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Ellen Gifford Sheltering Home

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals

Mission: Our Mission: to take in homeless cats, provide them with high-quality care in a cageless no-kill environment and find them loving permanent homes.

Target demographics: abandoned, abused and homeless cats

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 600 cats

Geographic areas served: Greater Boston Area and beyond

Programs: community outreach, adoption, TNR education, rehoming and surrender options.

Community Stories

75 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Vicki Z.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a Gifford volunteer and an adopter (Gwen and Emma). Gifford goes above and beyond to make sure all the cats in their care have the best possible life while they are waiting for their forever homes. From excellent medical attention to daily interaction and enrichment with staff and volunteers, all Gifford cats are loved and feel safe and secure and are not caged so they are free to be their true cat selves! Gifford often takes in cats from other organizations that were unable to find them a home due to behavioural or medical problems or age and is able to give them the time they need to eventually be adopted into a new home. I highly recommend Gifford as a Great Non-Profit and a great place to find a new furry family member or to volunteer.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at Gifford since 2015 but have also adopted two cats from the shelter. All the cats at Gifford get the best care and are healthy and loved! Gifford is a free roam shelter so cats get to interact with other cats and it's a unique experience for those who visit. The adoption application and screening process is easy and the shelter match makers know how to match the right cat to the right person. The shyer cats are housed in a quieter area of the shelter and have their own socialization program and Gifford has a special room for FIV positive cats. The level of care and the dedication of the volunteers and staff are excellent! The shelter is no-kill and goes above and beyond to assist cat owners with any behavior issues with free help. Overall, a great place to be a part of and a great place to adopt a cat!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Gifford Shelter is a magical place that transforms feline and human lives.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was invited to the Gifford cat shelter to read from my book about my cat. I liked the place so much that I started volunteering for them--writing bios for the cats. Eventually, I became a volunteer adoption call counselor for the shelter. And then, the best thing ever happened--I adopted a two-year-old tabby named Tillie from them! You won't find a shelter that knows its cats better, or that welcomes volunteers with more appreciation of, and respect for, whatever talents and skills they have to offer. If you're familiar with the concept of the "third place," then you know what Gifford is to all of us who volunteer there. Not home, not work, but that third place where we feel a sense of belonging. Pic is of me and Tillie after getting home on the night I adopted her.

1 Grace M.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Gifford takes in cats that other shelters have given up on--sometimes cats that are hours away from being put down--and literally saves their lives. These cats are so often simply scared and so lash out--but the patience and love of Gifford staff and volunteers time and time again turns them into adoptable, happy pets. Gifford is astonishing in the work that it does--they never give up on an animal, and each and every cat is given love and attention.

1 Karl G.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for well over two years and I am so proud to be a small part of such an amazing effort to help cats. No effort is spared to give every cat who comes to Gifford the care and love that they need. Every kitty is treated as the u inquest individual he or she is and care is always taken to make as sure as possible that each cat gets the RIGHT person/s. It is the oldest no kill careless shelter in the country!

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered atGifford for over a year and a half and I am continually impressed with the care for and commitment to these cats on the part of volunteers, staff and Board members. This includes those cats who require the most effort, those with health and or emotional issues, older cats, “quirky”and hard to adopt cats! An effort is always made to get to know each cat individually to be more sure that each adoption “sticks!” I am proud to volunteer and donate here!

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1 Deborah N.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I work in rescue with stray and abandoned cats and kittens, and many of these have special needs due to life spent out on the street. I have brought so many cats to Gifford that have had a variety of needs and issues-- bottle babies, shy cats, cats who had medical conditions that needed further attention, cats who needed socialization work, etc.
Gifford goes above and beyond to address each cat's individual situation, be it behavior or medical issues. Their volunteers do an amazing job of helping the shy cats become more confident and adjust to human interaction. The Gifford staff are experts in cat behavior, and do an excellent job at matching up the personality and needs of each cat with the best possible new home environment for adoptions.
The staff and volunteers at Gifford knock it out of the park. Best shelter ever.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

This shelter is the best! Everyone cares so deeply about the cats and works really hard to find the best matches between cats and families. As a donor, I'm happy to see that my donations are going to help cats who have been rescued from the streets and given a second chance at a happy life!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a volunteer for 3 years & this shelter is simply the best. From the adolescent/kitten room to free roam areas to rooms for shy cats who need extra attention, this shelter & it's volunteers treat every cat as their own. Each cat is given love, care and attention and no matter how long the cats are there or how long it takes to make a shy cat feel comfortable, the shelter is their home until the right person/people come along to adopt them. It's a wonderful day when cats get adopted and there are always many happy tears being shed when a long-time resident finally goes home!

