cat facts, donation information, funny, love, shelter information, Uncategorized, volunteers

A day in the life of a Shelter Cat

Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of a Shelter Cat is like? Well, if you think we are stuck in cages – you are sooo wrong! At El Refugio‘s shelter it is really more like a sanctuary. You don’t believe me? Okay then, find a sunny spot to cuddle up with your favorite feline, and I’ll fill you in on shelter life.

Since I am adopted now (oh, I really love my new home!), I would like to introduce you to my guest feline writer today “Papaya“. She is a beauty isn’t she? I still have a cat crush on her (don’t tell her though, I am shy – lol). Isn’t she just the cat’s meow!!!

Alright Papaya, I’m all cuddled up with my favorite human and ready to hear all about El Refugio’s beautiful sanctuary (let’s be sure to chat later to hear all about the latest catnip at the shelter).

I love cuddling next to my human (purrrrrrr)

Thanks Norman, you really put me in a purr mood when I heard your handsome meows. We miss you at the shelter. I especially miss you since you know how I am shy and sometimes the younger cats pick on me. No worries, I can handle them, but I do miss our afternoon catnaps together (sigh). Okay, let’s talk “a day in the life of a shelter cat.”

First off, Norman wasn’t kitten around, we really don’t live in cages. And, we never call them cages any who, the ones we have at the shelter are called “cat condos”. While there are some cat condos inside the shelter, these are reserved for cats with special needs. For example, like pretty Priscilla who was found at the beach with a broken leg. (Who would do such a thing to a baby kitten!!) She stayed in a cat condo until her leg was healed, and now she is running around having a blast with the other kittens and cats.

Baby Priscilla

Another reason the condos are used are when cats and kittens are found in the streets or dropped off at the shelter. To protect the rest of us cats, the new cats and kittens need to be in quarantine for awhile just to make sure they are healthy. And, the last reason I can think of, is when we have a new mama cat and kittens that need some time on their own until the babies are big enough to be away from their mama. Or, the mama just needs some time away from her babies to rest. If you are a mama, you definitely know what I am talking about here!!!

So, at the El Refugio shelter, we live in an open space where we can roam free in three big rooms. We have cat trees throughout the space and toys and shelves with warm, cozy blankets to lay on.

Who brought the cardboard box? FUN!!!
We have the BEST cat trees!

We even have giant, funny humans to play with us. Sometimes, they are better than toys. They really do make us felines laugh. We even have a human (we call her Tia Karol) who we LOVE SO MUCH that stays most nights at the shelter to just make sure everything is going okay. Although, I hear it is to watch over the canines in the back. Us felines are angels, right?

Tia Karol

The giant humans (I’ve heard them called shelter volunteers too) arrive in the early morning and do all the dirty work (ha ha). First thing they do is feed us (thank goodness) and then they clean our litter boxes, the floors, the blankets, and they make sure the place is super clean (for us to mess up again lol). After the cleaning is done, they sit with us and let us walk and hang all over them. They also play with us. I sometimes overhear them talk about their own lives but I do NOT ease drop (oh boy, Norman, I have some catnip for you later!!).

After playtime with the giant humans, us cats have our catnaps, and when we wakeup, another set of giant humans are here again for more cleaning, playing, and thankfully more feeding! Now, you might be wondering, what happens when the giants aren’t visiting with us, especially when it is dark out and the humans are sleeping? Well, have you ever heard the ‘ole saying “when the humans are away, cats play”? I haven’t either, but it is true!!

One time, the giant humans forgot to put away a roll of paper towels. Oh boy, was that a night of fun! My kitty lips are sealed on who started it (Keylor), but the ripping, the rolling, the tearing, of that yummy paper towel, FURTASTIC! You know, cats are skilled paper shredders! The cats were in cat heaven for hours. Just look at this picture I took of them (for possible catmailing purposes later – lol).

Paper towel Party!

