A kind-hearted father named Chris Arsenault is a cat lover who tragically lost his son in a motorcycle accident in 2006. That year, while devastated by the loss of his beloved son, Arsenault came across a colony of stray cats and kittens who were desperate for some help in his neighborhood in Long Island, New York.
Arsenault has always been a cat lover but after losing his son, they became his life.
“I knew there were many others out there like them who needed help too,” Arsenault told The Dodo. “I bought a piece of property in 2007 and went into it full-time.”
Not only did he help these cats recover from their illness, the retired train conductor also converted his home into a tiny shelter for sick stray cats.
He named it Happy Cat Sanctuary
“Most were saved from the streets or brought in from hoarding situations,” Arsenault said. “A very small percentage of our cats are owner surrenders, but it does happen.”
Over the next years, Arsenault took care of nearly 70 injured stray cats at a time. He also helped to find potential pet owners who are willing to adopt the kitties.
About two years ago, an anonymous person donated $200,000 to the shelter, which allowed Arsenault to expand the facility to allow a much bigger space for more cats who needed help. Today, there are around 300 cats living in the sanctuary, which already has multiple heated or air-conditioned smaller huts.
“It’s so big that even if a cat isn’t that fond of others’ company, he can claim whichever area he likes as his own,” Arsenault said. “The most important thing to me is that they’re comfortable and that everything is kept clean.”
Arsenault is not alone in his cause, he has several employees that help him clean out litter boxes and water dishes at the end of each day. Every morning, they feed the cat early at around 7 or 8 AM and spend time with them to make sure they get everything they need.
“They get so excited when I come in in the mornings,” Arsenault said. “We have a great system and everybody waits very patiently.”
“When we take a cat in, I know there’s a chance that they may be here for the rest of their days,” Arsenault said. “But that’s OK.”
“When we do get calls about kittens, I take them in until they’re adopted out,” Arsenault said. “We work with All About Cats in Freeport to handle all of our adoptions.”
“When you love animals, it’s so worth it,” Arsenault said. “It’s really rewarding being able to just see the cats happy and healthy climbing around on tree structures or basking in the sun. That’s how nature intended. Giving them a good life and a safe place to live — can’t ask for anything better.”
The stray cats helped him go through the healing process smoothly, and they completely changed his life.
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H/T: The Dodo