International Cat Day: An Interview With Brno’s LuckyCats Shelter
Brno, August 8 (BD) – Today is International Cat Day, celebrated globally since 2002 by admirers of our furry feline friends. To the best of my knowledge and observations, Brno is home to a great number of people who adore cats, and who will celebrate this day at the Old Town Hall at a charity bazaar organized to support some of the shelters in the region.
Having become a caregiver myself to a fluffy 9-year-old just a week ago, I would like to honor this day by sharing my personal experience with Brno Daily’s readers about how to give a new home to a cat in a safe, healthy, and ethical way. If you are in search of a trustworthy shelter from whom you would like to adopt a cat, if you would like to contribute to the well-being of animals, or if you are just interested in reading a Sunday story of commitment and love, keep reading! Without further ado, let me introduce Luckycats.cz, a great English-speaking cat shelter in Ostopovice – one of the most professional and warmhearted cat shelters operating in Brno.
The beginning of the story
Just a short bus ride from the city center, you will find the ‘cat paradise’ run by Lucie Pokorova, the owner of LuckyCats. Imagine a whole apartment flat with a garden designed for the happiness of cats. A whole complex of indoor playgrounds, and the happy purrs of cats that tell you how well they are taken care of. Asked about her story with LuckyCats, Lucie says: “I started taking care of cats seven years ago, when I found my first cat, Toffy. I didn’t even like cats before that. I didn’t know how to take care of him and wanted to give him up for adoption. He needed some treatment, and he stayed with us and I started to like him. Then I realized that he was lonely when I was at work, so I adopted another cat, and then another. I started to be more aware of the situation of stray cats and gained some knowledge of the adoption process, so I helped find a new home for a kitten, and then another one… Up to today, there have been almost 900 cats that I saved thanks to the shelter, many of whom were adopted by new owners.”
Running a Shelter
As I walked around the shelter, I witnessed how healthy and happy the cats seemed living in this environment. I asked Lucie about the challenges and positive things about running the shelter: “The biggest challenge is the commitment,” she replied. “It doesn’t matter whether I am sick, tired, depressed… they are living animals and need to be taken care of every day. It cannot be postponed, it doesn’t wait. I need to be there for them every day, every time they need me. But the beauty of it is so much greater! I find helping cats so satisfying, beneficial and it gives me a great purpose. I believe that making someone’s life better is one of the best feelings you can have. My favorite part of running the shelter is actually receiving photos from the new homes. It is the final confirmation that we did a good job, that the process was finished and our goal of finding a new suitable home for each cat is done.”
Later on, I asked Lucie about the financial and time costs of running the shelter, which is currently home to 38 cats, and where monthly costs can reach CZK 70,000. “The shelter is financed only by private donors, people like you and me who like cats and want to help them. Some are able to send CZK 100 and others can send CZK 1000, but they all contribute to our work. This year we have the highest number of cats ever living here at the same time. I hope that next year there won’t be so many cats in need. Caring for the cats, administration, managing the social media accounts, shopping, and generally all the work with the shelter takes approximately eight hours a day. Sometimes I get help from other people, but nobody is able to care for them as intensely as I can.”
After spending half an hour walking through the shelter and meeting the cats, Lucie told me the characteristics of the cats in the shelter and proved to me that she knew every single one of them so well, what they need, what they eat, how they behave, and many other details. She says that the caretaker needs to dedicate more time and energy to a younger cat, while older cats are already toilet-trained and well-behaved, and usually calmer, but take their time to get used to a new home. When a cat is being adopted, Lucie takes care of the procedures of vaccination and castration for many of the cats and provides all the information caregivers need to know before, during, and after the adaptation process, such as catproofing your house, finding a vet, training the cat, buying toys and food, and so on. LuckyCats charge CZK 750 for the adoption of a cat as a contribution to the shelter, a very modest fee considering all the costs, time, and commitment the shelter puts in.
Before I left with my new adopted friend Phoebe from the shelter, Lucie guaranteed that the shelter would welcome any cat back if the caregiver could not keep them for any reason, and asked me to send her some photos of the cat every month. This demonstrated one more time how genuinely Lucie cares for the well-being of all the cats that end up with LuckyCats, even after they leave. The caregiver also has to sign a contract promising they won’t do any intentional harm to the cat.
We left the shelter having no questions or doubts about the adoption, only great feelings of a new beginning.
For more information about adopting, donating, and petsitting, see the LuckyCats website.