I recently took a much-needed trip to my best friend’s farm – what a departure from the nuttiness around here! Avalo Cat Sanctuary is an official non-Profit (501c3) created to “make the world a better place for Cats through Care , Compassion and Companionship.” Animal lovers of any ilk will appreciate that foundation. ❤
Avalo’s goal is simple:
To be the best guardians possible for domesticated hybrids and small
exotic felines that have particular needs, require medical attention or
can not stay with their human guardian for whatever reason.
I’ve mentioned Avalo before...a few times…and I no doubt will again – it is, always has been, and always will be my second home. The one place I can actually sleep better than when I AM home (which, for me, is incredibly noteworthy!)
My friend Michelle is hands down one of the most amazing people I have ever met – she would feed any of her 114 cats, or 13 horses, before feeding herself…and, minus her husband a student or two, she does this by herself! (She also teaches Parelli Natural Horsemanship, at which she naturally excels, hence the horses!)
While I have no knowledge of the goings on (regarding horsemanship) myself, I am a former competitive figure skater, a competitive ballroom dancer, classically trained / performing ballerina, and a current martial artist and lifter – so I can see the difference(s) a mile away. I see her with her students, and I see her with her horses – it is like watching a dance.
She has no idea that I’m writing about her, by the way…she would never ask. Michelle and I are the kind of people who don’t like pushy individuals – neither of us can stand proselytizing, imposition, or sycophants. But I like to share what she is doing because it is truly, sincerely, AMAZING. And I just had the fortune to be there – at a time when I REALLY needed a break.
Avalo is home to my beautiful F1 Chausie, Kemisi – as mentioned in other posts, I had to rehome her (to my great devastation) along with my male, Khonsu, some years ago. My career in Fashion was soaring…but the more-and-more frequent trips to China were frankly painful for my felines – they wouldn’t eat, they’d get depressed and lethargic…it was awful.
The process of finding the RIGHT guardian(s) was arduous, felt nigh impossible, and is far too complicated to get into here… But let’s just say, Michelle was the light at the end of my tunnel!
Khonsu and Kemisi have an indoor and outdoor enclosure that Michelle and her wonderful husband, Steve, put together. We worked on the outside, which was emotional and fulfilling at the same time – it is a perfect space for them and, minus a few large Southern spiders, I LOVE hanging out in there! 😀
My little man would have been ten and a half – he passed in September last year. Kemisi is also ten and a half, and I was overjoyed to see her – she looks as beautiful as ever. The wonderful thing about the outdoor portion – at Avalo – is that there aren’t just snazzy little bugs flying about, or varying weather to sniff at… There are tons of cats running about! While she is never particularly thrilled – Kemisi always was a bit territorial! – she loves to see who’s running by, and what antics are taking place in neighboring enclosures (with other Chausies and Jungle Cats), or with the outdoor “kids” as they fly by.
I managed to hose down my iPhone while filling Kemisi’s fish pond (fear not, she never troubles the fish, but rather prefers to drink from a pond than a bowl! 😉 ) But in a way, having less connection and down time was a GREAT thing! I have always been a believer that time in Nature is one of the most rejuvenating things a person can do for him or herself – no devices, no social media…just good friends, quiet time, animals…and the natural world around us. It isn’t only for us Empaths and energy people either – I sincerely believe ALL human beings need that “down time.”
I scheduled a bunch a posts prior to leaving…enough to carry me a day or two after I got back. Technology allows us to stay on top of the more hectic Life of 2015, if absolutely necessary…but we can do that without taking away from our recharge time.
Owning and maintaining a farm is HARD work, but for Michelle, taking care of all those animals is her “peaceful time.” Cats are sent to her because they have behavioral issues, injuries that others would euthanize over (I’m sorry, but the handful of three-legged cats around? They are having a BALL – loving Life, enjoying their surroundings, and managing just as well as the others!!)
She also has more hybrids, like my babies, some of whom are larger and unhandleable (There are Asian Leopard Cats, a Serval, a Caraval, Bengals, and other Chausies, as well as a feral cat or two.) But for her, it is a joy – to know she has touched the lives of those animals, and been a guardian to them for whatever time they have, is the biggest gift in the world.
Avalo is a Sanctuary not only for the animals there…but for her…for me…for anyone blessed to spend time there.
And blessed is exactly how I feel when I am there. ❤