Adopted two cats from WHCP. I had a wonderful experience. All volunteer run. It is obvious everyone there is passionate about their work!
It's truly heartbreaking to see people posting negative reviews. While I believe everyone is entitled to an option , I also believe that many of those people have not see the dedication the compassion and the 24/7 care put into this rescue. The owner has given up her home and privacy to dedicated herself to the cats and kittens . The amount of heart and soul put into the shelter by the owner and the volunteers is something truly amazing. When you attack someone's life's work , someone who has helped thousands of cats and kittens and also the community it says more about you. The shelter is a 501c3 NON-PROFIT no kill rescue funded by donation and fundraising events. Guess what? Cats pee and poop and it's going to smell the same way it does when you do!but every single cat and kitten that goes into the care of WHCP is treated with unconditional love and support and properly cared for. There will always be a people who are not happy with the outcome of things but this place always goes above and beyond. I myself can't even begin to Imagine what it's like having so many people in and out of my home day and night with the phone ringing and emails pouring through. I would probably have bad days too where , just like anyone else would! I am truly blessed to have such an outstanding organization in my home town . I am in aw of the community of people/volunteers that dedicate their free time to help out in any way they can, and I am blow away by the women who's poured her heart and soul into caring for so many innocent life's.
Review from Guidestar
I have adopted cats twice from this wonderful rescue shelter and am currently running a Facebook fundraiser to help them. I can't say enough good things about the Westfield Homeless Cat Project rescue shelter, the volunteers, the facilities, the physical organization, entire operation -- but most of all about the fierce dedication, protectiveness, selflessness and love with which Denise Sinico runs this non-profit. She takes in and seeks out cats and kittens that are abandoned, abused or unwanted. She not only gives them a clean shelter with comfortable bedding and food and water, but also has each cat examined by a veterinarian, nursed back to optimal health when necessary, given the full range of cat inoculations, and spayed or neutered prior to adoption. And then she goes through the arduous process of finding and vetting potential adoptive "forever homes" for each and every cat. All this requires a tremendous amount of work and love for the animals.
I am really upset by some of the truly ignorant reviews that I have read here, some containing outright lies about the good work and service that the WHCP is providing to the cats and consequently to the community. It seems that there are certain people who will sit behind a computer anonymously and have no compunction about lying and exaggerating anonymously. But this is not politics. This is a charity that directly affects the entire lives of unfortunate cats and kittens. There are many people who end up "butt hurt" when they are refused by Denise to adopt a cat at the WHCP. And there is always a very good reason.
I've read several complaints in other reviews here about the extensive adoption application questions and procedures that Denise requires. This is about the welfare and protection of the animals, period; it's not like picking out a toy for someone's child that can be tossed aside after the novelty wears off. When I adopted my cats from the WHCP I was grateful for the careful screening process because my intent was to rescue and give love to a needy cat, not just to have a "possession." It wasn't all about about me.
A couple of people said in their reviews that they took a cat to a veterinarian who said they had never seen the cat before, implying Denise of lying about the vet care given prior to adoption. What they *didn't* say is that the new parent of every cat that is adopted out by the WHCP is given a certificate for one free veterinarian visit and exam after the adoption. This veterinarian is not necessarily the same one who examined and treated the cat for the WHCP after its rescue; they use several different veterinarians who work closely with the charity.
I want to add that I have absolutely no connection to the Westfield Homeless Cat Project other than having adopted cats from them and seeing firsthand the tremendous work that they do for these animals.
Just one other thing regarding the incredibly ignorant review trashing Denise because she will not let anyone adopt a cat who intends to have it declawed. Declawing is a convenience for the human and is cruel to the cat. I never understood this until I actually researched and learned what is actually involved in the procedure. It's not like trimming your fingernails -- or even pulling out your fingernails! When a cat is declawed it is the equivalent of having all your fingers cut off at the knuckles. The bone is cut through. It is a very painful process for the cats; this is why declawing is illegal in most countries around the world including all of the European Union, The UK, Australia as well as in many cities and localities in the United States. Most veterinarians in the U.S. won't do a cat declawing. So please don't trash a wonderful and loving cat rescue service and shelter as the WHCP because they hurt your feelings by not letting you adopt a cat to mutilate for your convenience.
God bless the Westfield Homeless Cat Project and God bless Denise Sinico and all her staff of volunteers for the selfless work that they do 24/7 in rescuing and protecting all those cats and kittens.
