A local organization that helps find new homes for cats whose senior and terminally ill owners can no longer look after them is celebrating its first anniversary by giving back.
On May 18, 2021, Angela Rafuse launched My Grandfather’s Cat, a registered Canadian charity that’s gone on to be featured in People Magazine.
In an interview with CityNews Halifax, Rafuse reflected on the first year of her organization, noting “it’s been a whirlwind.”
“I still can't believe that this little idea I came up with while living in my parents' basement is now a national registered charity in Canada,” Rafuse said.
To mark the occasion, Rafuse launched a campaign to surprise “ten seniors and terminally ill people across Canada with flowers, chocolates, and balloons,” according to an Apr. 24 press release.
Rafuse isn’t choosing the recipients herself. She’s leaving that up to the community to nominate eligible animal lovers “who they think will benefit from a surprise delivery.”
“It was our way of saying thank you to the community for trusting us wholeheartedly in our first year,” she said.
The organization’s launch coincided with her grandfather's birthday, the same person who gave Rafuse the inspiration to create My Grandfather’s Cat.
It came together due to her experience of giving his pet a second home after he passed away.
Mackenzie, a “grumpy, growly” 14-year old calico, hated everyone except for her owners—Rafuse's grandfather and late grandmother.
“At the time, the only option was to find someone in our family to adopt her or take her to a shelter,” Rafuse said. “I simply didn't have the heart to drop my grandfather's best friend off at a shelter, so I adopted her.”
Now Rafuse is helping give the same opportunity to other pets of people who can no longer take care of them. Over the past year, she has helped more than 40 animals find their second “forever homes.”
The response to the anniversary fundraiser has been strong, Rafuse said, noting that My Grandfather’s Cat received 27 nominations from across the country within the first five days of the campaign.
“Since we simply couldn't choose, we decided to surprise all 27 seniors and terminally ill people, and close nominations until we can raise additional funds to cover more surprises,” she explained.
Rafuse pointed out the organization is volunteer-run, noting her team has dedicated “countless hours” re-homing animals and organizing fundraisers. Her takeaway from the past year is “there are incredibly kind, generous and selfless human beings in this world who are looking to make a difference.”
And it’s the people who give so generously to My Grandfather’s Cat, she says, who “embody that the most.”
Donations can be made at mygrandfatherscat.ca/donate.