How we started

All because of a kitten …                   

“I have been asked recently by several people how I came to start Cats Haven. It’s a long story, but here it is.

Over 30 years ago, I was working at a vet clinic and my daughter was working at a restaurant nearby. When my daughter and I came home from work one afternoon we found a group of young boys in my yard. They stated that they had seen a young kitten in my yard dragging her back legs. We all looked for the kitten and did not find it. I just thought they had seen a kitten playing in the grass and it had left. Later that evening my daughter thought she heard a kitten crying. We went outside and found a tiny black and white kitten under a bush near the front door. The wee one was dragging her back legs and was very hungry. We already had a cat of our own so we had the necessary supplies. I noticed the kitten was a girl. Next morning the kitten went to work with me. Dr. T thought she may have been bumped by a car. Her bladder was also quite full and she couldn’t use the litter box on her own. Dr. T showed me how to express her and sent home meds to help what he thought could be inflammation around the spinal cord. Dr. T  believed that with cage rest she would be in good shape in 3 to 4 weeks. I named her Phoenix because I thought she would walk again. Well, after a month Phoenix still couldn’t use her back legs or use the litter box. Dr. T took an x-ray. Since she was so small her whole body fit on the x-ray plate. Sad to say, she had a BB in her spine at the T2/T3 junction and would never walk. Dr. T said he would understand if I decided to euthanize her. I couldn’t do that.  She was bouncy, fearless and had no clue there was anything wrong with her. At that point, I tried to find a rescue/shelter or foster based group that would take her. Not one group would even offer any words of hope. They all said to go ahead and have her euthanized. They said that kittens are everywhere and I should just get another one.. I have no pictures of Phoenix.

Then I learned that older cats, special needs cats and kittens were routinely euthanized because no one gave them value. That shook my heart and soul to hear this. Word got out among other vet clinics that I had the “touch” with special need kittens/cats and broken hearted seniors that had been tossed away. Thus, because of a black and white kitten named Phoenix who couldn’t use her back legs,  Cats Haven was born. Phoenix crossed at the age of 12 years. I had no real idea of what I was doing, but I knew that I wanted a home setting for the cats and kittens. Cages were to be used only when needed unless kittens were too young to be out with adult cats, illness, quarantine and for cats from terrible circumstances who consider their cage a safe place with plenty of food, I always say that this is not the path I choose – it chose me. My hope had been to live in the country after my daughter was raised and concentrate on my art and maybe have 2 or 3 cats to keep me company. (On a side note I am allergic to cats). I do have nights of doubt and worry – especially about the amount of money it takes to keep everything going. However, my commitment to the cats and kittens of Cats Haven has never wavered. People learned of Cats Haven and our mission touched hearts.  People believe in our mission that special need cats, kittens and the sweet seniors lives matter. Our wonderful support staff and our dedicated volunteers give of their time and hearts because the cats and kittens matter greatly to them as well.

Cats Haven has existed for over 30 years because of people like you.”

– Barbara Wills, Cats Haven Founder




“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”   Aesop