1 KBBoston

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer at Gifford Cat Shelter for almost 1 1/2 years. Every week I go to scoop, sweep, mop, wash to get the shelter ready for a weekend open house. What I have seen during all of this time is exactly heaven on earth, where scared cats, frozen with fear, sick and lashing out, are turned into puddles of love, jumping into your lap for affection. We get cats and kittens from all over and in every condition. Without fail, the incredible staff and volunteers at this no-kill, free roam shelter take all the time they need to mend, love on, and socialize their guests, making them ready for another shot at home life. We all deserve a second chance, particularly those without a voice. Gifford makes that possible, even if it takes years.

Previous Stories
1

Donor

Rating: 5

From its spotless floors and litter boxes to the purring happy clients that are matched to their forever pet parents, Gifford accomplishes the wondrous task of rehoming every type of cat and kitten under every set of circumstances. The beat up feral and the winsome kitten are equally adoptable in the eyes of this shelter, and the creatures loved, tended and sometimes mended until the right family is found. This is a place that truly cares about its cats.

Comments ( 1 )

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anngurka 07/03/2018

Thank you, this is a great expression of what we are all about!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Everyone at Gifford is so educated and helpful! We adopted two cats from them and only have good things to say about the process and the care they have for the cats!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Gifford is a special place for cats. Each cat receives care and attention for its individual needs when it comes in. The same care is taken for finding each cat a new home. Gifford provides a loving atmosphere that can be very difficult to find at some shelters. It is truly a unique place.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have experience with Gifford both as an adopter and a volunteer.

Adopter: I adopted kittens from them in 2013. Gifford introduced me to all cats that were suitable for what I was asking me. They informed about the pros and cons of adopting kittens and the responsibility that comes with having a pet. The environment is so warm and loving. The cats are free roaming in rooms, napping on windowsills, playing and frolicking around and being as happy as cats can be. The adoption process was seamless and so friendly, that I decided to start volunteering.

Volunteer: I started volunteering a few months after adopting, in early 2014 and have been an "adoption ambassador" ever since. I am one of the volunteers who matches cats and people based on their living situation and needs. It's a beautiful moment when a family meets their perfect cat. Everyone at Gifford is dedicated to just this moment - we make sure to get to know the cats, find out their personalities, make sure their environment is as nurturing as possible. Gifford has a socialization program for shy\feral cats which has had wild success. Gifford is a no-kill shelter so every kitty here is loved for as long as they need, and they all get personal attention stimulation. This is truly a magical place with very dedicated people.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at Gifford for 6 years and now work there. Literally my dream place to work! Filled with dedicated, passionate people! There are fewer than 10 staff members so it's a very close-knit group. We know each other by name, personality, sense of humor, and role as a staff member. We have many inside jokes (mostly cat puns). The people do everything they can to meet & often exceed cats' needs. We are a small shelter so are able to get to know every cat and human (including potential adopters) very well; thus, we match each cat to its perfect adopter and each adopter to their perfect cat. We have a very low cat-returned-by-adopter rate; as of 7/2/18 we've gotten adopted out 1.6 cats/day (average) since 1/1/18.

We are the oldest no-kill cage-free shelter in the country! The unwanted cat population in eastern MA has decreased recently so we've started taking in cats from other states to help as many cats as possible! If we're every unable to house a cat at the shelter we put it on a waitlist or in foster care; we rarely turn a cat away. The shelter was founded in 1884 using the idea that animals “had a right to their lives and pursuit of happiness”. Our mission has remained the same even after 134 years!!! Definitely an asset to the (cat) community!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I adopted my first cat from Gifford after some of my friends found their furry friend there. I of course went "just to look" a few months before I would be ready to adopt, and fell in love with one of their Charm School cats. These cats were in a socialization program because they were feral, scared of people, or otherwise needing extra attention. Barry was a very lonely and scared, and had been in the shelter for over a year when I met him. The Gifford volunteers were great, and not only did they tolerate me visiting my cat at least once a week in the shelter for the entire summer, they really helped me get set up and be prepared to provide the warmest home for my little Sir Barrus of Fenway. I'm so thankful for the work the people at Gifford do, and always refer them to my friends that are considering adopting!

Comments ( 1 )

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anngurka 07/03/2018

We love to hear updates about the Charm School cats! So glad to hear about Sir Barrus.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a volunteer at Gifford. It's a wonderful place for cats waiting for forever homes. It's the highlight of my week being there. I have adopted a senior and a kitten at Gifford, and these cats bring me so much joy!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted an older cat from Gifford two years ago, and I couldn't be more happy about the way my new buddy has changed my life.

When my cat arrived at Gifford, he was anxious, sick, and scared. He'd spent years living in a hoarder's house with 90 other cats, and we could tell he was desperate for a safe, stable environment, where he could relax, play, and learn to trust people again. After years of neglect, he needed extensive dental surgery, but Gifford made sure he got all the love and medical care he needed. And because Gifford is a cageless shelter, he was able to play, exercise, and nap in sunny windows while he recovered. I can't imagine a better place for him to have ended up!

