After losing his son, a man opened a cat sanctuary to care for 300 cats
After the tragic loss of his son, a man named Terry opened up a cat sanctuary for over 300 cats in South Florida. Terry had always been an animal lover, but it wasn’t until his son tragically passed away that he decided to follow his passion and create a safe haven for cats in need.
As of 2018, Long Island, New York was home to approximately 7.5 million people and 40 wild cat colonies, with hundreds of stray and feral cats. According to a paper published in “Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment” last year, cats are responsible for up to four billion bird fatalities and 6.3-22.3 billion mammal deaths each year in the United States, leading to the extinction of 63 species.
Despite this, there is still room for compassion and care in dealing with feral and stray cats. After the tragic and unexpected death of his son Eric in a motorcycle accident, Chris Arsenault found solace in caring for cats in his Long Island hometown. He discovered a colony of 30 sick cats and kittens living outside near his home, and it quickly turned into something remarkable.
The Happy Cat Sanctuary, which Arsenault founded, now has a main shelter, as well as a large, open yard with custom-built fences to protect the cats from getting out. There are also several cat lounges equipped with heaters, air conditioners, and fountains. The cat population has grown to 300, yet it is not overcrowded as the sanctuary covers a vast area, providing cats with plenty of space to be comfortable.
The cats at the sanctuary come from various backgrounds. Some are adoptable, while others are classified as “semi-feral” and cannot thrive on their own like a true feral colony as they rely on humans for food. The majority of the cats were rescued from the streets or hoarding situations, while some were rescued from dogfighting rings where they were used as bait. Despite their traumatic experiences, these cats are free to roam, scratch, recline, and climb in a safe and caring environment at The Happy Cat Sanctuary.
The Happy Cat Sanctuary provides its cats with access to veterinary care, regular cleaning, and love. Two years ago, an anonymous donor gave the sanctuary $200,000, allowing for the expansion of the facilities to accommodate more animals. The outdoor spaces now feature tree structures and hammocks, among other amenities, and a medical ward is available for sick or injured cats.
Chris Arsenault, the founder of the sanctuary, is not a cat person, but he has dedicated himself to rescuing and rehabilitating cats with various medical problems, from poisoning and gunshot wounds to feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). While some cats may have families waiting for them to be reunited, many will spend the rest of their lives at the sanctuary, where they receive excellent care and attention.
Arsenault and his staff have a well-established routine, ensuring the cats are happy and well-cared for. He arrives at the facility every day at 7 or 8 a.m. to clean the litter boxes and water dishes, and the cats are accustomed to their regular routine. The sanctuary is a place where cats are not only pampered and spoiled, but also given the chance to recover from their illnesses or injuries, and to live the rest of their lives in a safe and caring environment.
In addition to providing a safe and caring home for cats at the Happy Cat Sanctuary, Chris Arsenault also oversees a trap-neuter-return program aimed at reducing the number of feral cats in Suffolk County, New York. He takes in kittens and cares for them until they are adopted through All About Cats in Freeport.
Arsenault’s efforts have had a significant impact on feral cat populations in the area, and thousands of animals in need have found refuge at the sanctuary. He has also helped hundreds of homeless kittens and cats find forever homes with loving families.
Terry’s sanctuary has become a sanctuary not only for cats but for people as well. People from all over the world come to visit and volunteer at the sanctuary, finding comfort in the unconditional love and affection the cats provide. The sanctuary has become a place of healing and hope for those who have experienced loss or are going through difficult times.
Terry’s selfless act of kindness and dedication to helping cats in need is truly inspiring. He turned his grief into something positive, and his sanctuary has become a beacon of hope for both animals and humans alike.
If you want to support the Happy Cat Sanctuary, you can follow them on Facebook and Instagram or visit their website. Arsenault’s work is not only rewarding, but it also provides cats with the life they deserve and children with a protected and caring environment.