Today is a great day for CatInTheFridge.com because I am publishing my very first interview with an animal sanctuary! I hope to spread the word about these amazing places that devote their time and resources to helping cats like me, so please, read on!
Let me put on my journalist’s voice and introduce Tabby’s Place, a no-kill, cage-free cat sanctuary in Ringoes, New Jersey that rescues kitties that are scheduled for euthanasia at other shelters. Tabby’s Place does not turn away cats for health-related issues, and offers them a place to live for the remainder of their lives, if necessary. Their facilities include a hospital, hospice care, and protected outdoor sunrooms. Here with us today on behalf of Tabby’s Place is D’Artagnan, one of its special needs residents. D’Artagnan has lost the use of his back legs due to a kittenhood accident, but is lacking nothing in linguistics.
Welcome, D’Artagnan. Thank you so much for being here!
Thank you for inviting me, Crepes. I have a lot to say about my life at Tabby’s!
I’m so glad, otherwise I’d be talking to myself. Please, tell me, what is Tabby’s Place, in your own words?
It is my home! I know I am safe and loved and protected here, for all my life. I have lots of friends, two-legged and four-legged. The two-legged friends bring me food and treats and toys and they LOVE to pick me up and hug me and kiss me. All of us four-legged (or in some cases three-legged) babies look out for each other, and we play and frolic and take naps together. Sometimes, we fight a little bit, like brothers and sisters do, but it is the most loving home imaginable.
That sounds like a lovely place. How many cats can Tabby’s Place accommodate at one time?
I don’t know all the other kitties at Tabby’s, but I hear that there are about 120 cats.
That is certainly a plethora of cats. Are you usually filled to capacity?
We are always full, and there is a list of over 300 kitties at public shelters waiting to come here. As soon as kitties are adopted and spaces open up, Tabby’s Place calls the next shelter on the waiting list. Tabby’s building is located on eight acres, and someday, we hope to expand to have room enough for 400 kitties.
Four-hundred kitties in one place! That would be grand, unless you were a mouse, or a fish, or a piece of string. I see that Tabby’s Place has a hospital on site. Now, is that hospital available to the public, or is that only for the kitties you have staying as guests?
The hospital is only for Tabby’s residents, not the public. Tabby’s takes kitties from shelters regardless of age or almost any medical condition, so about 30% of us cats have Special Needs.We have a very special veterinarian we call Dr. C. Everyone tries hard to make the hospital and medical treatments not painful.
Not painful, you say? I think I’d like to call this Dr. C. next time I need to have my temperature taken. Maybe this doctor can find a way to numb my ego. Besides being on a waiting list, are there any other ways that cats can secure a place to live at Tabby’s Place?
Sometimes when a kitty’s human is really sick or goes to heaven, their kitty comes to live at Tabby’s through the Guardian Angel Program.
And that’s a program that people can set up to make sure that their cats are cared for after their own passing?
Yes. We all try hard to welcome those new kitties, because we know it’s really sad to lose your best person. Any kitty that lives at Tabby’s has a home for life.
As all of my fans know, I am a special needs cat. So, let’s talk about needs kitties for a moment. What percentage of cats do you have that have special needs at any given time?
Generally about 25-30% of us. Our needs range from shyness to paraplegia. Princess Dot, for instance, can’t use her back legs. She was born with spina bifida, and she can get urinary tract infections pretty easily. Edward lives in a special room with the other kitties who have FIV. Edward also has trouble walking because he has a problem with his brain called cerebellar hypoplasia, but he loves to sit in people’s laps and tell stories.
What do you think is the most common type of special needs that you see in cats the come into Tabby’s Place?
Most of the kitties don’t have problems as tough as mine and Dot and Edward’s. They may have problems using the litter box, diabetes, FIV, weight management or heart problems. So, lots of us get medicine every day and have to take tests to check our parts that aren’t working perfectly. Some kitties need special food to help with their special problems.
For those readers of you that don’t know, FIV stands for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. It’s akin to a kitty having AIDS. They can, though, live happy lives in the right environment with a bit of extra care.
How long does it take for each kitty to find a permanent home, on average?
Well, that’s a tricky question. It can range from under a day (the record, held by a kitty named Bubbles, was only here for a few hours) to many, many years. For some of us, Tabby’s Place becomes our forever home. Cookie has been here the longest, for over eight years. Kitties who have been here for five years or more can get their own sponsors.
How can someone sponsor a kitty?
We have a page for that! We even offer gift sponsorships, in case you want to impress a special someone.
You mentioned volunteers earlier. Tell me about them.
The volunteers are the best! Bunches of them come every single day. They clean up after us and do all the laundry and play with us. They chase jingle balls and give us treats and hugs and kisses and all the lap time we want. Sometimes, they line up and pass me from person to person for loving.
It sounds like you’re the official hot potato of Tabby’s Place. How many volunteers do you have? I personally have two living with me full-time.
We have over 150 active volunteers. Some come to visit more often than others, and there are new volunteers all the time. We are always looking for new volunteer friends, too.
And what about staff members?
There are only eight full-time and four part-time staff members, but they are the heart and soul of Tabby’s.
Let’s talk about money. How is Tabby’s Place funded?
Tabby’s Place is 100% funded by donations. Sometimes, people just walk in the door and leave donations. Other people contribute money every month. Lots of us have our own special sponsors, who send money every month to help the kitties who need extra care.
If, after looking through your online adoption pages, someone, perhaps some good, kind-hearted soul that might be reading my blog right now, is interested in a cat from Tabby’s Place, how can they start the adoption process?
The first thing to do is fill out our an adoption application. Then, come and see us and play! The website has pictures of all of us and tells our stories and our likes and dislikes, to help people think about what kitties might make sense for their homes and lives. Then, after they evaluate your application and references, you can take your new fur baby/babies home. All of us have our shots and are spayed or neutered and have been through lots of medical tests.
If someone couldn’t adopt but wanted to help Tabby’s Place, what’s the thing you need the most?
Our biggest need is always loving, generous people to sponsor the Special Needs kitties like me.
There are also lots of supplies that we need to be sure we are all fed and clean and happy. We all love when people bring Fancy Feast and non-clumping clay litter.
Well, D’Artagnan, I think that answers all of my questions. Thank you so much for speaking with us today. Now, I don’t want to give away too much, but we might be seeing you again very soon at CatInTheFridge.com, isn’t that right?
That’s right, Crepes! On behalf of all my friends at Tabby’s, thanks so much for asking all these great questions. We hope lots and lots of people read about us and come visit and support our beloved home.
There you have it! My very first featured cat shelter. Tabby’s Place sounds truly amazing and, in my opinion, makes this world a much nicer place to live. So please, support them if you can, visit their website to see videos and photos of their facilities, and share this with your friends! The world needs to know about all the good work they’re doing. A special shout out and thanks to Angela Townsend and volunteer Karen R. for helping me setup the interview with D’Artagnan!
What did you think? Was there something you’d like to know that I didn’t cover? Leave me a message and share your thoughts!