On May 18, 2021, on the anniversary of her late grandfather’s birthday, Angela Rafuse did something extraordinary in his memory. She embarked on a special journey to create a nonprofit that would help to give seniors’ pets “a second home again” as she refers to it on her website.
Angela knows firsthand the plight that many senior pet owners face. And she wants to make a difference because she knows she can—and she’s certainly done just that. I caught wind of her incredible non-profit organization in People Magazine and reached out hoping to feature her and her story for all of the Cattitude Daily readers. She’s making a real difference in people’s and pets’ lives, and I’d love for more people to know about it.
Her website perfectly tells the story of her mission for seniors and their pets, there she says,
In December 2019, my grandfather passed away in a hospital while waiting to be admitted into a retirement home. One of the reasons he did not put his name on the list sooner was because he had been caring for my grandmother’s 14-year-old cat, Mackie, since she passed away.
At the time, Mackie was known for being a mean, grumpy cat, and everyone in our family hesitated to adopt her. Knowing because of her temperament she would spend her last precious years in a shelter, I chose to take her.
Over the course of the next year, I learned that Mackie may appear to be aggressive, but she is truly a loving and adventurous cat with just a bit of an attitude – which is why you’ll often catch me using her full name, Mackenzie. Through sharing videos of her on TikTok, I heard countless stories of how many seniors worried about what would happen to their pets when they moved to a retirement home or, heaven forbid, passed away.
Without family or friends to take their animals, these seniors feared that their animals would be taken to shelters, where they will spend their last years. This was the same fear my grandfather had.
I knew I had the skills and abilities to design a service to help. So, with the goal of alleviating this worry from seniors, I founded My Grandfather’s Cat as a safe space for seniors to arrange a second forever home for their beloved pets.
Without a month of operating, we received countless emails from people who were terminally ill asking to use our service. My heart broke for them, and I couldn’t imagine being in that position and having to ask an organization to make an exception. So, I changed our mission to help them too.
In the first six months, we helped more than 25 cats and dogs find second forever homes. We have grown into a team of more than 10 volunteers across Canada who are ready to help seniors and terminally ill people find the best second forever homes possible for their beloved pets.
I’ve always believed you can be the change you want to see in the world, and My Grandfather’s Cat is the embodiment of that. We are making a difference, one adoptable at a time.
1. How many pets and people have you helped to date?
We have completed 28 adoptions across Canada as of January 20, 2021.
2. What areas do you cover? (I know you’re based in Canada so thought to ask)
We are operational in every Canadian province and territory.
3. What future goals do you have for My Grandfather’s Cat?
While we have many goals, such as expanding to other countries, our main goal is to continue to provide our service to seniors and terminally ill people and be advocates for planning for your animals, and showing senior animals have so much love to give.
4. What’s something special you’d like for people to know about the work that you do?
Our work is dedicated to my grandparents. Everything we do, we do in their memory.
5. How can people help to support your efforts? (Donations, volunteering, etc.)
The best way to support us is to follow us on social, share our posts, like and comment. It helps our engagement to reach the people who need our service and families who are interested in adopting. You can also purchase our merch or make a donation on our website.
I’d like to give a special “thank you” to Angela for taking the time to answer my questions. The world could certainly use some more selfless and considerate people just like her, and I know that her grandparents would be bursting with pride for all that she’s done in their honor. For more on her amazing work, be sure to check out her website My Grandfather’s Cat here.