Who are we?
Both of us, Penny and Michael, were involved in rescue work before we married. Separately and together, we have adopted many special needs animals during our lifetimes. We truly understand what it’s like to make a lifetime commitment to a special needs animal. Michael was a foster home for kittens before shelters were common. He acquired a variety of special needs kitties because no one wanted them. Penny came to the marriage with dog and horse experience too. Together, we have over 50 years of rescue experience.
About twelve years ago, our desire to help the animals led to becoming involved in a TNR program in Arizona. That involvement continued in Austin, Texas when a TNR program started here. As our colonies aged, we found ourselves caring for seniors and disabilities in that population too.
Like people, cats are living longer and more treatment is available for those with special needs. It became apparent that there is a need for a special kind of senior care for all cats that need a safe and loving place to live out their ninth life. In 2015, we joined forces with others who share our passion to form a nonprofit corporation in Austin, Texas. We received our 501(c)(3), and we’re proud to say Catnip Casa Cat Refuge achieved a gold GuideStar rating within the first six months.
We support TNR and also have community cats living freely on the property. Penny is the lead moderator for a TNR group that was started when the Austin Humane Society began the TNR program in 2007. In August of 2015, AHS began looking for someone to take over this group and continue to facilitate communication and resource sharing, as well as providing a venue to post TNR requests for the trappers.
Who are the cats?
Our special needs kitties are cats with medical and/or behavioral conditions. More often than not, they are also seniors. These are cats with no place else to go. They would be euthanized in a shelter, but they still have a ninth life to live with proper care and oversight. We do not take kittens because they require completely different facilities and resources. We also do not accept owned cats from the public. Our population comes from homeless ill or injured animals we rescue, as well as referrals from our vet or other rescue workers. Since we work closely with a small population that requires extensive time and resources, we are always full.