Having a pet is a huge blessing for people of all ages, as animals offer comfort, support and unconditional love. Finding your pet soulmate is a great gift, and this type of companionship can be especially important for people who live alone — including seniors.
Pet ownership in the elderly population has been shown to have many benefits, including improved cognitive function, lower blood pressure and a reduction in anxiety and depression, according to the CDC.
With that said, there can be an unfortunate downside for senior citizens owning pets: It is not uncommon for pets to outlive their aging companions. A woman named Angela Rafuse has decided to ease this process for both pets and family members by helping re-home their beloved animal companions.
Ultimately, it was Rafuse’s own experience that triggered her desire to help others. After her 85-year-old grandfather died in a hospital while waiting to be admitted into a retirement home, his cat, Mackenzie, was left without a caretaker. He had postponed putting his name on the wait list because he had been caring for the cat. Because the kitty was known to have a mean disposition, family members hesitated to take her. But Rafuse decided to give the animal a home.
As the pair began to get used to one another and Rafuse shared her story on TikTok, she heard about many seniors who worried about what would happen to their animal companions in similar situations. She recognized there was an opportunity at hand to continue helping others.
It was then that she created the nonprofit, My Grandfather’s Cat. The organization assists people of advanced age in finding new homes for their animals when they are either no longer able to care for their pets or moving into assisted living situations.
In this Facebook post, the nonprofit notes that it helped eight cats get adopted in March.
Through her social media pages, Rafuse places adoption announcements, sharing photos and information about the pets, with the hopes of finding them their new forever homes.
She has garnered a following of more than 62,000 on TikTok, where she regularly shares videos providing details on the animals, their personality traits and what type of person they’d be best suited for.
@mygrandfatherscat Link in bio to learn more ✨🇨🇦 #nonprofit #canada #adoptdontshop #mygrandfatherscat ♬ Run Boy Run – Woodkid
In a February TikTok, she announced that My Grandfather’s Cat had achieved its 100th adoption since it started in May 2021.
@mygrandfatherscat Our 100 adoption 🤍 From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for making this dream a reality. #nonprofit #charity #cattok #adoptdontshop ♬ son original – tswiftmusic
The venture is not only beneficial to seniors but has enriched Rafuse’s life as well.
“It gives me so much purpose in life — and I have an amazing team of volunteers,” she recently told Upworthy.
The process for getting the animals adopted starts with the senior citizens filling out a form with information about their pets, the creation of an online profile and then a series of interviews with potential adoptees. The best part is that the seniors are the ones who choose their pets’ new homes and are allowed to stay in touch with their new families.
It’s a heartwarming win-win for all.