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TLC Cat Retirement Program

(How to protect your cat when you can no longer care for her)

We discontinued this progam in 2005 due to our inability to ensure its perpetuity.  This is an important factor you should consider in your search for cat retirement communities.  For a discussion and list of other cat retirement communities, see our information handout .

Our Cat Retirement Program

Our retirement program is targeted at providing quality life care for elderly companion cats whose guardians can no longer care for them due to death or serious illness.  Here's a summary of how it operates:

Facility.  We have a beautiful 24-acre farm, located just southwest of Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The 100 year-old renovated farmhouse contains a bi-level colony room with hardwood floors and lots of windows.  Its southern exposure maximizes natural light and has an attached 18x20 deck giving the cats contained access to the outdoors for sunning and daydreaming.  We can presently house 18-20 cats with plenty of carpeted trees and cubbies for their comfort.  Room for future expansion abounds.

Admission.  At time of transfer, we receive the cats at our facility.  If you live outside of our local area and are flying the cats to us, we can arrange to pick them up at the airport.

Cat Introduction.  Each cat individually determines when they're ready for colony life.  Until that point they reside in an airy cat condo located in the colony room.  We'll open their door frequently and let them out to explore.  If they try to hide, we'll put them back in their condo.  If they explore, we'll let them investigate.  Once they start sampling various sleeping areas, we'll leave their condo door open so they can choose between its security and the freedom of open living.  For some cats this process takes a few days, for others a few months.

Food.  Premium wet food is served each morning and dry food is always available for munching.  Special diets are managed when needed.

Cats Only.  We maintain a tranquil sanctuary for the cats — no dogs are housed on the premises.

Health Care.  At time of application, vet records are provided indicating the health of each applicant.  At time of admission updated vet records are reviewed to ensure vaccinations and testing are current.  New residents are kept in a cat condo for their first few weeks to verify their health, ensure they are eating regularly and using their litter box routinely.  While they're with us, we consult with a veterinarian whenever we perceive a change in weight, eating pattern or behavior and we update vaccinations as needed.  Even if no signs of illness are present, we take the cats to the vet each year for a checkup.

Euthanasia Policy.  We do not put down any cats in our care because of age or reasonably treatable illness or behavioral difficulties — unless the behavioral difficulties put the well-being of our staff or other cats at risk.  In those circumstances, when we find ourselves with a cat that appears to have no other viable option than death, we assemble a committee to closely review the circumstances and abide by the group decision.

Program Eligibility.  To participate in our cat retirement program, the following conditions must be present:

We reserve the right to decline admission to any cat for any reason at any time prior to acceptance of the cats at our facility.  Once we have accepted the cats into our program, we will commit to their quality care for the rest of their natural lives subject to the euthanasia policy outlined above.

Program Fees.  Our program is set up to primarily service older cats but we recognize that in some instances we may need to take younger cats with longer life spans as well.  Because of this, we use a sliding scale fee based on the age of the cat at time of admission..  We assume that on average, the cats in our care will live to be 18 years of age, and that providing quality care for them will run about $1,000 per year per cat.  Because the later years of a cat's life are the most expensive ones — increased veterinary expenses, special diets and medications — our minimum fee per cat is $5,000.  Age and health are determined by veterinary records and if no clear records exist, we will make a determination based on our vet's assessment of the cat.

Although the fees may seem high compared to the costs that you incur in direct care for your cat, the difference is largely based on providing and staffing a quality shelter to house the cats in and the associated operating costs in doing so.

When your cat passes away, our standard fees include the cost of cremation as well as a name plaque in our memorial chapel.  If you wish anything beyond this, let us know and we will work with you as much as we can and quote the additional charges, if any.

Contact us for complete program information.  The information provided herein is descriptive only and does not constitute a contract of any kind.  We reserve the right to change or discontinue this program at any time without notice.

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