FUR, FUN and LOVE
Hermitage Cat Shelter talks about the art of connecting people and animals
(Photo: A young girl gets to play with the kittens at Hermitage)
Hermitage Cat Shelter was originally founded 1965 by Sister Seraphim a Russian Orthodox nun form England who believed in the call of compassion. Sister Seraphim moved to Tucson in 1969 and lived at this location until she passed away in 1990. During her tenure at The Hermitage, Sister rescued not only cats, but chickens and guinea hens, peacocks, a handful of dogs and a donkey. Whatever the type, she was a firm believer in saving all animals.
(Photo: A volunteer is attentive to every cats needs)
Today, on the original site of her home, a 9,000 square foot building is now the shelter for the no-kill cat sanctuary. All cats that are housed at Hermitage have the opportunity to be adopted or remain at the sanctuary for the remainder of their lives. Karen Baden, the Executive Director at Hermitage Cat Shelter, spoke with us about the facility and the blessings that they bestow upon the cats and kittens they take care of, “All of our cats are sanctuary cats, they can stay as long as they need to here. For those cats who get to find a home they are very lucky”.
(Photo A tuxedo cat is awaiting a new home at the shelter)
The process of adopting a cat or kitten at HCS is taken very seriously. The shelter takes every step possible to re-home every cat properly. Karen stated, “We have a very extraneous background check for all of our adopters as well as reference checks. We want to make sure that every cat goes home with the right individual.”
Just recently, Hermitage was rebuilt and now has a full working medical suite that sets them apart from most if not all of the other shelters. Karen discloses a portion of what HCS is now able to provide and accomplish, “we can do spay, neuters, and dentals right here in the shelter reducing the stress of traveling. We also provide excellent medical care. We have a Shelter vet on hand who can help us when a cat is sick and needs assistance immediately.”
(Photo: The process of adoption is run by staff and volunteers)
Another unique aspect of HCS is that they are a “Free Roaming Shelter” there are no little individual cages for every cat. Just a very large zone that has an indoor play area and protected outdoor patio that the cats are able to roam anywhere at anytime. There are obviously areas for quarantine cats who are recovering from any form of communicable illness. The staff considers the entire building the home of the cats. “This is their home, we want to make sure that if they are here for two days or 15 years, we want to make sure that they feel like they are at home.”
In 2017, HCS had over 14,000 hours of volunteer work within the shelter. This is an equivalent of 8 full-time staff. Karen states that without them, it would be impossible to do the work necessary at the shelter. The volunteers have many different jobs from feeding to talking to potential adopters before a new family pet is chosen. The HCS is run entirely on donations. There is no government funding to support this endeavor.
If you would like to know more about Hermitage Cat Shelter you can visit them at hermitagecatshelter.org.
Story by Hawke Taylore
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