This past Sunday, Cats Haven hosted its free “Purr-fect Cup Cat Café” event where kitty enthusiast could sip on hot beverages, eat sweet treats, snuggle up with new furry friends, and even adopt one. Located on 2603 N. College Ave., Cats Haven is home to over 100 cats that are special needs, disabled, or seniors and that are in need of lots of love and new homes.
The haven was built 25 years ago when vet tech Barb Wills came upon a stray cat who was shot and severely injured. She realized there were no safe shelters for special needs or disabled cats. After nursing the kitty -who Wills ended up naming Phoenix- back to health, she began Cats Haven, the oldest no-kill cat sanctuary in central Indiana.
Volunteer Susan Hobbs spent Saturday setting up hot chocolate and earl grey tea in a fancy tea set and passing out brownies to all of the cat lovers visiting the Haven.
“We have a couple of paid staff, but over all we are volunteer based. We love our volunteers and we love to have new people in,” Hobbs said. “There is a form, come in and make sure it is a good match for you, and just start volunteering. We need people to do everything from helping with special events off site to just sitting and petting the kitties.”
Sindee Sutherland, a Cats Haven volunteer of four years, comes in every week to lend a hand. Her duties include but are not limited to scooping boxes, washing windows, and of course hanging out with all of her furry friends.
“I like all the cats. I call them my second cat family. When you come here on a regular basis, you get to know the cats and their stories and you kind of get to know their personalities” Sutherland said.
Her volunteer work also includes manning the Haven’s other yearly events, including their “Don’t Be a Sourpuss” lemonade and cuddles event and “Cool Cats and Hot Dogs,” their hotdog social.
Sutherland participates in events outside of the shelter as well. Cats Haven set up booths and promote at the Flower and Patio and the Gift and Hobby shows throughout the year.
“It's fun. You get to meet people and spread the word about Cats Haven,” Sutherland said. “We get a lot of people who come in and say they couldn’t have cats in their apartments, so I encourage them to come here and play with the cats and volunteer.”
If volunteering at the shelter doesn’t quite work out, there are other ways to help the cats at the haven. Adopting a cat from the shelter is a fairly simple process. Stop by the shelter, pick a cat that melts your heart, fill out a few forms, and take your cat home the same day.
For those who can’t have cats where they live, Cats Haven encourages people to sponsor a cat. Even five dollars a month is enough to provide food, cat litter, and medical care for a cat in need.
If you missed the “Purr-fect Cup Cat Café” make sure to like Cats Haven on Facebook and follow them on Twitter to stay up-to-date on their next event.