Cat Sanctuaries: Well-intentioned But Not Always Well-planned

Mon, Aug 3, 2009

Animal Welfare

It’s a sad situation and there are probably more of these than we are aware of — a kind and caring person opens their home to help cats in need, sometimes even creating an official cat “sanctuary.” They care for the cats as best they can, but fail to make a plan for what will happen when they can no longer care for the cats or manage the facility. We recently came across a situation just like this here in Arizona.

Oasis de los Gatos served as a cat sanctuary for 13 years in Apache Junction, Arizona. In that time, hundreds of cats lived at the sanctuary and were cared for by the sanctuary owner. Over the past year, the owner’s health has declined and she is now in a long-term care facility and is no longer able to care for the cats. She did not have a contingency plan for the future of the facility or for the care of the cats in the event that she could no longer care for them. The situation came to the attention of a small group of volunteers in early June 2009. At that time there were 52 cats on the property. The group set to work immediately, cleaning the facility and caring for the cats. Unfortunately, three of the cats have since passed away due to extreme health conditions, and the remaining cats are in poor health, but most are extremely social and are in need of loving homes.

Peter and I got involved with this rescue about a month ago and now we are happy to say that most of the cats are in foster homes and some have been transferred to another, well-managed sanctuary in Tucson, Arizona. However, there is still a lot of work to be done. Many of the cats are in need of vet care and we still need to either find them homes or transport them to the Tuscon sanctuary.

We set-up a fund raising page at Give Forward where you can make a contribution to help the cats of the Oasis de los Gatos cat rescue. Every little bit helps! And for any contribution made through Give Forward, you will be entered into a drawing to win a brand new Earth & Sky Pod Bed from Hepper Home. A big thanks to Jed from Hepper for donating the bed for this cause!

**UPDATE** We met our goal! Thank you so much to everyone who donated! Your contributions will truly make a difference in the lives of these cats.

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22 Responses to “Cat Sanctuaries: Well-intentioned But Not Always Well-planned”

  1. 1

    oh that is so sad…will share on my FB page and RT on twitter…

  2. 2

    The donation page was really easy to use. Good luck kitties of Oasis de los Gatos!

  3. 3
    Daniela Caride

    Kate, thank you so much for the wonderful work you are doing, not only by getting personally involved in this quest to save those cats, but also organizing this giveaway. I volunteer for several animal welfare organizations myself, such as and, and I know how wonderful each rescue cat can be. I have three of them at home and would love to have a million. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.


  4. 4

    What a bittersweet story. You are too sweet for helping spread the word for these kitties. Best of luck! :)

  5. 5
    Debbie Zdobinski

    Hello, I am very touched by the set-back of these poor cats. This lady tried to the best of her ability to make a shelter for them until a permanet home could be found. I don’t have much to give being on SS, but I will send a contribution. I will also pray for the remaining cats. My 2 girls passed on, the last one in September of last year and we are about ready to go to a shelter and get at least 2 cats. My heart can’t wait to have some babies in our life again.

  6. 6

    I love that you’re trying to bring more attention to this:) I work for an animal-related charity, so the more there are in-the-know, the better! Thank you so much:)

  7. 7

    That is a very sad situation. Even crazy cat ladies (term used with love) with only one cat can have trouble finding a home for it when they can no longer take care of it.

  8. 8

    We owe an enormous amount of gratitude to these people for taking in all these cats especially in difficult economic times like these. Adopting out animals right now is incredibly challenging and frusterating. The cat group I work with has seen a decrease of 60% in adoptions and donations are down even more which is a terrible double hit. This not making the news as it usually happens for some reason. The millions of animals being killed every year in shelters and the situation getting even worse now is just hardly ever talked about. For the life of me I cannot understand why. Please, just send five dollars to help these cats. All the cats are going to need to be tested for disease and vaccinated which costs about $50 per cat unless they find a vet who will give a discount which is not likely right now. Many of them are going to need further diagnostic testing which will be a minimum of $100- $200 per cat. That doesn’t include the medications, things like dental surgeries which can run $300-$600 per cat, there will probably be quite a few cats that need teeth pulled. And don’t forget about all the cat food and litter they will need to buy. I keep saying to myself if every person we ask for a donation from would just donate $5 we could fund our spay neuter and adoption programs. Most people, especially now, will say they can’t afford to donate and that is so tragic because $5 won’t change anyone’s financial situation. There is enough money out there if everyone would just give a little bit.