Every day, Gifford cares for dozens of cats, many of whom would have struggled at another shelter (because of their age, or their shy personality, or their medical needs). Gifford's work is so inspiring that I decided to stay involved after adopting. I now volunteer at Gifford every week, and can tell you firsthand that your support means the world to all these cats and kittens!

Mark227

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a Volunteer at Gifford. I help out with the cats when I can and I assist in fund raising for the shelter. That is what T do for them. What they do for me is so much more. In May of 2010 I moved back to Boston from 8 years in South Florida. While in Florida I rescued 2 cats. One was born with a deformed left rear leg. I named that cat AC (Another Cat). The other one was solid black, not a spot of white on her, so I called her Snowball. Because the house I was moving to in Boston had serious allergies, my cats stayed in Florida with my neighbors who had grown to love them. But once back here I was catless. Not happy. So a friend mentioned Gifford and i fell in love with the place, the people and of course the residents. I would visit a couple of times a week, bringing roast turkey as a treat for the cats. Then in 2014 I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Lymphoma, and began a series of Chemo therapy. Due to a weakened immune system, my medical team did not want me visiting that many cats. So, for almost a year and a half I had to stay away. But once I was able to go again, the cats welcomed me with meows and leg rubs waiting for some turkey. (at least those who were still residents and that included a feral colony that has now been taken into the population, socialized and some have been adopted). There are of course many new faces that have come to know me and it seems each time one really attaches to me, they find a furever home. It is sad for me but great for the cats and the new families. Now that the cancer has been beaten, my kidneys are/have failed and my strength is not what it used to be. So each visit to Gifford is special to me. To sit in a room with a shy cat and wait for them to come to me and when they do, is a special time for me. To finally hold a cat that has been abused by humans and to know that they trust me enough, gives me a great feeling. To simply play with kittens while they get used to people. keeps a smile on my face. So, I thank Gifford for being there when I really need them and wish them at least another 130 years of being there for all cats, regardless of their age or medical needs.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer at Gifford Cat Shelter, I love it there. The cats have the freedom to roam around, it. The shelter is very good at being clean as well as doing as well a job as they can for the cats. They also have a program working with the shy cats, trying to get them to be more social.

I would very much recommend this shelter to anyone looking for a companion cat.

Lissa W.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Gifford does things the right way. It's a cage-less shelter, so the cats are allowed to roam freely--which is healthier and happier for them and has the added benefit of making it easier for potential adopters to interact with them. They always adopt bonded cats together. They have a separate "kitten room" where the little ones can play to their hearts content and not annoy the older cats. They have a special room for the FIV+ cats, and two special rooms for the shy cats who they work hard to socialize so that eventually they can be adopted. They're just so smart and thoughtful in everything they do. I can't say enough good things about them.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted two wonderful kitties from Gifford and am so glad I did. It was a long and thorough process, but that just goes to show how much Gifford truly cares about making great matches and ensuring their cats go to great homes. You can tell all the volunteers care deeply for the cats and love to be there. The cats themselves are all very well taken care of and are lucky to be placed with Gifford before finding their purrfect forever home.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Gifford Cat Shelter is truly an amazing place and I'm so happy I found it! As a volunteer, I found the staff to be very kind and dedicated-- always putting the health and well being of the cats before anything else. I love the fact that it is a no-kill shelter and they welcome with open arms cats of all ages and whether or not they have special needs. I knew nothing about FIV cats until volunteering at Gifford and soon learned how lovely and adoptable they are! After volunteering for over a year, I even adopted a cat of my own named Zimba. It was the best decision I ever made and I'll forever be grateful to Gifford for bringing him into my life, and giving cats who would normally not be given a second chance (like Zimba) the opportunity to be adopted and thrive! Cats at the Gifford Shelter live in cageless homes, free to play and sleep where they'd like, as they learn to love and trust again. I've also volunteered at several of the shelter's fundraisers and can say how careful they are with how they spend the money they raise-- all money goes to what's in the cat's best interest. I've been very inspired over the years by the work of the Ellen Gifford Cat Shelter and I look forward to seeing it thrive for years to come!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Gifford is an amazing place! I have been volunteering at Gifford for over six months, and I love coming to the shelter. The staff and volunteers care deeply about the well-being of the cats. The cats are kept in an environment that can benefit them the most, allowed to roam with other cats, and having plenty of opportunities to play and socialize with humans. In addition, the shelter puts a top priority on the cats' health, making sure their environment is kept clean to prevent infection, and giving them the best veterinary care possible.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering at Gifford Cat Shelter last year, and I continue to volunteer at the shelter every week. It has been one of the best volunteering experiences I have ever had. The staff and volunteers at the shelter work tirelessly to care for each cat that is brought to them. Even during some of last year's snow storms, numerous staff and volunteers made the trek to the shelter despite the poor traveling conditions. I love volunteering at this shelter, and I am amazed each week at the affection and attention given to each cat that passes through the shelter. The Gifford Cat Shelter is committed to each of its furry inhabitants, and I think everyone should consider adopting a cat from this wonderful shelter!