Most nights though, we just visit with each other, give each other baths, and sleep. I read in one of Norman’s blogs, cats sleep about 12-16 hours a day and kittens up to 20 hours a day (wow me-ow!). So, while some nights we are having extra fun with a paper towel roll or chasing an unlucky bug, most nights we are sleeping, dreaming, and waiting for our human to come find us.

Even though we aren’t in our forever homes (yet!), we are lucky to be living in such a beautiful cat sanctuary. Alright Norman, back to you my love! Norman, WAKE UP!

Okay Papaya, I’m awake!

Thanks Papaya for that very interesting catnip. My human says the reason I am really socialized and a wonderful cat is because of living at the El Refugio shelter and learning how to play with other cats and the giant humans. I must agree!

If you haven’t already, please go visit the El Refugio shelter and see for yourself the uniqueness of the space. It really is more like a cat sanctuary. I know they also need more donations to help keep the shelter running smoothly. Now, I must go catnap with my Purrfect feline love Papaya. As always, thanks for reading my blog.



Your cat will never threaten your popularity by barking at three in the morning. He won’t attack the mailman or eat the drapes, although he may climb the drapes to see how the room looks from the ceiling.

Helen Powers

Don’t forget to spay & neuter your cats & dogs.  There can be too much of a good thing!  There’s only so much catnip to go around. 

Cats and wildlife live longer when cats stay indoors. 


Keylor at El Refugio Costa Ballena, Costa Rica

Keylor puts the “K” in Cheeky!

Keylor is a young adult male cat. He is full of energy and gets along well with other cats. As soon as you walk into the shelter, he comes to say hi. He would love to meet you and bring fun into your life.

success story, Uncategorized, volunteers

I knew it would happen!!!

Well, I told you in my very first blog post that I would get adopted – and yes, I never lie – I was adopted!

Now, don’t worry, as I said before, I will still be visiting the shelter with my human eyes (I can’t believe I have my furever human now!); and I have my shelter furry friends who are reporting to me with every exciting purrtastic happening at the shelter.

My foxy human – ME-OW AND DOUBLE ME-OW WOW

Now, I’ll be writing at my very own desk, with my very own lazy cat chair and my very own cat sofa. I don’t even have to share the litter box anymore – thank the lord!! I have my very own scratching posts now too – did you hear me – THREE scratching posts. And my very own dogs – well, they aren’t trained yet, but we are working on it.

Sometimes the drawer is a better place to be creative
A great view of my human as she works and I take a catnap

Sometimes litter boxes are best for a head rest

Did you know, I was the oldest cat at the shelter – over 2 years old! I was abandoned as a kitten at a bus stop – can you believe it? Thankfully I was rescued by a wonderful El Refugio volunteer and brought to the El Refugio Shelter where I waited two years for my foxy human to come find me. Now, as I lay on my cat sofa while my human scratches my ear, I gaze out at the Costa Rica mountains and think to myself, what a Purrfect life it is.

Now humans, go adopt yourself a shelter cat. There is one waiting especially for you. Don’t make him wait as long as I had to wait – did you hear me say I waited two years!! By adopting a shelter cat, you will gain a furever friend and save a furry feline’s life too. What a PURRfect life it will be for you!

Stay tuned, in my next blog post we will rock the world in a tuxedo.



“What greater gift than the love of a cat. – Charles Dickens”

Don’t forget to spay & neuter your cats & dogs.  There can be too much of a good thing!  There’s only so much catnip to go around. 

Cats and wildlife live longer when cats stay indoors. 


Hunter at El Refugio Animal Shelter in Costa Ballena, Costa Rica

Hi, my name is Hunter. My shelter mates call me cool, and the shelter female felines call me James Bond. I’m one cool cat! I’m around 2 years old and want to finally be with my furever human. Let’s meet soon. Cheers, Hunter

love, success story, Uncategorized, volunteers

Shelter Volunteers are angels in disguise

In today’s blog, I am interviewing a beautiful shelter volunteer named Jennifer. So go find your favorite corner (Norman’s Corner!), curl up with your favorite furry purring friend, and get ready to be a little educated and a lot entertained or was that a little entertained and a lot educated. Well, anyways, enjoy!

