Repairing Danica's Cat Shelter Felix

For: Danica's Cat Shelter Felix
Organizer: Felinologic Association Felix
of $15,000 goal.
Raised by 27 donors
8% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

Cat Shelter Felix is a private cat shelter (well, it’s more of a sanctuary) in the Vojvodina region of Serbia. There are 117 cats in the shelter at the moment, all of them are ex-strays. Most of them have been unwanted, neglected and/or abused until they came here and have learned love for the first time. They’re provided with a lifetime of food and care, but their expenses are enormous.

The biggest problem is repairing the shelter itself, as it has suffered quite a bit of damage during the winter months. Frankly, it wasn't even close to being completely fixed and prepared for the winter at the beginning of the cold season, even though we’ve been engaged in repairing and rebuilding the shelter since last spring; the repairs are nowhere near completion.

Instead of replacing the entire roof of the main building last year (which would have been a very costly, but only permanent solution), we managed to install additional supports and strengthen the roof as much as we could. Had this winter been as snowy as the last one, the roof would’ve surely collapsed under the snow load. It must be replaced this year at any cost, as it can’t possibly endure another winter. Moreover, we didn’t even touch the roof of the auxiliary rooms in the backyard. The entire structure is worn out and some of the roof rafters and beams are cracked and half-rotten. The old roof tiles, partially covered in moss, are moving and sagging and with the melting snow and heavy rains, water has started making its way in. What would have happened had the precipitation been more abundant, I dare not imagine.

As to the auxiliary rooms themselves, they have originally been made of bricks and rammed earth. If we want to fix them permanently, special nets should be adhered to the inner walls and Bavalit applied afterwards. Bavalit is a kind of mortar, a mixture of hydraulic binders, mineral aggregates and additives. Then the new insulation layer can be added to the ceiling and we would have a nice and safe indoor enclosure. The only cat room in the front yard is in the worst shape, with a huge bump in the ceiling caused by moisture, and a number of cracks in the walls. If enough of the ceiling gets wet, it will become too heavy to support itself and will collapse on my unsuspecting cats! We have to fix it ASAP!

The outdoor enclosure is another matter. The perimeter of the whole yard and the roof should be enclosed with some fencing with a stronger, but finer mesh. The existing fence is too weak and is actually chain-link fencing with links that are too large to prevent little kittens and skinnier adults from escaping through the wire. Although there wasn’t as much snow this winter, the wire mesh dangerously sagged at one point, as it was already droopy after it barely help up through the last year’s winter. Another heavy snow load would have knocked it down. We’ve been lucky so far, but who can guarantee we will be equally lucky next winter? I won’t even mention that paved paths through the yard should also be made…

Another big problem is the outdoor fence. The posts had already started to deteriorate and crumble. They became wobbly last year, and this year’s snow and ice further degraded them and caused extensive additional damage. Not only that, the gates can't close properly. These rotten posts will fall apart and cause the whole fence to fall down any day now. It’s not an exaggeration, it's an inevitable reality and a dire emergency!

Please, help us! We’re overwhelmed and doing everything we can, but we just can't do it without your help! The need is great, but no amount is too small. Thank you in advance for anything you may be able to provide!

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on September 18, 2013

Posted on September 18, 2013

Frankly, a couple of weeks ago, when we published our latest update on the shelter repairs desperately pleading for help, things were bad to say the least and the overall situation seemed rather futile and hopeless. With 117 living beings to take care of every single day, with many sick kitties in need of vet care, medicine, special food, with a pile of unpaid bills and living under the shadow of the constant threat of the roof caving in, we literally hit the wall and there were no solutions to our problems anywhere in sight.  We were already giving up hope that the horribly damaged roof of the auxiliary cat rooms would be replaced before the onset of winter, as raising the $4,000 needed for the roof replacement sounded like science fiction, no matter what we tried.

When nothing goes as planned, I guess that people inevitably begin to question themselves. Did we bite off more than we could chew? Is the idea of maintaining a cat sanctuary in Serbia totally unrealistic? What are we doing wrong? Is there a point to posting yet another appeal for help if dozens of similar ones have passed almost unnoticed?

