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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Hearts That Purr Feline Guardians

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals, Cats

Mission: To provide shelter and loving care for felines made homeless due to the terminal illness, incapacitation or death of their owners; and to educate the public about the importance of planning for the ongoing care of their beloved companion animals should a time come when they are no longer able to do so themselves.

Target demographics: Older felines made homeless due to the terminal illness, incapacitation or death of their owners.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Older felines at risk for euthansia and the humans who loved them dearly.

Geographic areas served: Arizona

Programs: The "Senior Citizens and Senior Kittizens" Program, a long-term foster program that places older felines in homes with elder persons where both can benefit from the companionship; The Feline Guardian Program, a pre-arranged lifetime care plan for cat owners without trusted family or friends to care for any cat that outlives them; A Retirement Home and Hospice program for older felines with chronic or terminal health conditions; and an Adoption Program for older cats that helps with future vet care expenses.

Community Stories

55 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hearts That Purr saved my life- and that is not an exaggeration. I was recovering from a difficult personal situation and I was missing the wonderful love and comfort I had always felt from my cats. I adopted Buddy just over a year ago, he had been one of three seniors rescued from a shelter. The cats were in very bad shape, but Buddy appeared to need fewer medical procedures and was determined to be about 8 years old- a young cat for Hearts That Purr so once he was healthy, he was available for foster/ adoption. I found him through a Facebook friend that connected me with the organization. My first visit was amazing- I am so very impressed with the love and care all the cats receive there. HTP did a vigorous screening of me including a home visit. The care and concern they show for the cats and the perspective families was very impressive. I am honored and grateful that they allowed me to foster and then adopt him- he's my constant companion and a joy. He makes everyday worthwhile. They are a marvelous organization!

Andrea W.2

Donor

Rating: 5

Hearts That Purr Feline Guardians shines as a nonprofit that truly cares for cats that deserve to be loved and cherished in their twilight years. I have seen their felines blossom with the individual attention that they receive in a modern, comfortable and innovative home. JM and her volunteers are dedicated and knowledgeable and I will continue to support them as they take care of their tribe!

bcs2017

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

On this 6th anniversary of Hearts That Purr, I remain amazed at the work that has been done for the well being of senior cats when their caregivers must entrust their beloved pet(s) into the care of another. It has been a joy to watch the unfolding of this dream from its inception. This feline guardian program has expanded from dedicated direct and individualized care for each pet, to an educational resource, to a carefully monitored and supported foster care service and it keeps growing! The owners and staff, both employed and volunteers are deeply committed to the mission and are intimately involved with day to day needs of each cat. There is none other!

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Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Hearts really do purr in this senior cat retirement home. As far as I know, this is the most comprehensive senior cat residential care facility in existence west of The Continental Divide of the Americas. One’s pet cat(s) enters this haven often through pre-planning o rescue from shelter euthanasia.
The founder learns everything she can about the potential resident prior to its arrival and, whenever possible, duplicates familiar home kitty treasures in the pet’s new residence. The surroundings are spacious, clean, safe and appropriately stimulating based on the needs of your pet.
Compassion is the force that you immediately recognize when observing interactions between caregivers and any of the cats. You will not find cages anywhere! Medical care is easily accessible through local veterinary services as well as a mobile vet service. The owner welcomes and even calls forth insights, concerns, and observations from the many folks who share their time with the cats.
Visiting Hearts That Purr is an opportunity to breathe the tranquility that permeates both the indoors and outdoors of the ranch. Each cat will find their Garden of Eden in this world of senior cats.

Jill12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hearts That Purr cares for senior kitties who more often than not have senior kitty ailments that require pallative care. Their love and tenderness guide each and every one down the usually short road to the Rainbow Bridge with dignity and all the food, toys, and loving attention any kitty would dream for in their final months and days. It is the dream retirement home for kitties!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at Hearts That Purr for several years and love every minute of it.

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Donor

Rating: 5

I learned of this charity a while back and it spoke to my heart. My own parents suddenly passed away over 20 years ago and left behind 2 senior kitties. Luckily the kitties were re-homed fairly quickly and thankfully, together. However, I knew this was not the norm and that older kitties at adoption centres are very often overlooked and can face a very uncertain and potentially grim fate.

Hearts That Purr Feline Guardians are amazing. They cater for the senior kitties who are left behind when their human family pass away, or through ill health, can no longer look after their beloved kitties. Some of the kitties themselves have health issues, which sadly often comes with age. The kitties want for nothing. They are loved, have a forever home, all the veterinary support they need and live out their autumn years in what can only be described as “kitty heaven on Earth”. The Earth Angels (as I have christened them) do an amazing job.

