GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – A day given to Safe Haven Pet Shelter, you will be able to walk and play with the resident cats of the refuge.
All cats are adoptable.
They are also all a little different.
âI just wanted to have a place the cats could go instead of being euthanized when they had a disability or a special need,â says Elizabeth Feldhausen, founder of Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary.
It all started when Feldhausen’s cat was partially paralyzed.
He was told that putting him down was the best option.
âHe was still enjoying life and purring, he just needed help getting around,â she told Local 5.
She therefore took matters into her own hands.
“I rehabilitated him myself, and I was quite young at the time,” Feldhausen said, “and within six months he was back to being a normal cat.”
Seeing firsthand what some TLC might do for a cat with special needs gave Feldhausen an idea.
âI kind of saw a need in the community, a place for cats to go instead of being euthanized when they had a disability or a special need,â she explained.
Originally located in a smaller space in De Pere, Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary’s first location opened in December 2016.
It turns out that Feldhausen was right about the need for a special needs shelter.
âWe continued to receive more and more calls asking us to take cats from owners or other shelters who had neither the resources nor the time to care for them, where their only other option was euthanasia. “She said,” and before we knew it we had more cats than we could handle in our little place.
Since opening in 2018, the sanctuary has become its location in downtown Green Bay.
At the same time, Feldhausen grew in his role.
âWe got so big so quickly, and I’m not a boss,â she said, âit was just me and a few friends running the program. [I] had to quickly learn how to have a staff and have a bigger business. “
She focused on developing new skills and learning to use existing skills.
âI was actually working in social media before creating Safe Haven, so that has always been my particularity,â said Feldhausen.
The “uniqueness” of Feldhausen is what put Safe Haven on the international map.
In September 2018, she posted photos of “Cat Grandpa Terry” dozing with some of the cats at the shelter.
The post quickly went viral.
âI have received emails from England and Portugal everywhere else you can think of,â Terrence Lauerman, the so-called âgrandfather of catsâ told Local 5, âsaying they had seen the photo on the Internet, so it was quite surprising that she spread this quickly.
More than 45,000 Facebook users follow the Safe Haven page, a lasting effect of the post featuring Lauerman.
âWe have people all over the world following us on Facebook and then we have people going to Green Bay just to come to the cat cafe or just to meet Grandpa Terry,â Feldhausen said.
The attention helped the shelter grow.
âA lot of people sent gifts and donations for the cats just because they saw my picture on the internet,â said Lauerman, âso it was great for the cats and that’s what we work for. “
For Feldhausen, everything revolves around cats.
âPrior to our arrival, most of these cats would have been euthanized,â she said, âand I think it’s important that more and more people come to see Safe Haven and meet these cats, because the more we can spread the word. , the fewer cats will be euthanized. “
His business is still growing, as are his dreams.
âI thought I was going to own a tiny little rescue cat in De Pere forever,â she said, and I was totally cool with that, so it’s like beyond my most dreams. crazy right now.
Feldhausen is also co-owner of the Pawffee Shop Cat CafÃ© in Appleton.