Watching all of the shelter kitties lying around, carefree and relaxed, blissfully oblivious to the dangers ahead was truly heartbreaking.  Lulled into a false sense of security in their home, they had no idea that their fairytale existence could be cut short at any time and I somehow felt I had betrayed them, offering  and promising them safety I obviously could not provide.  I’ve been at my wit’s end for months now trying to find a way to get all of the kitties plus the shelter through another winter unharmed, but time was running short and each new day was just bringing bigger worries…

And then, when things were at their darkest and there was almost no hope left, a gift of incredible kindness and generosity from the other end of the world restored my faith in humanity. I’m thrilled to share the best news ever, the news that stunned me and left me breathless – a wonderful lady who wishes to remain anonymous sent us the entire amount of money needed to replace the roof! The massive repairs will begin as soon as the weather permits and with a little luck, all of the Felix kitties will be warm and dry this winter! They will still need food and vet care, and we’ll have to raise funds to buy gas for central heating, but our new roof, once finished, will certainly be able to bear the weight of snow and endure the upcoming winter and many more winters ahead. What a huge relief!

There are no words to express our immense gratitude to this wonderful lifesaver of the Felix kitties, but also to all of our supporters who appreciate our work, share our appeals for help, contribute with their donations whenever they can and caringly show they believe in us! A huge thank you to all of you who are helping our dreams become a reality! It takes a village to make a difference, I know, but with true friends like you, the sky is the limit! And yes, we might be dreamers, but dreamers of a better future!

"'It's impossible', said pride. 'It's risky', said experience. 'It's pointless', said reason. 'Give it a try', whispered the heart. "

Posted on September 1, 2013

Posted on September 1, 2013

Don’t start something you can’t finish, we’ve all been taught. And really, what’s the point of setting goals we can’t achieve and making plans we are not able to carry through? For more than year and a half we’ve been trying to make Felix shelter a safer and more secure place for 117 rescued kitties which consider it to be their forever home. For more than year and a half we’ve been pleading for help with overall shelter repairs and most importantly, the roof replacement. We’ve published dozens, if not hundreds of photos of our horribly damaged roof which miraculously made it through last winter but now seems to be ready to give way at any time. We naïvely hoped that this year our biggest problem would finally be solved once and for all, but unfortunately, from where we stand, it seems quite unrealistic that any major work can be accomplished before the weather takes a turn for the worse.

We managed to fix a portion of the roof last summer but there’s so much more yet to be done and meanwhile time’s running out, not enough money’s coming in. Thanks to a couple of very generous donations, a few weeks ago we could at least begin to prepare for the big work ahead. A new concrete path between the front entrance into the backyard and garage has been made and workers are now finishing four out of five new columns needed to support the new roof, as the existing supporting structure doesn't stand a chance to bear its weight. Had we succeeded to raise enough funds for the roof replacement, the fifth support column would’ve been put in place and work on the roof could have finally begun. As it is now, we might be forced to sadly reconcile to the fact that our dream will remain just a dream, at least for now.

There are many animals in need of help all over the world. Countless injured, sick, abused, desperate and hopeless little creatures are everywhere, waiting to be found, picked up, fed, vetted and cared for, waiting for a chance of a better life. No animal lover can stay indifferent neither to their suffering nor to their heartbreaking stories and almost everyone is compelled to donate when faced with such sadness, cruelty and misfortune. Massive repairs at Felix shelter, although of utmost importance for 117 meows which live under the roof that could fall in at any time, don’t seem desperate looking from afar and our photos of building materials, construction site and chubby, happy kitties simply don’t tug at people’s heartstrings.

If or when the roof caves in, the consequences will be horrendous and maybe then, when we start posting photos of injured, mangled, utterly betrayed kitties which are drowning in despair, someone will realize what we have been talking about since last spring. Unfortunately, the hands of time can’t be turned back and all the help we might get in such a horrible crisis wouldn’t change anything, anything at all. It will be much too late.