I donate to this wonderful charity whenever I can. The regular Facebook updates are so lovely and make you feel like you know all of the kitties personally. Never before did I realise a catnip banana could be shrouded in so much mystery!!!! Tipper will for ever be my favourite kitty, for so many reasons.

I live thousands of miles away, however, one day I will visit this wonderful place in Tucson, because in my heart, I know it really is a little bit of “heaven on Earth”.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My doctor told me about this place since I had lost my last kitty in Feb 2019. I became a volunteer in May and have enjoyed it immensely! I probably will get another cat but not until I come back from my vacation in Aug. This place is fun and allows me to have my "cat fix" supplied while taking care of all the wonderful friends here.

blindowlbluesbook

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I discovered Hearts That Purr about six months ago, while looking online for a very specific cat related resource. After participating in an adoption transport for a cat whose owner had passed away suddenly, leaving him alone in an apartment for a week, I realized I needed to make plans for my own cats in case I should predecease them. Although I am in my 40s and healthy, it is impossible to know what tomorrow may bring, and we cannot always rely on friends or family to do the best thing for our beloved cats.

When I contacted Hearts That Purr, their director was so helpful, explaining their Guardian program and inviting me to visit in person. When I came to Tucson, I was thrilled by what I found. It is not like the shelters one usually sees for rescued cats. Rather, it is essentially a feline retirement home, with a beautiful, sparkling clean establishment furnished and decorated just for the feline residents. Most are senior cats, and many have special needs (including renal disease, diabetes, and cancer) which are tended to. A loving, dedicated group of volunteers lavish attention on the kitties, and see to necessities like food and litter boxes. Some cats have roommates; others are given individual rooms, depending on temperament. All are given thorough veterinary care, emotional support, toys, and lots of love. Volunteers and staff constantly consider the changing needs of the cats as they age, striving to do make every day enjoyable for each resident.

When my mother expressed a desire to move to a warmer climate, I was excited to suggest Tucson as a potential new home for us, so I could be closer to Hearts That Purr and become a regular volunteer. Since then, it has been my privilege to get to know these cats better, help new residents adjust to the space, and celebrate when senior cats are connected with senior humans in the ‘Senior Citizens and Senior Kittizens’ foster program. I have also been honored to have Misty, a 17 year old cat, placed in my own home. Through the long-term foster program, the organization provides assistance and veterinary services for their foster cats, ensuring that they will always have support and top-notch care.

This is one of very few organizations of its kind. Their Guardian program enables individuals to ensure care for their cats after their own demise, through planned giving and estate planning. I urge all cat owners to look into this program, and ensure that beloved cats will not end up in a shelter or on the streets in the event of a person’s death. This is not just a rescue facility, but a loving home for the cats who live there. Hearts That Purr is a brilliant concept and deserves your support.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

HTP is wonderful. It’s so heart warming to help senior cats live out the rest of their lives in love and comfort.

AZterritory

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The unique niche that Hearts That Purr fills continues to provide elderly felines with love and care when their elderly 'people' no longer can due to sickness or death. Older cats who are grieving present challenges, yet HTP and their crew of caring volunteers and medical professionals gently nurture these cats, make them comfortable, and make their final years bright and happy. As a volunteer, I've personally seen how ongoing medical care and love can work little miracles in these sweet cats. HTP is so homey, the cats have room to roam, sleep and dream and their fondness for treats and toys is indulged with lots of lap time from loving volunteers, 'cat whisperers' all. Their Senior Kitizens for Senior Citizens Program has enriched the lives of seniors and felines alike, and I know of no other program like it. It is such a special and thoughtful approach that allows cat lovers to continue to enjoy cat companionship throughout their lives. It is a privilege to be part of the HTP family, it's a purr-fect place for felines!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hearts That Purr fills a unique niche. . . providing lifetime care for older cats whose people are terminally ill or have passed away. I love volunteering there because the cats are happy (you can tell, because each special kitty personality shines through). The home is truly a home, light, bright, clean and cheerful with everything a feline could possibly desire in the way of comfort, food or toys. This is where I want my cats to go, if we were unable to continue to care for them.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer for Hearts That Purr, and have been doing so for five years. Never before, or since, have I seen or been a part of such a well-run organization. The volunteers are wonderful with, and to the cats. As a recent person who visited said, "the place is so beautiful, and zen". I am so proud to be able to be a part of Hearts That Purr Feline Guardians.

Oh, and Sweetie is still waiting for me, and I for him! Can't wait to see him again!

