The Hermitage Cat Shelter

Rating: 4.92 stars   71 reviews


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.

2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Reviews for The Hermitage Cat Shelter

Rating: 5 stars  

I love The Hermitage! Volunteering there had been an amazing experience. The staff and volunteers genuinely care about the cats and their futures. I love that the shelter is cage free so I can get to know the cats really well. I love this shelter and the message they put out.

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Rating: 5 stars  

The Hermitage Cat Shelter is one of the most amazing places I have ever been privileged to be involved with. Their staff are some of the most caring, dedicated, and passionate individuals that I have ever met. Each day, they work to improve the lives of each and every feline that comes into the shelter, and several more that don't. they work to educate everyone who comes into contact with them about the importance of how we take care of our animals, both as individuals, and as a society. The Hermitage has several initiatives centered around animal care and welfare. The hermitage supports anti-declawing efforts, the Trap-Neuter-Release program , rescuing from high-kill-rate shelters, and educating the public about the dangers of allowing a cat to roam outdoors, among other things. I am proud to be involved with The Hermitage, and I intend to continue working with them for as long as possible.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Started volunteering at the Hermitage in November 2014 as a form of therapy after my cat developed a malignancy on her spleen as well as an intestinal ulcer and had to make the difficult choice to euthanize (figured that attempting to fix one or the other might have been an option, both at once would've been near impossible). Wasn't sure how ready I was for interacting with other cats at that point, so initially thought I might concentrate on office tasks. Needless to say, I found myself falling under the spell of the various feline characters who rule the place, and have since gone over to socialization. Some of the kitties, needless to say, are far more naturally social than others, and will let you know that they require attention NOW--but it is at least equally fun watching a shy cat come out of his or her shell--or for that matter, having one of the more curmudgeonly of the bunch decide to give you a very civil hello(on their own schedule, naturally!). Can't recommend this place enough.

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Rating: 5 stars  

The Hermitage No-Kill Cat Shelter is a fantastic shelter where the small staff works very hard to meet the needs of the cats under their protection. It is obvious that the staff love the kitties and are extremely knowledgeable about what makes a cat contented.I have volunteered there for about two years, helping with office work and giving the cats lots of love, and I am always told how much my help is appreciated. I have volunteered at other animal shelters in the past and can easily say that the Hermitage is the best.

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Rating: 5 stars  

The Hermitage has a 50 year history of helping the cats of Southern Arizona. It is a wonderful place.

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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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