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The Hermitage Cat Shelter

Rating: 4.97 stars   65 reviews 4,669

Nonprofit Issues:



5278 E 21st Street Tucson AZ 85711 USA


Founded in 1965, The Hermitage Cat Shelter is a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) organization supported entirely by donations. We are dedicated to the shelter, protection, and care of homeless cats, especially those that are often not considered adoptable by other organizations. We are both an adoption facility and long-term sanctuary for those felines who are “adoption-challenged,” including felines who are FIV or FeLV-positive, and other types of chronic health issues. We were awarded sanctuary designation in mid-2013, by the American Sanctuary Society. All of our kitties roam free within 9,000 sq. ft. of outdoor/indoor living space.


2013 was a banner year for The Hermitage; we rescued 800 kittens and cats, and found homes for over 600 of them! We also instituted our Lease for Life program, helping us find loving homes for over 75 special needs kitties since then. In 2014, while we only rescued 615 kittens and cats, we found homes for over 400! We're looking forward to celebrating out 50th birthday in 2015, and finding homes for many more kitties!

Target demographics:

abandoned cats find their forever homes, as well as help families keep their pets during financial difficulties

Direct beneficiaries per year:

find homes for almost 650 kitties, and provided food for over 60 families each month

Geographic areas served:

Southern Arizona


Adoptions: our full service adoption facility rescues cats and kittens and gives them a second chance at a forever home! All our cats are altered, micro-chipped and vaccinated before they're ready for adoption. Lease for Life: a program created to find homes for our FIV and FeLV kitties! The adopter is responsible for core vaccinations, food and annual vet visits; The Hermitage covers medical costs resulting from their chronic health issues. Food For Peoples Pets- The Hermitage collects cat & dog food that is then distributed to food banks in Tucson to help people having trouble feeding their pets so that they can keep them and not turn them into shelters.

2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Reviews for The Hermitage Cat Shelter

Rating: 5 stars  

I love the Hermitage! I love cats! I LOVE volunteering at the Hermitage! I love being a foster mommy for the Hermitage! Everyone who works at the Hermitage are truly amazing dedicated people who work very hard to find homes for homeless kitty-cats! The Hermitage is a unique kind of shelter, truly a diamond in the rough. First the Hermitage is a no-cage cat shelter; This is amazing because as you walk around the shelter you get to meet who the cats really are, they are not cooped-up and scared in cages. If you want to know a cats name all you have to do is ask the staff. The staff can tell you the cats name and a little bit about the cat. Something else that is super amazing about the Hermitage is they take cats that are considered "unadoptable" from other shelters and find them forever homes! The staff believes that EVERY cat should have a wonderful loving forever home even if they have FIV or FeLV, or some other disability.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I discovered the Hermitage Cat Shelter while attending the University of Arizona and became a volunteer there. I can really say that they are such a unique, one of a kind shelter that does amazing work for the felines in Tucson. They are dedicated to the adoption and care for all cats, including ones that have special needs like diabetes, feline leukemia, etc.. I admire how much they do for our community and will continue to support them in whatever way I can!

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Rating: 5 stars  

I found The Hermitage at a pet fair, and signed up to volunteer. I'm glad I did. The Hermitage is an wonderful organization housing all types of animals with great care. It is obvious how much love is shown to the cats who reside in their facility by the volunteers and staff that are always around. I am amazed and extremely grateful at how much time and energy people have put into the shelter, and their work shows through in the lives of the cats that rely on them.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I love the Hermitage No-Kill Cat Shelter!! This is such a great & positive environment for all the cats. They are given the best attention possible & any cats or kittens with special needs, diets or who require special attention, receive just that. I am so glad to be a part of helping out this wonderful organization.

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Rating: 5 stars  

When I walked into the Hermitage No-Kill Cat Shelter, I knew it was the place I had been looking for: a place where cats are loved and lovingly cared for.

After my move to Tucson last year, a top priority was to find an Animal Shelter to support, advocate for, and volunteer at. I visited many: one where cat socialization was not allowed (in an attempt to control the spread of disease); another where their attempt to rescue and care for diseased cats and dogs that had been slated for euthanasia at a county facility was doomed to failure due to a severe lack of adequate space and medical expertise; one where the animals were simply numbers, waiting to either be quickly adopted or euthanized to make space for the seemingly endless intakes they have.

Then I found the Hermitage No-Kill Cat Shelter and Sanctuary – Arizona’s 1st no-kill, cage-free cat rescue.

The staff at The Hermitage carries on the vision of its founder, Sister Seraphim, a Russian Orthodox nun who started the Shelter in her home in 1965, believing that caring for unwanted cats was her highest calling.