Client Served

Rating: 5

This shelter is everything and more. I adopted my cat from Gifford about a year ago from their special "Feline Charm School" socialization program for exceptionally shy and/or feral cats. Their volunteers work every day to socialize and acclimate cats that would otherwise have been un-adoptable by other shelters' standards. I am so happy that the volunteers at Gifford care so much and work so hard--without them I'm sure that I would never have found my favorite grumpy old man cat.

Melina P.

Advisor

Rating: 5

This is an amazing charity that I have the utmost respect for. I just wanted to inform you about a social media app called Rabadaba. It is a great way to raise real money for your cause, as well as to raise awareness for it. I have personally gotten paid by this app three times now, so I can assure you it is not a scam. I'd love to see your organization on Rabadaba, as we are all animal lovers and willing to help you out! Thank you for your time.

1 Sukiharl

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Every Sunday morning I watch WBZ TV Pet Parade with Kerry Connolly. One morning last December she featured adoptions from the Gifford Cat Shelter and something about the piece caught me. Later that same day, I went to visit and knew that it was an amazing place. I decided for the first time ever to join the volunteer ranks and have been so thankful that I have. The shelter staff, facilities, and my fellow Sunday volunteers are amazing and inspiring. The staff are passionate about the Gifford mission and their care of these lovely animals. It makes me wish I could do more. I look forward to going in every Sunday morning - just after watching WBZ TV Pet Parade - to make things nice for the cats and potential adoptions for the day. It is with mixed feelings each week when I come in to see some faces gone - off to a happy new home and a new face appear looking for their perfect family. I am grateful that such a place like the Gifford Shelter for cats exist.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted my cat from Gifford years ago. They knew the personality of each cat and pointed me towards my perfect fit. All of the cats are in VERY large cages or in big rooms. No small cages here. Cats are taken care of like kings and queens. Please support this shelter!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Ellen Gifford Cat Shelter is a wonderful place. It is unique from other shelters because the cats and kittens are not in individual cages. They roam amongst their fellow cats and can socialize, sit on the windowsills and enjoy the sunshine and birds, and use the scratching posts and toys. The people that work there are kind, caring, and genuinely care about all the resident cats. I started volunteering there and it is so rewarding and calming to me. It is bittersweet when the cats get adopted because you fall in love with them caring for them. Please consider The Gifford Cat Shelter if you're looking to adopt a wonderful cat or looking for a rewarding place to volunteer.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is a place that genuinely cares about the happiness and wellbeing of cats

1 Eugenie P.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have adopted several cats from this shelter throughout the years. Very compassionate, great environment for cats who seek a forever home. A++++ all the way!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I brought a badly injured stray to Gifford, and they went out of their way to give that cat care no other shelter would have ever offered. Even though he was FIV+ and had a badly injured eye and ear, they got him all the medical care he needed, gave him his own room for the required six months, let us visit him often, brushed him, fed him, brought him back to life...and now he is a happy, spoiled boy in his forever home with one of the Gifford volunteers. This is a wonderful facility full of dedicated staff and volunteers. I have never been to another shelter like it.

2 Sarah179

Client Served

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough good things about Giffords. My first visit was in 2011 when I was looking to adopt and the staff was so helpful in determining what type of cat would be best for my home. It was great to be able to interact with the cats outside of cages and it felt like the staff and volunteers really knew each animal and their personality. I was so impressed with the shelter that when I decided with my fiance to get another cat a year later, we knew we had to adopt from Gifford.

In addition to the great service during the adoption process, I have loved what the shelter has done as an organization. From setting up the outdoor space for the cats, to sponsoring the showing of "The Paw Project" and starting fundraising efforts that focus on particular health issues the cats face, they have really gone above and beyond to help all the cats that come in their doors.

Ilona

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is the most amazing no-kill, caretaking, heart-filled cat home around. I got a wonderful cat from the Ellen M Gifford Sheltering Home 17 years ago, and she is still the best cat companion I've ever had. I am so impressed with the way they handle the cats, with such love and concern -- and they take care to place the cats in good homes that will work. One of my favorite organizations around.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I were volunteers at Gifford and sadly are no longer able help out. While there and since we left my opinion of Gifford has not changed. This place is AWESOME! Everyone who works there and volunteers there really love the cats they take in. The cage less environment make for happy kitties. They also do amazing work with shy cats. We even adopted a cat that they rescued from another shelter who said he was "unadoptable". Because of the work Gifford did with him and the relationship we have built with him, he is a loving cat now who loves to be pet and brushed and get belly rubs! I cannot say enough wonderful things about the Ellen M Gifford Sheltering Home and their amazing staff and volunteers!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I was searching for a "cat specific" rescue to donate to as there tends to be so much focus on rescue dogs (and trust me, I donate to them too)! Upon doing my research I read wonderful things about the Gifford Cat Shelter and know I know why! I have visited the shelter several times over the last year to donate supplies or discuss fundraising opportunities and am always just so impressed with this facility. If I had to be a cat looking for a home I hope I would end up here!
The staff and volunteers have always been such a joy to work with. Their knowledge and passion always shines through and you can just tell they love what they do. What impresses me the most however is the facility for the cats. I love that these furry angels can roam free and have the ability to go both inside and out for exercise, mental stimulation, etc. I am just so happy to see all the cats not locked up in tiny cages.
I do a lot of rescue work and while I know space is always a challenge for shelters I think Gifford does an amazing job utilizing the space they have. I adore the cat towers and levels in their shelter. Cats can roam around and climb which is so important for their quality of life.

