because there wasn’t a family member to adopt them,” Rafuse told blogTO, a local news site focused on Toronto.

My Grandfather’s Cat works “to keep the animal with their human up until the very last day and provide the comfort of knowing a loving family will adopt their pet when the time comes,” according to the non-profit’s site.

Refuse and volunteers work with people who are terminally ill, seniors who are forced to move into housing situations that don’t allow pets and other situations, and helps them find loving homes for their pets. Knowing their cats and dogs will be taken care of after they’re gone grants peace of mind to people who are already dealing with major life changes or their own mortality.

The group relies entirely on donations and doesn’t charge clients or adopters. My Grandfather’s Cat offers its services to all Canadian regions, and Rafuse said she hopes to expand to the US.

“It is the most rewarding thing in the entire world to be doing this,” she said, “and I know my grandfather would be proud.”

Free Clinic Honors Veterinary Nurse Who Died Trying To Help A Cat

Kaitlyn O’Hara was just doing what she always did on the night of Feb. 3, trying to help a cat who was injured and all alone after a snowstorm had pummeled the northeast with heavy snows.

O’Hara had stopped her car on the shoulder of a state route in Cherry Hill, NJ, and was trying to coax the cat to come out of hiding when she was hit by another car and killed. The driver, a 24-year-old man, hasn’t been charged in the collision and there’s no indication he was impaired.

O’Hara, who was known as a “cat whisperer” for her calming influence on cats — as well as her years of work fostering shelter cats and raising orphaned bottle babies — was just 27 years old. Her family and friends, who describe her as a woman with a bubbly, outgoing personality and a relentless dedication to animals, spent her life helping cats — and that’s how they want her to be remembered.

“She took on so many animals over the years that no one else would — bottle babies, old grumpy kitties like Eloise whom she adored (and the feeling was mutual), kittens with broken legs, the defeated and sickly — but her favorite and possibly best work was with the shy, timid and feral,” a staffer with New Jersey’s Randall’s Rescue wrote. “She adored the feral babies from our orchard project and was truly our kitty whisperer.”

Randall's Rescue: Kaitlyn O'Hara
O’Hara with one of the many cats she’s helped over the years.

Now two local animal welfare organizations want to honor her memory:

On May 23, Randall’s Rescue of Mount Laurel, an animal rescue organization where O’Hara was a longtime volunteer, and HousePaws, a veterinary service in New Jersey and Bucks County where O’Hara had worked, are cohosting a free clinic for area rescues to bring in feral felines for spay/neuter services. They’ll also be administering feline AIDS and leukemia tests and looking for foster homes where some animals can be socialized for adoption. The organizers would like the event — which they have christened Kaitlyn’s Mitten Mission, a play on O’Hara’s nickname for cats and kittens — to become an annual occurrence.

If you want to know more or donate to the cause, visit Randall’s Rescue on Facebook or make a donation directly to the rescue here.