Jennifer with her dog Grizzly. She adopted him from El Refugio.

Norman: Hi Jennifer, thanks for agreeing to sit with me. Before we get started, can you please scratch behind my right ear for just a moment, one moment longer, purr


Jennifer: Norman, Norman, are you asleep?

Norman: Sorry, just needed a little catnap. Okay, first question, who is your favorite cat here at the shelter – hint, hint, starts and ends with an “N”.

Jennifer: Ah, Norman?

Norman: Me? Oh, aren’t you sweet! Who is your second favorite cat – and why? Sorry, it can’t be me again.

Jennifer: Majica is my favorite cat right now. Her back legs are paralyzed but that doesn’t stop her from enjoying life. She scoots around pretty fast for food, to play with toys and other cats and to get love from volunteers.


Norman: I was told I have to ask this next question… Who is your favorite Dog at the Shelter now and why?

Jennifer: My favorite dog currently is Lily a lively beagle. She arrived at the shelter with some medical conditions and her puppy that was just recently adopted. She loves to play with her doggie friends, but especially loves humans and receiving their love.


Norman: How long have you been volunteering at the El Refugio Shelter?

Jennifer: I have volunteered at El Refugio since around January 17th of this year.

Norman: What time do you start and end your shift?

Jennifer: I start my shift at 8am and finish at 11am.

Norman: What do you do on your shift at El Refugio?

Jennifer:  Responsibilities at the shelter are shared each shift with one or more other volunteers. We feed all the animals, give meds if needed, clean/disinfect all areas where the animals live, walk the dogs, wash all dirty bedding and food bowls and then give lots of love to the animals.

Norman: What do you like the most about volunteering? How about the second most?

Jennifer: I love all animals so helping them in any way I can fills my heart with joy. My second favorite thing is meeting and becoming good friends with so many of the volunteers.

Norman: Who really gets on your cat nerves? Yeah, I probably shouldn’t ask that (tell me later). Let’s see, next question, don’t those dogs outside just drive you crazy? (okay, maybe I shouldn’t ask that either). Oh, here’s a good question, If you could be any type of cat, what would you be?

Jennifer: I think I would like to be a Siamese cat. I had one named Tinker when I was a little girl. She had the neatest personality and was very smart.

Norman: Last question, what does El Refugio need the most? Volunteers, catnip, money, catnip, fosters, catnip?

Jennifer: Catnip of course, but I would say  El Refugio needs all of the above plus more adopters!

Norman: Tell me about a recent adoption success story (I know there are so many).

Jennifer: I’ll tell you in a video. Here is one of my Favorite Success Stories at El Refugio. Here is a little more information on Canela.

Norman: Thank you so much Jennifer for this interview. You have been purrfectly awesome!

Can you believe how lucky Jennifer and the other shelter volunteers are to be spending time with us cats (and dogs too). All kitten aside, the El Refugio volunteers (board members, community outreach, shelter volunteers, adoption coordinators, fosters, social media/marketing, fundraising, spay & neuter volunteers, and many others – ME-OW and WOW) are truly angels in disguise. Please consider joining this amazing team of El Refugio Volunteers.

If you are not able to donate your time, how about becoming An Angel for Animals. Just $25 per month can care for one of us shelter cats for 1 year ME-OW (food, shelter, and preventative medications for fleas, ticks, and parasites). If that is too much from your kitty bank, even just $10 a month can buy a lot of catnip (or regular ole dry kibble). Any and every amount helps an animal (and community) in need.

Until we meet again beautiful humans.



As every cat owner knows, nobody owns a cat. Ellen Perry Berkeley

Don’t forget to spay & neuter your cats & dogs.  There can be too much of a good thing!  There’s only so much catnip to go around. 

Cats and wildlife live longer when cats stay indoors. 


Mágica at El Refugio Costa Ballena, Costa Rica