A Haven of Hope for Desperate Cats


Who determines the value of a life in a desperate situation?

When it comes to cats and dogs, sadly, so many find themselves at the mercy of the over-crowded, under-funded, exhausted shelter system. Shelters do their very best; I believe this to be absolutely true. Unfortunately, for high-need animals–those with severe injuries or illness–there aren’t many options.

But there are miracles.

And one such miracle is Tabby’s Place, a haven for cats in desperate situations.

Somewhere their lives are not only valued but treasured and honored with the care and dignity they deserve.

Meet Ponce de Leon

An  orange cat sits at the base of a sisal cat tree. He has pale green-yellow eyes and long, white whiskers.

Described as “positivity personified,” Ponce ended up in a special-needs cat sanctuary after being saved from a life as a stray. He loves both cats and humans, and he’s filled with boundless love.

But life isn’t all sunshine for this sweet ginger cat.

Like most FeLV+ and FIV+ cats, Ponce enjoys good health with just a few rainshowers. From time to time, he experiences eosinophilic plaque, a skin condition treated with steroids. Ponce also has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a form of heart disease. Ponce’s HCM doesn’t presently require any medication, but we do monitor it with a cardiac ultrasound every six months. But, that’s just a minor inconvenience in a majorly mirthful life.

Luckily for Ponce, he found himself whisked to Tabby’s Place, where he’s treated with love, affection, dignity, and–of course–medical care. But Ponce would love to find a family of his own.

An orange cat sits in a ray of sunshine at Tabby's Place, a cat sanctuary. The background is a blur of bright white, making the cat's orange ears glow.

A Haven of Hope

Angela Hartley is the Development Director at Tabby’s Place: a Cat Sanctuary. Located in Ringoes, NJ, Tabby’s Place is a world class, cage-free sanctuary that embraces the neediest cats regardless of age, most medical issues, or temperament, making it a harbor of hope for the most desperate, with a particular focus on Special Needs cats. At any given time, 30-40% of Tabby’s Place’s residents have chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and paraplegia.

Angela shared, “Tabby’s Place is a ‘sanctuary’ in the deepest sense of the word: a haven of hope for those the world forgot, a kingdom of kindness for the least, the last, and the lost. At Tabby’s Place, it is precisely the most vulnerable, fragile, and ‘challenging’ cats who are championed, cherished, and unconditionally adored.”

Tabby’s Place serves the cats like Ponce de Leon, who might be otherwise out of options.

“Our heart beats for cats in the most desperate situations, and it’s our delight to devote ourselves to rewriting their stories,” Angela said. “The word ‘hopeless’ simply can’t be found in the Tabby’s Place dictionary. As we nurture the neediest cats, we have the honor of showing the world how precious and priceless their lives are.”

What’s it like to work with these incredible cats each day? Here’s what Angela shared about her role:

I’ve been at Tabby’s Place for over fifteen years now, and I will never cease to be wonderstruck by the atmosphere of complete, unconditional love. I often think of our sanctuary as a kind of “living parable,” an outpost of mercy in what can often be a lonely world. Not only our cats, but our staff, 200+ volunteers, and beloved donors and encouragers form a strong community of love, where everyone is embraced for who they are, exactly as they are. So often, I get the sense that the “Tabby’s Place way” is a glimpse of the way life is meant to be for every living creature. The cats are truly our leaders and our inspirations in this labor of love, as they give their hearts freely and live each moment to the fullest, with no self-pity or cynicism. The only requirement for being loved and safe at Tabby’s Place is to show up, full of need.

One Such Cat Is Hips

A white cat with black markings and green eyes lounges on top of a carpeted cat tree.

Hips suffered a serious injury. The sanctuary’s veterinarian suspects Hips was hit by a car. His little body was wrenched, leaving him with nerve damage, and a pulled tail. Due to his injuries, he lost his tail, and he can no longer feel his left shoulder or urinate and defecate without assistance.

And, yet, according to his caretakers, “When it comes to friendship, Hips just can’t take ‘no’ for an answer.” He reportedly barrels around the sanctuary, crashing through the lobby like an elephant, with a swagger in his step.

A white cat sprinkled with black and gray markings sits on the seat of a blue and gold armchair. He lives at Tabby's Place, a sanctuary for cats.

How You Can Help Cats Like Ponce and Hips

“We survive on the kindness of huge-hearted people, receiving over 90% of our support from individuals, so we are always in need of donations,” Angela said.

There are several ways to support the cats at Tabby’s Place:

“Over and over again, we discover that it’s the ‘Special Needs cats who ultimately nurture and nourish us, the so-called caretakers, revealing the power of love and courage to change the world,” Angela said. “Our cats don’t feel sorry for themselves, and their lives are rich and full no matter what their medical issues may be. Each one is living proof that hopeless situations can yield magical, meaningful lives. It is an honor and the greatest joy to help give them the safety, stellar medical care, cage-free comfort, and faithful friendship they deserve.”

Support the cats at Tabby’s Place this holiday season, and give the gifts of love and life to some very deserving cats.


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