Review from Guidestar
We approached this group in Sept 2015 as we were looking to add to our family. My son and I went in and, yes, we had to fill out an application before we were able to look around where the cats were housed. It was set up in the garage, but the air conditioner was running. There were a few adult cats there and we spoke to a very kind and knowledgeable volunteer. We did not leave with a cat, but decided we were interested in adopting two kittens instead of an older cat. All the cats we had adopted elsewhere in the past were adult cats and we decided we wanted to add kittens to our group of three middle-aged cats. We kept in touch with the owner and continued to monitor their website for availability.
We heard about a litter of motherless kittens that were being fostered outside of the shelter setting. It turns out that some volunteers do foster pregnant mothers (and later their kittens) or even older cats until they are ready for adoption. The foster mother of these four motherless kittens spoke with me and she offered to bring the litter of five week-old kittens to visit us at our home. We went into a room where we could play with the kittens while talking with the volunteer. She was very kind and knowledgeable. She pointed out which kittens were most bonded with each other. She let my son bottle feed two of the kittens that we agreed were best suited for our home. We talked about how to care for young kittens and how to integrate them into the family of older cats. She left with the kittens as they needed more time to mature and we stayed in touch for the next few weeks. She notified us when they were ready and we met her at the shelter to complete the final paperwork.
People here have commented on the gruff personality of the owner of the operation. I have been following this group closely now for the past two years and I have had several opportunities to be in touch with Denise. She is completely devoted and competent to run this operation. She does scrutinize people closely because she is invested in placing the cats in situations where they will be well-cared for and less likely to end up on her doorstep or worse. She and her volunteers have rushed into situations, no matter the hour or the weather, to save kittens and cats. They have encountered severely abused and neglected cats. Hearing some of the stories, I understand how one might start to be bitter toward people and wary of their intentions. Yes, I felt my feathers ruffled a bit at times by Denise, but the bigger picture is her absolute goal to have successful adoptions. Adopting a cat or kitten is the beginning of a life-long commitment. The volunteers have gotten to know the adult cats, all cats have been examined and treated by Vets in the area. They decide that some cats should be adopted into situations where they are the only cat or pet or perhaps the cat is best suited to be in a mature household where there are no children. They definitely look for inside only cat placements. I would say they are opposed to declawing. It is their right and their responsibility to choose where the cats and kittens go. Take your time when adopting an animal, be compassionate for what this owner and these volunteers do to ensure the health and safety for their animals.
A family member in desperation had to surrender her cats. She called Westfield Homeless Cat Project on my recommendation as I have donated to this center and thought they could help her. They were very rude to her and said they would not help her or take her cats unless she payed them 1000.00. I will never donate to this facility again.
I went there to donate cat food, which I have done before by just usually leaving it o the doorstep, but this particular day was an adoption day. I was quite impressed with how clean and organized the garage space was. No smell of urine at all which is amazing when you have all those cats. The woman was very nice to me even though I did not adopt anyone. I give people like this a lot of credit dedicating their time, money and love to help these great little pets. I am hope to be able to do something like this myself someday...if I ever buy a house, that is. I like the fact that they are so particular about who they let adopt because there are a lot of sick people out in the world who will lie to get their hands on a pet. So please don't be offended. There are plenty of other facilities that will let you adopt I'm sure. They also have helped me trap and release a few ferel cats in my neighborhood which helps tremendously with the cat population . I truly wish people would think more carefully when the get a cat and decide not to take care of it or dump it. It' s just wrong. Would you do that to your child? I think no. Thanks again to the HCP, you truly are a God send.
I went to adopt a kitten. I liked their vetting process, and as far as keeping sick and well animals apart, they did a good job and were very organized. I know the vets who treat their animals, as I saw that someone said they ended up with an ill cat. The owner is very protective of the cats and selective, and that may put some people off (she is abrupt) but clearly the goal is caring well for the cats and finding them appropriate homes. I recommend them to anyone without reservation
I adopted 2 cats from these folks after they ran a fundraising event at a local lawn and garden shop. I have never seen their main facility. They had many cages set up and two women running the event, who were very kind and helpful at the time. They gave me an "on the spot" discount because my son and his girlfriend badgered me into getting 2 cats (when I only wanted the one!). Both cats were healthy. I had been under the impression that they were checked out by the vet up by the high school, but when I took them there for a check up, they said they had never seen them before, so I guess I was mistaken. But they were fine. We had Max for 8 years, and he just passed away last summer from a liver ailment. Sylvester is still doing well. He's moved to Florida, and is fat and happy.