Schyler C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I honestly can't say enough good things about Gifford and the incredible folks who work and volunteer there. The first time I went, I meant to quickly stop in to check it out and ended up staying for over 3 hours because I was so impressed. The level of care and attention that they give the cats living at the home is unparalleled. Every time I went to visit there were several volunteers spending time with all of the cats and giving them exactly what they needed--whether it was playing with some of the more energetic kitties or giving quiet attention to some of the shyer ones. And they do an incredible job of keeping the spaces clean. There was no shelter smell or cat smell at all.

But I think the thing that stands out the most is how much they care about placing the right cats with the right family. I've been to shelters before where they just want to get the cats out the door as quickly as possible, but that's not the case at Gifford. They really know the personalities of the cats and speak extensively with potential adopters about which cat might work best for their family. My boyfriend and I have a hedgehog whom we love dearly and were looking for a cat to complete our little family. It was important that we found a cat who wouldn't be a danger to the hedgie and we found her thanks to Gifford! They know their cats so well and can really help guide you in your selection of the perfect cat. Wonderful people, wonderful cats, wonderful organization!!

Donor

Rating: 5

This place is amazing. It's the happiest shelter I have ever seen. The cats roam around out of cages, and are happy and healthy. They do a great job of placing cats with their forever homes and work so hard to keep them all healthy. They do not put down any sick cats that they can take care of with medicine or surgery, etc. and they do not put down to make room for other cats. I am also a volunteer and an adopter.

Donna142

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Gifford Shelter is a godsend to both people and cats. It is a no-kill shelter, and takes in as many cats as it can. Once there, the cats are cared for in a cageless, cheerful environment and given time to get used to their environment and show well to the adopting public. The care and attention given the cats by the managers are outstanding. The medical status of every cat is monitored carefully, and veterinary visits are liberally provided when necessary. The managers carefully match cats with adopters, so you have the best chance of adopting a cat that will be your companion for life.

I am so proud and happy to volunteer for such a wonderful organization.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The dedication that these people have to the cats is amazing... they are relentless. The fact that they have had some cats living their for 9 years, an outdoor feral cat area, and house cats with FIV exemplifies this dedication and unstoppable desire to support these animals in need. The facilities are health-inducing, as the cats are able to roam and play without the stress that small cages promote (especially for those straight off of the streets). I have seen so many cats flourish as a result of the volunteers and workers after being taken off of the street. I could not love this place more.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband and I adopted our kitty just over 3 years ago and we still thank them whenever we can for bringing us together. When he was found, he had a severe eye infection that could have left him blind. These cats are regularly discarded because they are considered un-adoptable. Not only did they take him in, but they treated him and today he can see very well (a little too well sometimes). For a cat shelter to take references and make sure that you can handle having a pet is a true sign that not only do they love what they do, but they also truly care for all of the kittys they care for!

Client Served

Rating: 5

So happy the Gifford Cat Shelter took my frantic phone call this past winter when a mother cat and her kitten showed up in my back yard! Debbie, as busy as she is, gave us the instruction we needed in order to safely care for these cats. I am so impressed by the level of commitment, this shelter has for its animals. We ended up adopting the kitten, and luckily, there was room for the mother cat to move into the Gifford feral community. So, with Debbie's guidance, everything turned out really well.
Thanks, Gifford!
Judy Nagle