CatLoverAlways

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I fall in love more and more with each of the residents every time I come to volunteer at Hearts That Purr. The home is so perfect for the cats, and they lack nothing. Ok well, maybe a live mouse, but there's plenty of other entertainment! When I need to be placed in a home, this is my first and only choice. The attentiveness, food, toys, water, company, and beds are all first class! It's no wonder they are a great nonprofit! Here's the funny guy I adored and helped care for, and who adored me back! Sweetie and I have a long-standing date over the Rainbow Bridge as soon as I get there!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My loved one's health was in decline and so was their ability to care for their cats. Their cats' stress and acting out behaviors increased. As an experienced animal rescuer, I am well aware that rehoming an older pet is exponentially harder than rehoming a young pet. Furthermore, my expectations for a place to rehome their cats was very high. The cats needed to be in a place where their needs were individualized and met with the upmost of intention, love and respect. Hearts That Purr exceeded all expectations. From the first contact, they were responsive, compassionate, and sensitive to the loss that the cats experienced and the loss that my loved one would experience as well. Their level of communication was exceptional. Upon arrival at Hearts That Purr, it was apparent that it is everything animal welfare should be. The sanctuary is spotless. The staff and volunteers are passionate about cats and cat rescue and they know each cat's personality, and unique habits. Moreover, they are amazingly attentive to each cat's individual needs and care. Each of the sanctuary's feline residents are relaxed and happy. When I left Hearts That Purr Sanctuary, my sadness at saying "goodbye" to my loved one's cats was diminished by the enormous gratitude that they were living out the rest of their days at the most perfect, loving place for any cat, much less a senior cat in need of a forever home, who lost their human and their home.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Not long ago as an athletic, vibrant 60 year old single gentleman, I was shocked and overwhelmed when my doctor told me I had a life threatening disease requiring two
risky surgeries. I had little time to get all my affairs in order in a way I felt comfortable
with, especially for the care of my beloved pets-----three very sweet, middle aged cats!
Who could I leave them with in the event of my sudden death??? Who would really care for
them? Would know how to provide a safe, healthy, loving home for them as they had
with me?
Desperate, I asked my wonderful Veterinarian; a true expert of the feline field! She recommended to me with great confidence "Hearts That Purr Feline Guardians"!
When I called for information, I spoke with Jeanmarie and immediately started to feel more relaxed, relieved about the future of my dear pets! She was very kind and exuded a true love and caring nature for all the magnificent creatures we call feline! She invited me too visit the spacious, clean home where "Hearts That Purr Feline Guardians" is based. When I visited,
Jeanmarie was very patient. She gave me a complete tour and answered all of my questions.
when I left, I knew I had found the perfect home for my beloved kitties in the unfortunate event I passed away suddenly! Thank you Jeanmarie for your great love and care for these
magnificent feline creatures!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

"To whom do my loved cats go to if I should die?" My dear friend suddenly, lost his life , concerned since there was no one to take Oreo Girl , I found the most fantastic, clean , well kept and loved sanctuary for cats! I was impressed at how organized it was with lots of rooms for cats with different situations and the help of volunteers. Please don't let your cats go to the pound or other shelters that will put the pets to sleep since they can only be kept for so long if
not adopted out. This is a non kill shelter and they have a place for life . I visited and was satisfied , if ever I am in a situation where family members can't take my pets for reasons, if you should pass ! Rest assure #1 and perfect place !

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Two years ago I happened upon Hearts that Purr as a potential volunteer. I had been to shelters before and never felt the chemistry I was looking for in order to donate my time. Reading about HTP made me hopeful that it was the perfect spot. The formality of filling out an application and stating my skills and background made me even more hopeful. This would be a place that wanted the right people caring for their wards. Seeing the lovely home that was purchased just for these kitties and how they were placed in rooms by "family" or by friends showed how much JeanMarie cares about these elderly kitties and their futures. The cats are respected, cared for and loved until the day they are called to Rainbow Bridge. I've seen many occasions where brand new residents were in need of expensive medical treatment and found it scheduled without a thought given to the expense - only thought given to helping the kitty feel better. Even though I promised myself that I would not adopt, a year an a half in I fell in love with a 14 year old boy who had lost his mom. Even though JeanMarie knew me, she had me complete the paperwork and did a home visit to ensure that Siren was going to a good home! Integrity and singleminded goals set to run this organization have made it a very successful home for senior kitties and for the numerous volunteers who have joined us. I'm so impressed with HTP that I regularly donate to it and plan to when I pass.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a new volunteer to Hearts that Purr, I'd like to share my thoughts. I really appreciate that someone had the forethought to provide a home for the pets of people who have a terminal illness or who are suddenly taken away from their dear pets. As a single person, I have been worried about what might happen to my "little boy" when I die. This home is the answer. As a current volunteer, I hope to provide the same loving care to these cats that will, hopefully, one day be given to my cat.

