In an effort to spotlight animal shelterís and rescues this
month Dr. Dog is featuring Tomís Town Cat Sanctuary. Tom's Town Cat Sanctuary
is located on eight acres in Arlington, TN. It started in 1991 when one
stray cat (Tom) showed up on the doorstep of what was once Betty and Carl
Hesse's showplace home. Then came Jerry, Tom's friend. Since then, Carl
and Betty have taken in hundreds of abandoned and abused cats. Their home
has slowly been given over to the cats as more and more came and more space
was needed. Now, with the exception of one small "suite" the entire 6500
square foot home has been remade into a cat sanctuary. There is also the
3 car garage which has a separate air conditioning & eating unit. The vans
are parked outside and the garage has been converted for our leukemia positive
cats. What was once the master bedroom suite now belongs to our aids positive
cats. There are 2 sickrooms for cats who need to be isolated for a while.
There is a holding room for kittens and cats whom have not yet been tested,
vaccinated and neutered. The main part of the house, including the kitchen,
is where the "general population" hangs out. Right now, we are housing
about 375 cats and kittens.
We are a no-kill shelter. Every cat is given every chance to
recover from any illness or injury. In fact, all of our cats receive excellent
medical care at all times. If a cat is hospitalized, Betty visits every
day to cuddle and reassure the patient. Since most adopters want kittens,
many of these cats will spend their entire lives at Tom's Town.
Our cats eat 60-70 pounds of food every day and they are fed
premium foods. We use approximately 1,000 pounds of litter each month.
Our monthly bill at the vet ranges from $3,000 - $5000 each month even
though Betty and Carl give their own shots, medicines and even fluids for
those cats that are dehydrated due to illness. As I said before, every
cat is given every chance at life. Tom's Town is unusual because the only
cats in cages are those in the sickrooms and the holding room. We try to
make Tom's Town as homey as possible and a cage is not a home. The most
astounding thing is Betty and Carl have been personally funding Tom's Town
since it started. When the number of cats grew too large for them to care
for alone, they've paid people to clean, scoop litter boxes and take care
of the grounds. Obviously, this can't go on forever, nor should it. Since
I came 2 years ago, I have worked diligently to get donations, in kind
donations and volunteers to offset some of the cost of running Tom's Town.
Robyn Smalley, Friend of Tom's Town
Tom's Town Cat Sanctuary
P.O. Box 311
Brunswick, TN 38014-0311
If you live in or around Arlington, and would like to be a
Tom's Town volunteer or would like to adopt a cat or kitten, please email
me at Rsmalley@Poulincpa.com.