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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Ellen M Gifford Sheltering Home Corporation

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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

Geographic areas served: Greater Boston Area and beyond

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

Community Stories

64 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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.

1

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

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 Karl G.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at Gifford for almost a year and a half. The staff, board and other volunteers there have always demonstrated a deep love for and commitment to the welfare of every cat that comes through the Shelter.

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!