Still in the Sisters’ original home, expanded to over 9000 sq. ft., the 150 – 250 cats at the Hermitage live in a cage-free, cat friendly environment. It has “catioes” (cat-patios), cubbies, cat-shelves, overhead catwalks, sisal-covered climbing posts, and colorfully decorated rooms with wall art specifically designed to enrich their lives. In addition to the “General Population” areas, there are sections for: FIV, FeLV, Seniors, Diabetics and Over-Weight, Allergy (food) and even a place for cats with Manx Syndrome.

Many cats were deemed unadoptable by other shelters, and, if not for the intervention of the Hermitage staff, would have been euthanized. Some were rescued from abusive homes; others were abandoned. Whether it’s their retirement home, their sanctuary, or just a temporary place of transition - while they wait for their forever family to come find them – for all cats The Hermitage is a safe haven. No cat is euthanized unless it is to prevent undue suffering that cannot be otherwise alleviated. In 2013 it earned the added accolade of being a certified “Sanctuary”.

All of the cats in the house have a story to tell. What helps to make The Hermitage special and unique is that the Staff takes time to hear and care about each and every cat’s story. They are exceptional people, with huge hearts, generous spirits and endless compassion. Every day they tackle the daunting task of trying to improve the lives of these cats, find loving homes for them, and make room for more.

The Hermitage relies solely on the donations, charity and goodwill of like-minded supporters. Right now they are trying to raise funds to upgrade the home – which, at being over 60 years old, needs extensive repairs.

If you’re in Tucson, stop by for a tour: chat with the staff and visit the kitties.

Whether you can visit or not, please support The Hermitage: Adopt. Advocate. Donate. Volunteer.

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Rating: 5 stars  

The hermitage cat shelter is a wonderful safe haven for all kitties big and small. You are filled with love and serenity once you cross the threshold. The staff is very hard working and determined to find furever homes for their beautiful kitties. I love being a part of a terrific team who values the life's of their fur babies. I love knowing that I am making a difference in the lives of God's creatures. Once you have experienced the hermitage you will want to come back again and again. The hermitage is unlike no other shelter!

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Rating: 5 stars  

Hermitage is a fantastic unique shelter that serves Tucson well. As a volunteer and foster, I have seen the deep workings of the shelter. The staff truly care for the well fare of the cats and making sure everyone gets the perfect home. I come into the shelter every Saturday to socialize with the special needs cats. The staff always appreciate us volunteers and treat us like family. The cats are able to live in a low stress home and enjoy the good life of pets, love, and finding their forever home.

I would highly recommend volunteering, fostering, donating, and adopting from Hermitage Cat Shelter.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Hermitage Cat Shelter is doing tremendous good in their community. Not only do they work hard to rehome adoptable cats, they also provide lifetime care to special needs cats who have limited options. NAVS proudly awarded emergency funds to repair the shelter's foundation and roof (destroyed during the 2014 hurricane season) so that they can continue their important work.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

This place is unusually
beautiful and compassionate. The love and care is tremendous. Their willingness and acceptance of special needs cats is beyond words. May God bless the Hermitage cat shelter and all the the workers and
volunteers. You're all superb!!!

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

My story began 10 years ago volunteering for HALO animal shelter in Phoenix, AZ. For many years I struggled with the handling, care, well being and overall disregard of the corporate staff at Petsmart who insisted on doing things "their way" with no regard to the cats best interest. No padding, no bedding, poor cleaning............a sterile and inhospitable environment. Several years ago I had enough.

Within the last year my faith in the world and people in general has been restored now that I have found The Hermitage No Kill Cat Shelter in Tucson, AZ. This wonderful organization is the fairytale and fable that I have always wished existed for these poor, sweet, innocent animals. The facility defies description and can only be truly understood by visiting the shelter. It is cat heaven! There are no cages. No bars. No jails. Just large expanses of various (and many) dedicated rooms of free roaming cats according to their specific need or preference. The facility is built and dedicated to thinking like a cat. Rafters to walk on, cat doors leading from one area to another, indoor AND outdoor access available at whim. This place is truly phenomenal. As I mentioned, it is the fairytale I always wished existed. I drive 2 hours from Phoenix to Tucson to spend time at this shelter. I can't get there often enough.
Now that executive director Lee Bucyk has taken the reigns, it is amazing what she has been able to accomplish in such a short time. Not only does she have the education, background and experience for the job................she has in abundance the most necessary trait for this position..........PASSION!!

I honestly cannot say enough great things about this deserving and Struggling organization. Being a 501(c)3 non profit, they struggle on a daily basis just to stay afloat. I have adoptied cat named Babs whom although I can't take home with me, I was able to provide the money for her for expenses for as long as she is there. My directions upon my death (if sudden) is to provide a specific sum of money to the shelter and only THERE will I accept my own 4 children to go. Talk about personal investment.

This organization has brought me such joy in such a short period of time. Please help it continue to serve the community as it truly is the most deserving of any charity I have encountered in years.

Thank you,
Michael Cannon

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