Client Served

Rating: 5

We went to the Ellen M Gifford Sheltering home when we decided it was time for us to adopt a cat. I chose them due to their high ratings on Yelp and was not disappointed! The screening process for us was very thorough, and I was impressed by how much the volunteers cared not just about the clients, but also about the future welfare of the cats being adopted. The facility was clean and spacious, and the cats we saw all seemed happy and well taken care of. The volunteers who worked with us were very honest about each of the cats we visited with, letting us know about any personality quirks or health issues they might have. After choosing our new companion, the shelter has been great about answering any questions we had and checking in to be sure that both us and our furry friend were settling in okay. I'd highly recommend them to anyone looking for a cat -- although the price might be slightly higher than other places, in my opinion it's worth it to help keep up this fantastic facility.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We highly recommend the Gifford Shelter for anyone looking to adopt a cat in the Boston area. The Gifford Shelter is welcoming to both humans and cats: a home-like environment, including a wonderfully screened back yard, perfect for cats to play and explore, allowing those hoping to adopt to interact with them in a more natural environment than is usually offered at shelters. We had had a wonderful cat, kitten to senior, for 17 years, and needed to see the cats' personalities, which is difficult when meeting cats in cages. After visiting several shelters in MetroWest/Boston, we finally discovered Gifford via its website. Staff and volunteers were welcoming and proud of the space and their work caring for and socializing the cats. We met Amber and many other interesting cats. It was the first time in our search that we had a sense of the cat's personality. We were lucky to be chosen for Amber, who had had surgery and rehabilitation while at Gifford to correct a congenital lack of eyelids. Needless to say, she was well loved and cared for during her almost year at Gifford. She was a bit of a celebrity while there, and a group of her fans, volunteers and visitors, came to say good-bye to Amber. While many were attached to her, it was clear that they all wanted her to have a permanent home. She has adjusted well and is very affectionate and playful, thanks to all who socialized with her and cared for her at Gifford. In fact her name has been added to. It is now Amber Gifford Jones! We are grateful to the care given at Gifford, and very glad we found them...and Amber, RockStar Cat!

Client Served

Rating: 5

After finally moving to a place where I could have a pet, I knew that I wanted to get a cat. It was my first time getting a pet of my own, though I grew up with pets and had been involved in my family's adoption process numerous times. My parents are very involved in animal rescue efforts in my hometown, so I have dealt with quite a few rescue organizations and been to lots of shelters. As I begun my search for a cat in Boston, I also went to several of the other organizations in town. The difference between a typical shelter and Gifford is really night and day. The facility is clean, large, bright, and truly designed with cats in mind--a world of difference from the loud, smelly, chaotic, and cramped environment of most shelters. The cats roam freely, which as a potential adopter is great because you can better evaluate their personalities and who might be a match for you, but is also so nice for the cats! The volunteers I interacted with were very kind and professional, and knew so much about the different cats that they are clearly very dedicated to their work there. After asking me a few questions, they were able to point out a few cats that seemed like they might suit me and tell me quite a bit about their history and habits--beyond volunteers, they are really matchmakers! I also know that, based on the history of the cat I ended up adopting and how long she was at Gifford, she probably would not have still been there at a typical shelter, so I am so thankful for Gifford's no-kill policy and the way in which they really try to meet the needs of every cat while they are at the shelter. I was also very impressed with how thorough they were in processing my application, calling references and everything. While it did make the adoption process a bit longer, I know it is just because they want to be sure all the cats go to good homes. My Gifford cat is the light of my life, and I am just so thankful an organization exists that can be so caring and patient with a cat who may not be the easiest or most adoptable cat out there. I just wish they were more conveniently located to me so that I could volunteer!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Gifford is a no-kill shelter that takes in many cats that other shelters wouldn't, such as FIV+ cats, older cats, and extremely shy cats - and manages to find most of them homes. The cageless nature of the shelter allows potential adopters to get a better idea of a cat's personality, and everyone who works at Gifford makes sure that they help adopters find the perfect cat for their lifestyle. Gifford is also great because they don't give up on very shy cats, and most long-term volunteers have specific shy cats that they have bonded with and work with.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I lost my cat Casey in 2000. I was sure I did not want another cat but in February 2001, someone who had been at the Gifford Shelter told me about a 6 year old gray female named Luna who was living in the Gifford Office because she was not getting along with other cats but loved people and laps. Luna and I met and we hit it off immediately. She moved right in and was with me until I lost her at age 17 to Diabetes and kidney failure. I love this shelter, The people are always helpful, the place is spotless and the cats live in large spaces and have access to a fenced in yard for out door play. I have called the shelter many times over the years with questions about finding a home for a stray, or helping a friend find a new companion and have always gotten an immediate answer and/or resources to use. LOVE THIS PLACE

Donor

Rating: 5

There is only word to describe he Gifford Cat Shelter and that word is Compassion. Each and every employee and volunteer is totally all about the care of the Cats. I Like the Fact that it is a Cage less no kill shelter . I am proud to Donate to Gifford.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I found out about Gifford Shelter from the internet right after my cat died. After visiting many other shelter to adopt a cat I was surprised how high standard Gifford shelter has. Voluntees and everyone else, who work there are doing everything to make sure that cats will have everything the best. It is very clean shelter and what impressed me the most it smells very nice. You feel like you entered incredibly nice and clean house full of cats and love. Cats are happy, healthy, clean in there. They are all loved and for the most of them shelter is a heaven on an earth.

