A 75-Year-Old Shelter Volunteer Has Gone Viral For Napping With The Cats Every Day

Cats can sleep somewhere between 12 to 16 hours every day. A lot of us find ourselves wishing that we could do that too. Sadly, the closest we can get to our feline friends’ level is by having occasional catnaps throughout the day. With cats sleeping nearly all the time, it can feel a bit impossible to develop a bond with them. But one volunteer over at Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary in Green Bay, Wisconsin has figured out a way to bond with the shelter cats: by napping with them!

It all began when 75-year-old Terry Lauerman went to the shelter offering his cat-brushing services. Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary’s staff were initially taken aback by the generous offer, but gladly welcomed him. After all, it takes a village to keep a sanctuary like Safe Haven running, so any help is welcome! The Safe Haven founder, Elizabeth Feldhausen, recounted:

“He just walked in and started brushing, so we eventually told him he was an official volunteer and had him fill out our volunteer form.”

Terry naps together with a ginger shelter cat at Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary
Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary


This elderly volunteer visits the shelter to brush and nap with the resident cats

After being formally registered as a volunteer, Terry made visiting the cats a part of his daily routine. He usually drops by and spends around 3 hours in Safe Haven. Terry would initially start off by brushing his feline friends’ fur, but it always ends with him dozing off into a cozy catnap surrounded by his furry friends! Then, according to staff, Terry would continue brushing the cats shortly after waking up. Needless to say, the resident felines have taken a liking to their elderly groomer and constant nap companion. (Cats, after all, are quite particular about who they choose to sleep next to. So if your cat sleeps next to you, consider it a badge of honor!)

Terry lays across an olive couch at the shelter while a gray cat embraces his leg
Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary

The sight of Terry napping with the cats became a regular – and much-loved – sight at Safe Haven. And this was something that the staff felt that more people should see, so they began taking photos of the heartwarming scene. They then went on to publish the photos through an appreciative Facebook post for the kind volunteer. In the post, they wrote:

“We are so lucky to have a human like Terry. Terry just came along one day and introduced himself. He said he’d like to brush cats. Eventually it became every day. He brushes all of the cats and can tell you about all of their likes and dislikes. He also accidentally falls asleep most days. We don’t mind – cats need this! Terry is a wonderful volunteer.”

Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary volunteer Terry naps with one of the shelter cats
Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary


The adorable appreciation post attracted hundreds of thousands of online admirers

To the surprise of the staff, their post became viral. It has, as of writing, amassed over 107K reactions, 11K comments and has been shared over 28K times! And that wasn’t all that they gained from the adorable anecdote. Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary also received a flood of donations from well-meaning folk thanks to the post! Feldhausen raved about the unexpected spike in their donations, saying:

“Our donations have increased! Normally we’d make between $3,000 to $4,000 per month. This week we have reached $30,000! This is amazing because we do rely solely on donation.”

black and ginger shelter cats
Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary


Guests visiting the cat shelter
Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary


“The proceeds will likely go to adding additional quarantine rooms, so that we can save more cats more quickly, vet bills, and re-insulation [for] the building so that we are more energy efficient this winter. We’ll have more than enough for all those things, some will go to savings and be our ‘rainy day fund’.”

Fat fluffy cat
Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary


a curious cat stares while sitting on top of folded towels
Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary


The shelter volunteer remains modest despite his internet fame

Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary talks about Terry's reaction upon being told that he's internet famous
Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary


Terry is shocked by the staggering number of reaction the post about him has accumulated
Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary


Some people recognized Terry and some left good words for him in the comment section

Lindsay KG this guy is living


Marilyn Neugent Batey recognizes Terry


Lisa Fallon Daniels thinks Terry is giving the shelter cats a tremendous gift


Janna Turner says being a volunteer can also mean being there and caring unconditionally


Nancy Hougard knows Terry from a previous fostering program


casey nicole says terry is living his best life


jenny schreoder thanks terry for his kindness


Sarah thinks that the brushing activity is soothing both terry and the cats to sleep


tiffany hoffman's mom met Terry


Stephanie Valenta offers to take Terry's photos for instagram


dawn breedis says terry is amazing and very loved by the cats


elaine thinks her husband could help terry out

Source: Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc. Facebook