Jean Cocteau once said that cats become the visible soul of a home. HeARTs Speak member and photographer, Hannah Michalski, discovered upon her recent visit to Good Mews Animal Foundation that this theory holds true even if the ‘home' is a temporary one. Hannah is a self-confessed lover of all creatures great and small, but her fascination for the companion-animal kingdom was sparked many years ago by the quirky, curious and undeniably compelling feline.
Those self-assured, supremely graceful know-it-alls are relatives to the king of the jungle, and that's a fact we'd be foolish to forget! Alas, even nature's smartest and savviest beings can occasionally find themselves a little lost (whether they care to admit it or not) and Good Mews qualifies as one of the sweetest, safest havens a homeless cat could hope to land on the front steps of.
Located in Marietta, Georgia, Good Mews serves as a temporary home to around 85-95 cats at any given time and operates entirely on private donations. The facility is composed of various large rooms through which the residents are free to roam, cage-free. Good Mews prides itself on its ability to provide residents with the freedom to indulge in their natural behaviors: scratching, lounging, climbing, interacting with one another and policing the parking area outside via floor to ceiling windows at the front of the shelter.
The first thing a visitor notices upon entering the door is just how truly peaceful the facility is. Quiet as a mouse, not that one of those would last long among this plethora of tiny lions. Cats rest in shelves lining the walls, in soft beds, boxes with holes cut out and atop beautiful cat furniture strategically placed for the ultimate in bird-watching. There are even TVs dotted around playing videos of fish swimming, water fountains trickle as lazily as their occasional feline visitors and small toys sit about, waiting to be nonchalantly batted by a furry, under committed paw.
Needless to say, soul is something Good Mews has in spades. It emanates from every crevice and engulfs the entire shelter in warmth and love.
Lisa Johns, the Shelter Manager for Good Mews was kind enough to answer some questions about this wonderful facility, providing us with a look into a truly magical organization:
How long has Good Mews existed?
Good Mews has been around for 25 years. This year is actually our 25th anniversary! We were the first cage-free cat shelter in Georgia. The fact that Good Mews has withstood the test of time is really a testament to how dedicated our volunteers and supporters are.
Tell us about the Good Mews facility!
We are a cage-free, no kill cat shelter located the metro-Atlanta area and house around 85-95 cats in the shelter at any given time, with more in foster care. Our cats are free roaming except for the two weeks they spend in quarantine upon intake, and if they need to be isolated later for an illness. In addition to the main area of the shelter, we also have smaller rooms that we utilize for shy cats that need additional socialization and/or cats with special dietary needs. We really make use of every inch of space here by housing cats with special needs in our offices and even a few with dietary issues in the kitchen!
What makes Good Mews special?
Good Mews is special for several reasons. First of all, we are cage-free. So our cats are allowed to run, play, exercise and interact. Coming to a shelter can be an extremely stressful and traumatic experience for cats. Allowing the cats to roam freely can relieve some of the stress they may be experiencing. Additionally, our residents are all well cared for. We pride ourselves on providing the best medical care for our kitties. We have several cats here who are special needs or seniors with medical issues. Our staff and volunteers make sure they are comfortable and well taken care of at all times.
Where do your adoptable cats generally come from?
Our cats come from all over. We help the public out by taking in strays that they have found and cared for. We will take owner relinquishments from people who may no longer have the means or resources to care for their cats. And we take from Animal Controls and open admittance shelters where they are often forced to euthanize animals due to space. We try to take from all of these places as often as possible, but of course we have limited space as well.
Are there any volunteers or workers you feel have made an impact in helping the animals in the rescues care?
All of the volunteers at Good Mews are essential to our operation. Good Mews only has three staff members, so we rely on the volunteers for a lot. Our volunteers positively impact the lives of our cats and this organization on a daily basis. Many are hands-on with the cats, like ‘Clean and Feed' which cleans the shelter and feeds the cats, or ‘Meds', which administers medications to our cats. However, some volunteer outside the shelter by searching out and applying for grants or coordinating our fundraisers so that we can financially afford to continue our mission. Good Mews would be unable to operate without the help of our dedicated volunteers.
Any special pets you've met?
Tricky is a very special kitty to Good Mews. She was shot several years ago in a domestic violence incident. As a result, her back legs are paralyzed. Many people feel sorry for her when they first meet her. I always tell them not to. She is treated like a queen here! She gets around just fine on her own. She loves treats and has a sassy personality. Tricky truly is a star at Good Mews.
Does Good Mews have any special programs?
Good Mews participates in many outreach programs in our community. We have developed a good relationship with a local senior living facility. Some of their residents come and visit with the cats twice a month. We also have helped many Girl Scout troops with projects for the kitties.
Good Mews is also extremely proud of our HALO (Home At Last) program, which some of our cats with chronic illnesses are in. This program continues to pay the medical expenses for the covered condition of the cat even after adoption. We also profile a featured cat monthly. We try to choose cats that may be overlooked due to shyness or medical reasons. The featured cat has a 50% reduced adoption fee for the month.
Good Mews recently purchased a piece of land and is currently raising money to build a free-standing shelter, giving them the extra space they desperately need to continue to grow.
Visit the Good Mews website for more details on all of their upcoming events, as well as how to go about adding a Good Mews kitty to your family.