NJ cat sanctuary expands to welcome a unique class of felines
🐈Tabby's Place: A Cat Sanctuary celebrated the grand opening of Quinn's Corner
🐈Quinn's Corner is dedicated to mostly cats with feline leukemia
🐈Tabby's Place cares for cats, many special needs in hopeless situations
RINGOES — Tabby’s Place: A Cat's Sanctuary just celebrated 20 years of rescuing cats from hopeless situations.
It is a cage-free sanctuary located at 1100 Route 202 in Ringoes, East Amwell Township, for cats who have nowhere else to turn, and who mainly have special needs, said Development Director, Angela Townsend.
Tabby’s Place has room for between 100 and 115 cats at any given time, she said. Nearly all the cats are up for adoption. If not, they have a home for life at the sanctuary, where they are cared for and loved.
“Since 2003, we are known worldwide for taking cats that no one else has the capacity to take,” Townsend said.
That could be cats who are paraplegic who need their bladders expressed by a highly trained staff multiple times a day. It might be cats who have diabetes, which is a manageable but daunting condition. It may also be cats who have cancer or behavior conditions, which might be challenging for adopters.
But most of the cats are “normal” healthy felines who simply ran out of time in desperate circumstances.
Another condition that often plagues these cats is feline leukemia (FeLV), a highly-contagious diagnosis, that often leaves cats with few options.
For 20 years, Tabby’s Place has been the world’s haven for cats in hopeless situations, but Townsend said FeLV is so easily transmitted and poorly understood, not even Tabby’s Place had the capability to house these cats.
FeLV spreads through friendly contact between cats like grooming and sharing water bowls. In a shelter or sanctuary environment, the condition spreads easily. Specialized housing is needed to ensure these affected cats don’t spread it to healthy cats.
“Part of the frustration with the disease is that cats can live a decade or more healthy wonderful lives with it or they can succumb very quickly. It’s difficult to predict the course of the disease in any given cat,” Townsend said. It suppresses their immune system, which for some cats that cause hardly any problems, but for others it can be catastrophic.
To take in these cats opens adopters up to heartbreak and taking a chance, she said.
Feline leukemia and a little kitten named Quinn are the two main inspirations behind Quinn’s Corner.
The grand opening of Quinn’s Corner, an expansion of Tabby’s Place happened in October 2023.
Townsend said for years, Tabby’s Place grieved because it could not take care of cats with feline leukemia.
One day about eight years ago, Tabby’s Place staff found a little kitten face down in the snow. She seemed frozen beyond the ability to recover. But she did recover, only to test positive for FeLV, Townsend said.
Remember, Tabby’s Place was not in a position to take a cat in her condition, but they refused to turn her away. So, the sanctuary created a private suite for “Quinn,” where she was lavished with love, Towsend explained.
Along came a woman who told the sanctuary she wanted to adopt “the cat at Tabby’s Place who is the hardest to adopt.”
The woman was introduced to Quinn and was warned about Quinn’s condition. But that did not matter to this woman. She wanted to give Quinn a chance. Well, Quinn lived for months. She lived for years. (In fact, she is still thriving 8 years after her FeLV diagnosis).
Townsend said the woman returned to Tabby’s Place to tell them that Quinn changed her life. Since she was blessed financially, she offered to make a sizable donation so the sanctuary could expand and cats like Quinn with FeLV can have a home, and a chance to survive.
Thanks to her selfless gift, the idea of an expansion was entertained, and Quinn’s Corner is now the result, a place devoted to mostly cats with FeLV.
“We now have wonderful, thriving cats with feline leukemia living in our expansion. We’ve already had seven or eight of them adopted. It is just the triumph of love,” Townsend said.
Since the grand opening of Quinn’s Corner, it’s been extraordinary to see these cats live the lives that nobody thought they could, she added.
“We hope that by having such a significant population of feline leukemia cats, it will also help to further understand of the condition and maybe help folks to open their hearts to them, as so many adopters have already done,” Townsend said.
Quinn's portrait also hangs up in Quinn's Corner as a reminder that with love, miracles can happen.
How can the public help?
There are three ways the public can help Tabby’s Place and Quinn’s Corner continue to operate for years and years to come.
As simple as it sounds, monetary donations are Tabby’s Place greatest needs. Townsend said the sanctuary’s greatest expense is always medical care for these cats. Every donation is truly a life-saving act of love, she said.
Folks can sign up to sponsor a cat. So, if they are not in a position to take a special needs cat home, they can still kind of “adopt” that cat. They’ll get updates and photos on their cat every month. Their donation will help Tabby’s Place nurture that cat, and give the animal the world-class medical care that they need, Townsend said.
But adoption is always a very important part of how people can help. Whether it’s a cat with special needs or not, the sanctuary’s residents are all yearning for that “furever” home.
“As happy as life is at Tabby’s Place, there’s nothing like having your own person or family. So, we’re always looking to pair folks up with the cat that was meant to be theirs,” Townsend said.