Is the $4,000 we need to replace the roof of the auxiliary cats’ rooms such an incredibly huge sum of money? Is it possible that out of all the people who follow our work, who watch our video clips and read our stories, only a handful (to which we’re immensely grateful) are trying to help now that the future of all of the shelter tenants is absolutely uncertain and things are teetering on the brink of disaster? What chances will these kitties have if their home, their haven, their entire world comes crumbling down? And it’s only a matter of time before the roof falls in on the kitties and everything falls apart.

Kind words, encouragement and admiration surely mean a lot, but actions mean much more. It’s been said innumerable times that great things usually have small beginnings and no matter how little you are able to give, it all adds up and makes a significant difference. The future starts today and making changes begins with you! Please, hear our cry for help and don’t just be sorry, take some action!

Posted on August 7, 2013

Posted on August 7, 2013

The time has come and we’re now finally about to face our biggest challenge yet – the roof replacement! Thanks to a couple of generous donations, we have enough money to start the most important phase of the shelter repairs, although it’s still uncertain how we’ll finish it. Everything else aside, if we manage to replace the roof of the auxiliary rooms before the cold weather sets in, it would be the jewel of our efforts and your success as well!

Since the beginning of year, we’ve fixed three of the cats’ rooms, thanks to a grant for shelter repairs we received last winter. The weather wasn’t really on our side during the spring, so the indoor work was all that could be done. Considering that shelter repairs have been ongoing for more than a year now and that we’ve faced a myriad of unexpected problems so far, the possibility of reaching the final goal sounds both thrilling and scary. If we fail, everything will seem pointless. But if we succeed?

The biggest problem is that there are 117 kitties here that need to be taken care of while repairing the roof. Running a cat shelter has never been an easy task, but frankly, it’s now becoming harder than ever. Many cats are sick with viruses and needing daily treatment; all of the shelter tenants have to be vaccinated against rabies as soon as they’re able to withstand the vaccination; providing all of the cats with adequate food according to their age and health, plus necessary vet care costs a fortune!  We’re regularly not facing just one problem but several of them simultaneously, including major shelter repairs on top of everything else. Nothing of this would’ve been possible without your help and the plain and simple truth is that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something…

While raising funds for the roof replacement, we couldn’t just sit idle, as there were plenty of minor issues that needed to be addressed. Fixing the hydrophore tank, placing new water pipes through the backyard and building new faucets are finally finished and an adequate water supply outside is ensured. Judging by the cats’ behavior, a new water faucet in the backyard was indispensable and one might wonder how did they ever live without it. Most of the kitties spend their time sitting on it, guarding it, climbing on it, drinking from it, it seems they consider it to be the best toy ever.

The roof replacement will be costly, but before we even begin, a new concrete path between the front entrance into the backyard and garage has to be made and new columns need to be put in place in order to support the roof. The old path quickly turns into a muddy mess when it rains, so the cats that come out of the cat rooms step directly into the mud. Most importantly, the existing supporting structure is simply not able to bear the weight of the new roof as it’s as old as the hills and wasn’t even constructed properly in the first place. The roof overhang also needs to be extended in order to increase the base of support for the new roof and to protect the new path (and thus the entrances to the cats’ rooms) below from the rain run-off. The larger the area the base of support covers, the more stable our new roof will be. Only then we can start replacing the roof that was made 50 years ago and has not been touched since. 

I know that there are far too many animal shelters and sanctuaries in need of help and zillions of homeless animals everywhere but would you please consider donating towards the roof repairs at Felix shelter? Once that our biggest problem is solved and the new roof is in place, we can rest easier and all of our efforts and sacrifices will finally make sense. The greatest gift is a secure future, a safe and happy life and it’s in your hands!

All of you know that Cat Shelter Felix is not just a shelter, it's also the only cat sanctuary in Serbia, a unique cat haven with plenty of open spaces where all of the rescued cats are provided with a lifetime of care in a cage-free environment. As none of the cats are, nor will be, put up for adoption, this is the only home they will ever have.

Please, help the Felix kitties face the coming winter without worrying that the roof will collapse in on them! It all comes down to love and it all depends on you!

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