I adopted a cat from them and didn't have the bad experience other people described. However, I did end up with a sick cat and this was not disclosed to me. They told me they took her to the vet and she got a clean bill of health. When I took her to the same vet after I adopted her, they said they had never seen her and she seemed very sick. She has blood in her eyes and might have a thyroid problem. She also had a rotting tooth that needs to come out. I will save her life and do whatever needs to be done for me but I don't understand why they do note the poor health of some cats but were sketchy about my cat. It makes me wonder if they (or the vet) accidentally harmed her and didn't want to fess up to it so they just tossed her to me and hoped I wouldn't notice. They also starved her because she had lost 3 lbs since she was rescued, according to the vet. They were feeding her canned food but she doesn't like canned food so they let her starve because of their fear of dry food. I think other people had better experiences but I think they did something wrong when it came to my cat and tried to cover it up.
I tried to work with this agency as a cat/kitten foster parent with skills with feral animals during the summer of 2015 when there was an local news article about a large number of abandoned kittens and cats. I left multiple messages which were never returned. I emailed. No response. Finally after many phone calls I spoke with Denise who was angry, antagonistic, denied they had taken custody of a large group of abandoned cats (whose pictures were on websites and in a local news article), and said they needed no help from the "likes of me." I had sent her the link to the news article and again she denied any involvement.She also denied having received any earlier messages and implied I made the whole thing up. Months later after seeing another advertisement I tried again. Same angry response. Wouldn't advise trying to help or work with them.
Review from Guidestar
I have adopted previous from Denise and had several different interactions with her. She has truly turned her own home into a shelter for these cats. For those of you who have been denied a cat sorry but she puts her heart into what she does and wants the very best for these cats. She goes above and beyond in her role of of running her shelter. She is honest and will bend over backwards to help you!
Thank you Denise for what you do!
I went with my family to get a cat. We were shooed out of the garage and told we had to complete an application first. Sat down in the hallway to do that, then was shown three or four cats. Each time I expressed an interest in a cat, word was passed that that cat had already been adopted. Left without a cat. Later I emailed to ask about a specific cat I wanted to adopt and was told it was already adopted. Then more emails accusing me of wanting only declawed cats (which I had not indicated at all), and then more emails refusing me any adoptions at all because they thought I would take a cat and then declaw it. ??? I agree that declawing is not something I would think would be right to do to an animal, but the people at this facility are very judgmental and discriminatory. I have children. So does the majority of the population. You can't reject people who want to adopt a cat just because they are part of a family or have a family. I seriously question the sanity of the lady who runs this facility. She is rude and makes unfounded accusations with no provocation. I think it's a power trip for her, and I feel badly for the cats who lose out on good homes.
I have been fostering kittens for this organization for over a year. When I decided to become a foster parent for cats, I chose this organization because they are an absolutely bare-bones, all-volunteer, no-kill rescue. They are completely dependent on volunteers and donations from the community and receive no government or grant funding. Other reviewers commented on the smell of urine and the fact that the shelter is a garage, suggesting that the cats do not receive quality care or that the director is simply a hoarder. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I think that people often expect a large and expensive facility, with paid staff and do not realize that the organization basically consists of one woman who has given her life to rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming cats, along with a number of dedicated volunteers. It is not a luxurious place, but this does not mean that the cats do not receive exceptional care, which they do. The urine smell (which admittedly can be strong, especially on hot days, is from the bedding that is constantly being changed and is set aside to be washed. Again, they do the best they can with the resources they have, meaning that they rely on volunteers to come pick up laundry to wash and return. Many animals are, as noted, "sickly," but that is because they often arrive on death's doorstep and must be nursed back to health. It is amazing and moving to see some of the cats when they first arrive and then again a few weeks later after they have received excellent (and often very expensive) care. As a foster parent, I am constantly stopping by without notice to pick up supplies, medicine, etc., and can attest to how well-cared for the cats are at any given moment. The director will stop what she is doing at any moment to do whatever needs to be done for any cat or kitten in the shelter's care. Potential adopters are screened carefully and cats are only adopted to people who can provide quality homes. It is important to note that the mission of WHCP is not to make people happy by providing them with a pet; it is to provide good homes for all of the cats in their care. An adopter who is turned down may be offended, but that has no bearing on the quality of the shelter. If people would like to see a better facility or never have to experience the smells of laundry waiting to be washed, they should volunteer or donate. It is amazing what this shelter does with their limited resources, and could do so much more with additional volunteers and finances.