1 Betsy M.2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a Veterinary Technician and an animal lover--especially cats!--I want to applaud Jeanmarie and her organization Hearts That Purr. I have been doing volunteer work there for a couple of months. I was attracted to volunteering for this particular group because of the organization's 3-part mission: taking in elderly cats, helping people plan for their cats' care if the people are unable to care for them any longer, and matching senior cats for fostering by senior people. I am a firm believer in the healing power of animals.
I love volunteering there because the cats are so mellow and happy! The facility is fantastic! I wish I lived there--A large house, with about 10 rooms with large windows, all overlooking either a pretty courtyard or a patio and pool. They all have large rooms, tons of toys, their choice of many beds and hiding spots, scratching posts and kitty condos. The cats receive the best medical care I have ever seen at a rescue organization. The other volunteers are friendly, committed and I can tell they really care about each cat. They always share stories about previous cats and current resident cats.
This organization is purely positive and defines compassion by taking care of people and their beloved cats; and by taking on the care of abandoned elderly cats, oftentimes in poor health, that would otherwise no doubt simply be killed by a county facility.
A truly humane society takes care of its most vulnerable members. Hearts That Purr does just that.

1 Linley F.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I spend a lot of my spare time networking cats, transporting them and donating to the rescues who save them. Hearts That Purr is one of very few rescues that specifically take senior kitties, usually as a result of the death of an owner, but sometimes just because there is no one else to give a cat an alternative to being put down. I have taken a cat to the Hearts That Purr sanctuary in Tucson and it is the most wonderful, peaceful, beautiful place for a cat to live out their remaining years. Many older cats have special medical, dietary or physical needs and Jeannemarie and her staff and volunteers go out of their way to attend to these needs through expert veterinary visits, special diets and lots and lots of love and attention. Their facebook page is full of photos and stories that show their love for the cats that they have committed to loving and caring for. It is easy to see that this is a 5-star non-profit

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As of this posting, I'm the newest volunteer. Hearts That Purr is not a shelter; it's a place where cats can play, eat, and seep without the confines of a cage. The residents (cats) are separated into various rooms based on temperament and personality. Each room has amenities such as cat trees, toys, furniture, and even music. Littler boxes, fresh water fountains, nutritious meals, and veterinary care are included at no extra charge.

Jeanmarie and Kelly have built a worthwhile and much needed organization, and I'm happy to say I'm part of the team :)

Brad

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I both volunteer at Hearts that Purr and manage the vet clinic that most of these kitties come to for both regular veterinary care and management of senior cat illnesses. Hearts that Purr takes excellent care of their kitties in either a home-like environment at their main facility, or in the actual homes of fosters. Care is taken to ensure that all the kitties have the best quality of life possible for the longest time possible.

In the main facility, each cat lives either singly if they prefer to be alone, or with up to three friends to a room. Each room of cats has plenty of cozy beds, chairs, rugs, scratchers, toys, and other enrichment and comfort items, and volunteers come daily and make sure each cat gets all the love, play, and treats they need, as well as any treatments they need to stay healthy. Cats in the foster program are carefully matched to a foster whose lifestyle and personality meshes well with the cat's needs. Hearts that Purr then continues to make sure the cat thrives in its new home, while keeping a close eye on the cat's health.

Overall, Hearts that Purr goes the extra mile to make sure the cats have the best possible care in their senior years, whether that means merely keeping on top of routine care, calling the mobile vet for emergencies, or just making sure each cat is loved.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I look upon my time spent volunteering at Hearts that Purr as therapy... for me! This place is like a 5 star resort for elderly cats. I'm especially amazed at the excellent/professional medical care they receive which in turn allows the cats an extremely high quality of life, right to the end. I was a bit wary when I first visited as I had recently lost my own 2 cats to old age and illness. I wondered if I could enjoy spending time with Older Cats. These cats are so well kept and comfortable that our time together is spent in joy, petting and purring. I wish there were more places like Hearts that Purr and so glad I found them.

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Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a hospice social worker and reached out to Hearts That Purr when one of my hospice patients could no longer live at home and care for his elderly cat. Hearts That Purr responded right away and was able to meet with my patient and make arrangments to take the cat when the time came. A few short weeks later that time came as my patient's health declined. At very short notice Hearts That Purr was able to pick up the cat and provide her with a loving new place to live. Two weeks after the cat was removed from the home my patient died. Although it was hard for him to let her go he expressed to me his relief that she was going somewhere that would take great care of her. I know he is looking down on his Misty and happy that Hearts That Purr took her in and gav her a loving home. As a social worker I am beyond grateful this organization exist for people like my patient who have no one to take their cat. I will also be beyond grateful to this organization for helping a dying man make sure his cat had a safe place to go.