How did your organization get started?
Our Founder and Executive Director, Jonathan Rosenberg, was never a cat person — at all. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, he was the first CTO of CNET. His gifts and savvy put him at the top of his game there…until his life was flipped by a tabby cat he’d never thought he wanted. One day he came home from work to find a skinny brown-tabby stray surrounded by a smorgasbord of lunch meat (on individual dishes) on his porch. Jonathan was horrified by the interloper and asked his wife, Sharon, to please not continue feeding the stray. The next day, Jonathan was pleased to come home to an empty porch. However, he would soon find that the cat (and his array of savory snacks) had relocated inside…onto Jonathan’s favorite chair.
Fifteen years later, that cat — Tabby — had become a cherished member of Jonathan and Sharon’s family. Tabby’s 1999 cancer diagnosis shook Jonathan’s core, moving him to resign from his job and devote the rest of his life to cats. The result is Tabby’s Place: a Cat Sanctuary. To this day, as he cares for Tabby’s Place’s 100+ cats, Jonathan feels that he is thanking and caring for Tabby all over again.
What is your mission?
Tabby’s Place is devoted to rescuing cats from the most hopeless situations, and providing them with love, first-rate medical care, and a delightful home as they await adoption.
How do most of your animals find their way to you?
The majority of cats come to us from shelters where they were on the list to be euthanized. High-kill shelters from anywhere in the world can get their cats on our waiting list (indeed, we have rescued cats from as far away as Okinawa, Japan. No cat is ever rejected due to being “unadoptable.”
Tabby’s Place embraces cats on the basis of need without regard to age, almost any medical need* or temperament. If a cat isn’t adopted, he has a home for life at Tabby’s Place. The fruit of Tabby’s legacy is thus a safe haven for elderly, chronically ill and handicapped cats. Jonathan is committed to the belief that every life, whether “normal” or “imperfect,” has value. His love and unprejudiced generosity make Tabby’s Place a unique oasis for the unwanted.
*Unfortunately we are not presently equipped to care for cats with FeLV, although it is our dream and intention to do so once we have the funds to build and resource our second building. Also, FIV+ cats come to Tabby’s Place through a separate waiting list, as we only have room for 10 FIV+ kitties at a time.
What happens to the animals once they are in your care?
Tabby’s Place promises each cat in our care that she will get everything she needs — from love to exceptional medical care — for life. Most of our kitties are healthy, “normal” cats who simply ran out of time at crowded shelters. For these cats, Tabby’s Place is generally a very happy short-term home, where they live life to the fullest in sunny, communal cage-free suites. The cat suites have been designed for ultimate feline joy, with ample nooks and cubbies in which to cuddle, elevated catwalks for strutting, and innovative Plexiglas “tubes” leading through the ceiling and outdoors to safe, enclosed solaria. Whether for a few weeks or a lifetime, this environment makes for happy, healthy cats.
Our staff and 100+ volunteers provide the abundance of love and affection for each cat in our care. Those kitties who may be a bit frightened or timid are paired up one-on-one with volunteers, who patiently work to show the cats love and help them learn to trust. Each cat in our care receives exceptional medical care. For about 30% of our cats — our beloved “Special Needs crew” — this means regular care of chronic conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, blindness or paraplegia.
Once a cat becomes a Tabby’s Place cat, we make her a promise that cost will never be a barrier to the very best care. We will go “to the ends of the earth” for our cats (and, indeed, have brought them to specialty veterinary centers in New York, Philadelphia and Delaware to get the best care for their unique conditions). Whether swiftly adopted or a life-long member of the Tabby’s Place family, the cats we rescue find the love they have always deserved.
Tell us about a particularly compelling animal or inspiring rescue.
The irrepressible Tashi epitomizes what Tabby’s Place is all about. At four months of age, Tashi was found flailing in an Ohio feral colony. The volunteers tending the colony noted that he was exceptionally sweet, but also unable to walk or control his bladder. They knew that a paraplegic, incontinent tabby kitten wouldn’t survive long outdoors, or in a traditional shelter. These good folks contacted Best Friends Animal Society in Utah for help. While Best Friends’ own “Incontinental Suite” had no vacancies, Best Friends members offered high praise for Tabby’s Place. With new hope that the paralyzed kitten’s future could be bright, the rescuers decided to name him Tashi, the Tibetan term for prosperity. Tashi’s journey would ultimately lead him over 400 miles east, to Tabby’s Place.
To say that we are all smitten with this little wonder is a great understatement. We are extremely grateful to have the skilled team and facilities required to give him everything he needs. We’re also inspired by the fact that, from his earliest days, Tashi has had friends from all across the United States, bound together by love for this exceptional kitten. Since Tashi is young and exhibits some motility in his paralyzed rear legs, we’ve been able to help him walk a bit through physical therapy and hydrotherapy. Tashi has an unsinkable spirit and a boundless zest for life, and it’s no exaggeration to say that he is the happiest cat at Tabby’s Place. He loves human affection and will “ham it up” for any visitors, including his sponsors from all around the world.
Tashi’s found a best friend in fellow Special Needs cat Bialy, a hydrocephalic sweetheart who came to us as a sickly kitten. The two will gleefully wrestle and cuddle, as living proof that “Special Needs” need not dampen a cat’s delight. It is our honor and joy to care for Tashi, Bialy, and all the Special Needs cats in our care. Of course, we also hope that, someday, Tashi will follow our previous paraplegic cat, Bagheera’s path to a loving forever home. When Bagheera was adopted, Jonathan said, “Now I know that anything is possible.”