Cats Ahoy, Ye Landlubbers

catsahoyI have a horrible secret. Whenever I see pictures of sad-eyed, neglected animals on TV, I flip the channel instantly. I can’t bear to see them without being able to help – and the sort of help I have to give unfortunately isn’t financial (which is what these organizations inevitably always want.)
However, yesterday saw the launch of a completely different type of cat adoption organization. Cats Ahoy is Canada’s first true mobile adoption agency, based in Calgary, Alberta and serving a much wider area. By the time I’d finished browsing Cats Ahoy’s vibrant, upbeat website – and I read every word – I felt proactive, cheered, excited and enthusiastic. I love the way Cats Ahoy focuses on what it can do – not on what it can’t.

And when it can’t, Cats Ahoy just solves the problem. (Their FAQ page alone is probably the most inspiring “can do” manifest I’ve read in years!)

Like the problem of cats fostered in private homes, through rescue facilities that don’t have a “mortars and bricks” building as a base. Traditionally, these animals have a very slim chance of being viewed by the general public, or ever exposed to more than one or two people at a time. Large rescues with solid budgets (usually in the States) sometimes do use mobile vans to take their cats to community events – but Cats Ahoy is the first fully mobile adoption agency to offer to provide a shared store front for other rescues. It offers pick-up and delivery, sanitary conditions are scrupulous, and the focus is on matching the right pet with the right person and making it happen in the most painless way possible for all concerned.

Cats Ahoy also focuses on maximum reciprocity – everyone walks away a winner: volunteers, donors, owners, rescues – and especially the kitties. (How often do you see an animal adoption organization that has a “fun” section on the website?) They offer .PDF guides you can download covering everything from lists of toxic plants to a “quick start” guide with shopping list for your new pet, knitting patterns, pirate hat instructions. Oh, and there’s Captain Sparrowchaser, their flagship cartoon kitty, of course.

Cats Ahoy is the brainchild of world-renowned young Celtic artist, Cari Buziak. Her work was commissioned by the National Archives. She has designed currency for the Isle of Man. TV and radio interviews, wildly popular workshops, a fireplace for Don Henley of  rock band The Eagles, TV/movie designwork, book and CD illustrations – her distinctive works are too numerous to list. But Buziak was not content to sit on her laurels. An innocent volunteer position, dog-walking, a few years ago led to a second paid career with a Calgary animal shelter and a veterinary clinic. During this time, the idea of Cats Ahoy was born.

As of this date, its website is officially open for business. It is a registered not-for-profit society with the Government of Alberta (waiting for its official “registered charity” approval.) Quoting from the site, “all cats who participate in the Cats Ahoy Mobile Adoption program are spayed or neutered, and many are also microchipped and/or tattooed. Each cat has been given at least their initial vaccinations as well, and all have been thoroughly examined by a vet to do everything we can to make sure they’re happy, healthy and ready to go home.”

So what, you may ask, does this have to do with Minkey? Well, let’s just say that if I ever make good on my threat to put him up for adoption (usually while I’m lying on the floor with a broken plant pot scattered around my head and Minkey looking interestedly down at me)… I now know where to send him.

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