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Giving orphaned cats their golden years
Mar 12th, 2024

Giving orphaned cats their golden years 

Nobody wants to think about their pets passing away, but it is a reality of life. We will outlive our pets. But what if the opposite happens? Rarely do we plan what happens to our pets after we pass. It’s a serious issue that is more common than many realize. Fortunately, Hearts That Purr, a unique feline-focused animal shelter helps cats made homeless due to the death of their owner. 

The Tale Behind Hearts That Purr

Hearts That Purr began when their founder, Jeanmarie Schiller-McGinnis, began talking to a friend at a local no-kill shelter about where they would send their cat if they died. She realized that there were no real solutions available. In 2013, she opened a shelter for orphaned cats, especially senior ones, that had no alternatives. They started with two cats, Sam and Sal after their 99-year-old owner had passed away.

Since then, the shelter has steadily grown into the successful non-profit organization it is today with Sam and Sal’s memorial bench sitting right in front of the building. At FurryTail, we understand this story, seeing all the similarities between Furry and Freya when they first met and know that many other pet owners around the world share the same feelings about feline welfare too. 

Felines Without Families

Keeping accurate statistics of orphaned cats from deceased owners is a difficult task and makes finding solutions difficult. Since strong record keeping isn’t taken very often many of these cats end up being sent to kill shelters because there are no alternatives for their unique situations. The problem is increased in shelters too because kittens are the preferred choice for adoption. 

According to bestfriends.org, there are 186 million cats and dogs living in 86 million households across the United States and about 10% of these pets are surrendered due to their owner passing away. This means that there are roughly 10 million cats at risk of being euthanized after their owner dies or enters hospice. 

Freya, who founded FurryTail after her encounter with Furry, understands the urgency of this situation. She emphasizes, “Life is unpredictable, and ensuring that your beloved cat will be cared for in the event of an unforeseen circumstance is a true expression of love and responsibility.” Lacking advanced planning can lead to dire consequences for your pets. Therefore, it's essential for pet owners to thoughtfully prepare for their cat's future in their absence, to ensure their safety and well-being. 

How Hearts That Purr Helps

Hearts That Purr offers many services and programs to help orphaned and senior cats who have no other options after their caretaker is unable to continue supporting them. 

  • Rescue and Retirement: The organization operates a “retirement home” type of living space for older cats that have been surrendered because of their owner’s passing or inability to continue caring for them.

  • Fostering: The transition between an owner’s care and their passing is emotionally taxing for many cats that have grown to love them. Fostering provides them with the temporary support they need when moving somewhere new. 

  • Guardian Program: Similar to a godparent, a guardian is a designation given from a pet owner to another person that ensures their cat will be taken care of if they pass away or become unable to care for their pet. It begins by filling out a dossier of your cat's behavior and then matches them with future owners who can accommodate their lifestyle accordingly. 

  • Adoptions: Adoptions are also possible. However, because these cats tend to be seniors, they require additional care and have specific criteria attached to them that potential adopters need to understand. All adoptions begin with a 30-day foster period to ensure that the cat is happy with their new home. 

    You can help Hearts That Purr through donations and by volunteering. Interested individuals can help care for the cat’s living spaces or purchase food and supplies. Sponsorships are also available as a long-term way to help a specific cat. 

    If you wish to send Hearts That Purr a gift, products like the 2-in-1 Elevated Glass Cat Bowl or our new Soufflé Pet Bowls are ideal for senior cats with stiff or sore joints. We have donated 3 of our glass bowls to Hearts that Purr. The elevated design of our glass feeding bowl helps reduce pressure on a cat’s spine when they bend down to eat. For aging cats, this can make a world of difference as they endure the stress of losing a caring owner. 

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