Jenice T.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was first an adopter of a Gifford cat and now have been a volunteer for the last 3 years. This organization goes above and beyond most shelters. They earnestly care about the cats in their charge and do the best for each and every one of them. The outdoor enclosure is such a treat for feline and human alike. They also do a thorough screening of the adopters. I agree with the others when I say that I can't say enough about The Gifford Cat Shelter. This is the way shelters should be operated.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Like many of the other reviewers, I cannot say enough about the Gifford Cat Shelter. I have been fortunate enough to volunteer for the past 10 years, 4 of which have included my young son. The shelter's complete focus is on the cats. Their health and happiness is paramount to the Gifford. They are not interested in 'getting them in and getting them out,' like other shelters. The Gifford takes the time to get to know each cat's personality: are they shy, do they get along well with other cats, are they active and need a stimulating environment, does the cat have special needs? The Gifford also takes the time to get to know the potential adopter: do you have children, another pet at home etc. They want to make sure that they make the best possible match for feline and person alike. They truly want each and every cat to find their 'forever home.' My family and I are also 6 time adopters from the Gifford. Our lives have been enriched by being associated with this fantastic organization.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our family found our way to the Gifford Cat Shelter one Christmas Eve when we set out to find a sibling for our rescued kitten. Despite the unlikeliness of finding a shelter open on Christmas Eve, the Gifford Cat Shelter was open and very encouraging and welcoming to us. Upon arriving at the shelter, the dedicated staff spent considerable time with us to ensure that we found the right kitten and that we would indeed provide a loving home for him. Gifford's is a truly wonderful spot - bravo to its long, proud history and the organization that it is today!

Ann_64

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer at Gifford for almost 10 years and served as a board member for 7 years. There are two major factors that make this shelter unique and special. First, it is a cageless shelter - and has been so since 1884! Allowing cats freedom to move around, play and interact is so much less stressful for them than confining them to cages. In addition, Gifford is a shelter that goes the extra mile for cats. If a cat needs health care of some kind, it is provided. "Special needs" cats are admitted and cared for - sometimes it takes a while longer to find a permanent home for them, but they can stay as long as needed to find a home that is just right (for them and for their human family).

I am also so impressed with the history of the shelter. It was founded in 1884 by two people who were very forward-thinking for their time - Ellen Gifford and Nathan Appleton (of the prominent Boston Appleton family). Nathan was quoted as saying that animals "have a right to their lives and pursuit of happiness"... pretty amazing for the 1800's!

Donor

Rating: 5

I am in total agreement with all 17 reviews written so far. Gifford lives up to its Mission Statement 110%. My rating is based upon a few visits to the shelter (unrelated to adoption), reading its on-line news, and participating in a variety of fund raisers. Happy Cats + Happy Volunteers + Quality medical care + Professional staff = Happy, Grateful Forever Families. It's a simple formula but takes hard work and plenty of funding, so this is a great opportunity to spread word of a wonderful non-profit.

Donor

Rating: 4

Gifford Cat Shelter is a wonderful shelter for cats. Rather than be in small cages, the cats have windows and areas to walk around and are allowed out to wander with other cats they get along with. I adopted a cat from here. The information Gifford received from the donating family was erroneous so that cat wasn't a good fit for me and didn't get along with the cat I already had. They were wonderful in working with me to find the proper home for this cat. I like their facilty very much.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Saturday is my favorite day of the week because that is the day I spend at Gifford. I actually look forward to getting up by 7 AM on my day off to go to Gifford. The shelter not only provides a fulfilling and safe place for cats in need, it does the same for those of us who volunteer there - I think I can go ahead and speak for everyone when I say that.

Walking in the door to Gifford is like stepping through the threshold of your second home, where you live happily with 30 cats. The cage-free, ingeniously built environment allows the cats to live as normal a life as possible, peacefully sharing their communal space as they await the day when they will meet their new human friend. Cats who are new, or would just plain prefer their own space, are given the sanctuary of a personal room or pen (the size of a typical large dog run at other shelters) equipped with their own furniture and window to bask in the sun.

The care that is put into the environment, socialization and medical and emotional care of the cats at Gifford can turn even a terribly frightened and feral animal into a ready to trust, perfectly adoptable (if maybe a bit shy) treasure that you could not imagine not taking home with you. Thankfully, my cat prefers to be the only cat for me, or i would now be the proud owner of countless Gifford cats!

Gifford works hard for its cats. A no-kill shelter, Gifford makes a commitment to cats that they take in to be in it for the long haul and they never flinch in that promise. Gifford not only accepts cats that are FIV positive or have other ailments or conditions, they make enormous efforts to provide top notch care for every cat. Sometimes that means simply including vitamin supplements in the morning dish of wet food. Other times that means providing for surgeries that cost in the thousands to better the quality of life, or going to heroic lengths to try to save the life of the new ill, abused and neglected "stray" that finally found a place where people would care for him rather than ignore him.

Last year i started investigating shelters to volunteer at and I hit the jackpot when I stumbled upon this hidden (yet longest running shelter in the country!) gem. Gifford is not only the most wonderful place I would love to find if I were a cat in need, it is the most wonderful place for us humans who spend our time with the Gifford cats. Not only are we lucky enough to hang out with the amazing cats who pass through the doors, the shelter director Debbie never fails to let you know how thankful she is for our time. A sentiment I can always only ever respond to with a big - No, Thank You(!) for letting me come here!

