Nonprofit, “My Grandfather’s Cat,” Celebrates 100th Adoption!

A 28-year-old Canadian woman who helps seniors rehome their pets has celebrated her 100th animal adoption!

Angela Rafuse was inspired to create a charity benefitting seniors and their pets after her 85-year-old grandpa passed away before he could find a home for his cat, Mackenzie. None of his surviving relations had the ability to take the frightened calico in, so Angela made the decision to adopt the kitty herself.

old man and dog
Photo: Pixabay/JosepMonter

Seniors Living with Pets

Angela moved back home to live with her parents in Halifax, Nova Scotia, after experiencing a painful breakup that left her reeling. When she made the move, Mackenzie came with her.

“I was processing the grief and heartbreak of a breakup and losing my grandfather, but the only options left were taking her to a shelter or me adopting her. I had to take her,” she was reported as saying.

While Mackenzie had a hard time adapting and initially hissed a lot, Angela realized the feline’s behavior was merely the result of fear. It wasn’t too long, however, before the wary cat warmed up to Angela, who showered her with good old-fashioned love and attention to facilitate the adjustment. The experience and transformation propelled Angela to launch her rehoming venture in 2021.

The nonprofit, known as My Grandfather’s Cat, finds suitable homes for dogs and cats belonging to elderly adults who are either terminally ill or facing the prospect of entering retirement homes.

elderly men and cat
Photo: Pixabay/OrnaW

Social Media for Startups

While Angela and Mackenzie lived in her parent’s basement for a year and a half, they started posting TikTok videos. It wasn’t long before they’d racked up 656,000 followers, many of whom commented about their own grandparent’s pets and how they had to go to shelters after their humans passed away.

“It was like a divine intervention. I knew this is what I should do,” Angela said while noting there were so many people in need. “It gives me so much purpose in life — and I have an amazing team of volunteers.”

The launch date of the non-profit had special meaning for Angela, as it was on her late grandfather’s birthday, May 18. To date, 100 pets have found new homes due to her tireless efforts.

elderly man with dog
Photo: Pixabay/sahinsezerdincer

Rehoming Pets

As to how it works, in most cases seniors are referred to My Grandfather’s Cat via care homes or animal shelters. After submitting an application, the charity writes a profile for the pet or pets to post on social media. The next step is to vet interested parties to see if they’re a good fit, but the senior pet owner has the opportunity to interview potential adopters, too. This added screening process likely provides a measure of relief to those facing the wretched task of rehoming their pets.

“The senior then picks their pet’s second forever home, and the adoptees can stay in touch with the new owner who will share updates.” Getting a lump in your throat yet?

senior lady with cat
Photo: Pixabay/StockSnap

Adoption Stories

One case in particular stands out to Angela where she helped a woman dealing with terminal cancer to find arrangements for her two cats.

“We helped her find a new home for her cats, Koko and Lily, and she chose a lovely multi-generational home with two seniors, their daughter, and grandson. She passed away knowing her best friends had the best home.”

It was the last — and understandably the most important — item left on her to-do list.

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