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The Hermitage Cat Shelter

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals

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

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

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

Direct beneficiaries per year: find homes for almost 650 kitties, and provided food for over 60 families each month

Geographic areas served: Southern Arizona

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

Community Stories

71 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

17

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

The Hermitage non-profit cat shelter is not quite what it seems to be. Apparently their primary purpose is to raise money from lavish parties versus finding homes for their cats. Here is my story. We were allowed to place a neighbor’s cat with the Hermitage only after offering sponsorships and money to get them to take him! Long story short, in the interim of them accepting Simon, a cat with diabetes, we started giving him insulin shots and feeding him. After turning him over to them we missed him so much we made weekly visits to see him. During those visits we started to see the real workings of the Hermitage. Often times there was not even a person at the front desk to greet us. We’d just walk right in and go to see Simon. Watching feed time in the diabetic room was a wake up call to us. They would put the food bowls down and just leave! Not watching to see if the cat ate (or a different cat came and ate their food!) then later coming back with a handful of syringes to give insulin shots. The problem is if a cat doesn’t eat and gets an insulin shot they can become hypoglycemic, possibly a fatal issue. We decided to adopt Simon as our own, reportedly we were immediately placed on a do-not let adopt list because we brought him there on our neighbor’s behalf. After almost a month, the adoption manager left a voice message saying that we really had never been denied and we could come to the Hermitage and adopt Simon. On the day as were driving to pick him up, we learned the adoption would not take place as we were told the medical staff person and the adoption manager would not be available to process the adoption. The medical staff person had a conflicting appointment and the adoption manager was sent home earlier as he had worked too many hours the prior week. Two days later as we drove back for a second adoption appointment, we received a phone call telling us Simon was taken to the hospital and was to be euthanized for hypoglycemia! Upon arrival at the Hermitage the director stated that Simon probably hadn’t eaten last night and that could be why his blood glucose was so low. When we asked the executive director to see the body, she said we could see Simon’s body for just a few seconds and then said “I want him out of here”. I will get a necropsy done to see what happened, she assured us we could have his ashes and a copy of the report. Well two more months have passed and still no word on Simon’s ashes. I could not recommend this place for donations or adoptions with many other highly reviewed caring cat shelters in the Tucson area. I can only recommend that you do some research first for any place, many use fluff or false reviews from employees or friends or glowing recommendations on a Face book or Yelp page with no proof of truth.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

1 Cheryl144

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've been a volunteer, a foster parent, and a happy foster failure for eight kittens/cats from the Hermitage. Everyone there is hard working and absolutely dedicated to their jobs. These are people that put their hearts into everything they do for these felines. The shelter itself, though aging, shows the care put into it every day by it's maintenance group and the adoption staff is more than glad to walk you around and show you all the wonderful animals. Volunteering at the shelter is a wonderful practice and I recommend anyone in Tucson that wants to help a great cause, to not look any further.

Mark183

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

1 Mimi A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

hiley

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

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

Jamie Aitchison

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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

1 Vicki59

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

1 Michael271

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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

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

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

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

Thank you,
Michael Cannon

2 Nicole98

Client Served

Rating: 5

I got my two kitties from here, an elderly tabby lady and a young mama who is tabby and white, and they are the lights of my life! The hermitage took such good care of them and made sure that they didn't get overlooked even though they weren't kittens. Whenever I go there the hermitage is clean with lots of places for cats of all temperaments and abilities to be comfortable and safe-- it is truly a unique and wonderful place!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wonderful staff that are very active in social networking to find homes for their cats. The care they take of their kitties (and the adopters as well) is fantastic. Their thrift store has a wonderful selection of cat and people things. I needed a replacement for my flat screen monitor and found one there at a very reasonable price. We got our current kitty from them and when we have more room, we'll be going back to them for another.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been the sponsor of several special needs cats at the Hermitage. This is a wonderful organization. The staff really care for the cats, and have made great strides in finding forever homes for more and more cats over the years. This is a no kill shelter, they care for cats that can't be adopted as well.
The marketing department at the Hermitage has come up with some very creative strategies over the years. I loved the Cat Camp idea, also the Men who Love Cats Calendar, and the Kitten Shower. The ads for the Thrift Store were excellent too.
Most Pet Rescue organizations are deserving of support, but in my opinion the Hermitage stands out as one of the best. They take excellent care of the cats and their fundraising efforts are creative, humorous, and always upbeat and in good taste.