We recently had a cat pass away due to old age and our other cat has been feeling rather lonely. We saw that there were cats up for adoption and we drove out to Westfield to see what was available to bring in to our family. When we arrived at the rather nondescript house on East Mountain Rd., we were immediately given an extensive application for adoption before being allowed to see the cats. The smell of cat urine in the vestibule was overpowering. After filling out the application, the volunteer on-hand looked it over and we were ushered out of the house immediately because we had marked down that we de-claw our cats. Our household has de-clawed our cats for generations and none of them have shown any ill psychological effects. They are loving and friendly, and we do it because we wish to limit the transmission of diseases due to inadvertent scratches. However the volunteer went on a tirade of the horrors of the de-clawing process and implied that I was an unfit cat parent. They did not allow me to see what conditions the cats were in, though I could see that the cages were stowed away in the garage. I felt that their criticism of me was ironic, given that it obvious due to the odor that the cats were not being terribly well-cared for. I was very unimpressed with their institution.
I went to check it out, spoke with the lady, Denise. The shelter had no proper sign out front, no indication which door to go in, and once inside a tiny hall, no sign for which of the three doors where it was. She was talking to a customer behind one door so I followed the sound. The room was a large garage, smell was overpowering, and all cats were in cages. There must have been four or five cats, a couple of kittens. Many looked sick, some had signs saying not adoptable, sick etc. These were not the same 31 cats listed on the website. Once she learned that I had children, she assumed wrongly that I wanted a kitten, but said none were available...then suggested only one other cat, which I did not want because it was male. During this conversation she did all the talking, apologized for the mess, said her housecleaner was due, then joked about the cats spraying everywhere, commenting "why do they do that, anyway?" I left feeling deflated somehow, without a cat. I am sure she is a nice person, and the work is hard and unremunerated...but....
Review from Guidestar
I checked "donor" because I have become one, but only after seeing firsthand what amazing things the all-volunteer Westfield HCP does every day of the year, and on a shoestring. The shelter is comfortable, heated and air - conditioned, and every prospective adopter is screened carefully. Cats and kittens who arrive with medical issues receive immediate veterinary care, and local veterinarions will attest to the wonderful work this no-kill shelter does. I know that our town relies heavily on their help. These kitties receive loving care and individual attention every day while waiting for their forever homes. Kudos!
My kids and my self drove a long way to Westfield to get a kitten because their Web site advertised that they had kittens. When we got their we were told that in fact there was one kitten and it was not ready to go and she does not update her Web Site. I was so angry that my time and gas to get there was so easily dismissed. When I spoke up she told me to get out!!! and Leave as she shooed her hands at me. I walked the kids to the car. I went back in to give her a piece of my mind. That's when two of them cornered me and started to yell to GET out!!!! One of them was two inches off my face yelling . The only way to leave was to push through them. That's when one of them SHOVED Me HARD as I went by. I called the police on these ladies. There is something really wrong and a mist here. I believe the lady who wrote the story about not having head in the garage. THEY NEED TO BE SHUT DOWN!!!!! Does any one know how we can do it?
Perhaps things have changed since the previous poor review was written. I was just there yesterday, which happened to be a very hot and humid day, and the shelter (two car garage) WAS air conditioned. Denise Sinico is the most caring and dedicated cat rescuer I know. I've dealt with other larger shelters and she, by far, has surpassed my expectations in every aspect including how quickly she responds to the needs of cats. She and her staff of volunteers have gone above and beyond to assist in the aide of any/all felines in need.
Denise has done an amazing job in turning HER HOME into a safe haven for lost or abandoned cats and I commend her. She doesn't have the luxury of a large and fancy facility like other larger shelters in this area.
You're correct on one point.....if she feels an adoption home will not be in the best interest of the cat, she will deny the adoption which she should. Sure, she could allow anyone to adopt to create revenue for her organization, but that's not what she's all about. She truly cares about the welfare and life of each and every cat in her shelter and will stop at nothing to protect them. There are too many irresponsible pet owners in this country, so we need more people like Denise.
So, kudos to you, Denise Sinico....Keep up the great work. Cat lovers in this area would be lost without you! READERS, PLEASE DONATE TO THIS NP ORGANIZATION.
The woman, Denise, who runs this is a hoarder. She keeps the animals in the garage in cages year round with no heat or ac when needed. Most look sickly. She also refuses cats to people for no good reason. I know someone who she refused a cat to because she said "a child can't have a cat, it will kill it" and recently a friend tried to adopt a cat and she flat out told them no they couldn't adopt a cat in time for christmas. I have been by there to donate food because I felt so bad for the animals.
Review from Guidestar