    If you want to help out even more, you can host your own garage sale and donate the proceeds to this group or another rescue group in your area. They would be thrilled to have someone fundraise for them. Just collect items, books, cd’s, furniture, ask stores if they can donate “old stock”, stuff that is just sitting on shelves and not selling, put an ad on Craig’s List asking for donated new or gently used items, etc. You can raise a few hundred dollars in one day and make a big difference in the lives of needy animals. Ask the group for some of their brochures so you can put them out at the garage sale. Be sure to advertise proceeds from the garage sale is being donated to charity. It will probably bring in more people since they know when they buy something their money will be going to something good.

  9. 9

    I hope there will be an happy ending for this sad story.

    I tried donating just now but it kept giving me an error page after I donated. Is there a glitch on their checkout page?

  10. 10

    I would liike to highlight another great organization that transports dogs and cats from kill shelters to foster or forever homes. Please read their website and watch their upcoming documentary about how they are saving so many desparate animals. It is truly inspiring! Someone had a super idea about adding groups to their Facebook page. Please think about adding this one thank you.

  11. 11

    Hope you are successful on a re-try, Lily. I had no problem at all just now.

    And yes, this lady is an angel! and so are you, Kate and Peter…bless you! I donated and am praying for all the sweet cats (in the world, as well as in Oasis de los Gatos, of course).

    This is another wakeup call for everyone — and I can’t stress it enough! — to save up the money and retain a good attorney to draw up your Will and a Living Trust to appoint life care for your cats (this can be the law firm itself. Make sure you have an attorney well-versed in animal law and one who is sympathetic to your wishes.) Laws vary from state to state. Do your homework and make your plans legal NOW. You’ll be so glad you did.

  12. 12

    I wish I could have a million cats, but since I can’t, I hope that donations to organizations like this one help in some small way. I’ll give my two darlings extra kisses tonight and put the will and living trust for them at the top of my priority list!

  13. 13

    This happens all too often with smaller sanctuaries where the caretaker’s heart is bigger than their ability to care for all the needy animals. Thank you for your hard work in stepping to help resolve the situation!

  14. 14
    Miss Peach

    I am very very touched by this story and will post a link to it on the Cat Blogosphere!
    God Bless the hearts that care and the hands that do…
    Love Miss Peach

  15. 15
    The Taylor CatSSSSS

    What a wonderful story! Miss Peach let us know about this via the Cat Blogosphere!

    Our Mommy is a paralegal and recommends putting plans for your pets in your Will.

  16. 16
    Karen Jo

    This is a very touching story. I really hope that all these kitties can find good forever homes.

  17. 17

    Happy to give – thanks so much for bringing awareness to this and giving us an oppertunity to help.

    I re-tweeted and blogged!

  18. 18

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  19. 19
    M. Harding

    I just checked and they have met their goal. I made a small gift. I would not have known about this without moderncat so thanks!

  20. 20

    SO GLAD to hear Moderncat fans rose to the challenge and helped these sweet and deserving cats, Kate. May each and every one find loving, forever home and family very soon. They are in my prayers.

  21. 21
    Amanda Lever

    WARNING! Caboodle Ranch not safe for cats.
    Hi, I’ve had an experience with a sanctuary called Caboodle Ranch that probably started out well intended and then evolved into a hoarding case. It is estimated that the sanctuary has taken in thousands over the years and one is lucky to see about a 100 during a visit. I’ve been there. I’ve seen the filth and cats suffering tremendously and dying a slow painful death due to diseases and coyote attacks. Please visit our facebook page dedicated to ending the suffering of the cats at Caboodle Ranch:


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