Hello, my name is Stephanie and I am am a Gifford addict,
Come join me!!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've adopted my cats from shelters twice before and have always had good experiences. Gifford, from whom I adopted my two cats a year ago (after my beloved 17-year old cat died) was, however, exceptional, and topped them all.

Why?

1) The cats were exceptionally well-cared for, better than any other animal adoption center I visited, and I visited about 5;
2) They called me when they had two cats that met the description of what I said I was looking for on my application (some places called and tried to convince me to look at ones who didn't meet my request);
3) They had a quiet, separate room for me to meet the cats, so I had a chance to spend time with them without being surrounded by a lot of activity, noise and other animals;
4) They were the ONLY place that seemed to care as much about the cats being right for me as they were to get the cats adopted (which I experienced at a couple of places, where I felt the volunteers were really pushing me to adopt);
5) The people who work and volunteer at Gifford are utterly wonderful, and deeply caring about me and the cats;
6) The amount of paperwork was limited and done in no time (of course, they'd check my references, etc., before I came to see the cats);
7) They're on a quiet side street a few blocks from BC, parking was incredibly easy to get, and, if I recall correctly, you could walk to them from the Green Line "B" if you don't have a car.

I've had my two cats for a year now, and am grateful every day I went to Gifford. It's the Boston-area's best kept cat adoption secret!

Elaine

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Gifford is great! The staff and volunteers really care about each cat and do their best to find the right pet parent for each of them. All of the cats are well-taken care of until they find their forever homes. I adopted two kittens from the shelter two years ago and am thrilled with them. The people at the shelter were really helpful in guiding me through all of the care that the kittens needed in their first six months. I happily donate to the shelter every year because I know they will use my donation to help more cats.

Carly G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Gifford is a FANTASTIC shelter. There are no cages - every cat either has a pen (with vertical areas), a room, or access to the large communal space. They now even feature a secure outside area for the cats.

It is a truly wonderful place for homeless cats.

I have volunteered and worked in other shelters, and Gifford is top of the top.

Michele45

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have done some volunteering at the Gifford Shelter over the last several years. The staff truly care about each cat, whether it is a newly arrived kitten or an older cat who has been a Shelter resident for awhile. Staff and Volunteers do a great job keeping the Shelter clean and keeping the cats fed, groomed, and in good health.

Helping the cats feel safe and happy is considered very important, at this Shelter. You will see cats interacting with workers, visitors and other cats, enjoying the Shelter's outdoor enclosure, or just curled up in a window seat and napping.

I have a great deal of respect for the Gifford Shelter.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I used to live near the Gifford Shelter, and came across it during a walk around the neighborhood. Once I moved up here permanently, I applied to volunteer. I absolutely adore this place, and think that any cat who drops by here on their way to their forever home is in heaven. Lots of friends to hangout with, whether that be another furry friend or human. The outdoor vicinity is a great place for the cats to go out and explore that is safe.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a foster mom to one of Gifford's cats. As such, I've had the opportunity to see the operation close up. The management and volunteers have made a comfortable and happy home for their cats. It is a cageless environment and the cats also have access to a protected outside area. All the cats appear very healthy and well cared for.

Fostering a cat Is a good deal. I get love and companionship and a cat in need gets a home until it is adopted. And Gifford pays for all the cat's needs--food, litter, and vet care.

Management seems to work hard at fund-raising. It is obvious that they care very much for their charges. The cats who end up here are lucky indeed.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband and I adopted a cat from Gifford a year ago. We are so grateful to the team at Gifford for helping us find the perfect cat for us! They know their cats well, and give extra time and thought to finding the right home for the cat and the owners. Kind of like kitty matchmakers. We adopted an older cat, who had been abandoned and found on the streets with a band of feral cats. Gifford had been working with him for over a year to socialize him, and they gave us great advice and coached us all they way through his transition into our home. He has blossomed into the most affectionate, happiest cat I've ever met. I often look at our happy cat and am so grateful to Gifford's for rescuing him and changing his life so he's happy and safe. Thank you to the team at Giffords for rescuing him and matching us up....we're all in love!

Client Served

Rating: 5

We cannot say enough wonderful things about this shelter. It is truly a magical place. We thank them everyday for making our family complete.

Donor

Rating: 5

My friend, Suzie opened my eyes to the plight of abandoned pets and the kind people at
Gifford cat shelter who rescue these helpless felines and find homes for these intriguing cats. Suzie has two cats from Gifford and it is such a wonderful thing, both for the cats, Charlotte and Ivory, and for my friend, Suzie. They return the love given them over and over. I am seriously considering adopting a Gifford Shelter cat and my world has so opened having learned about them and about Gifford. Keep up the good work, Debbie and the rest of the crew. thank you, Suzie for introducing me to homeless cats who just need to be loved.

Tomtom