Unless you also have been napping for the last week straight, you’ve likely seen the adorable photos of the “Cat Grandpa” sleeping at a local shelter and cat cafe in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
“Cat Grandpa” Terry Lauerman has always been a cat man.
He’s had numerous feline companions since his childhood. Now at the age of 75, he happily spends his retirement with shelter cats.
After retiring from his career as a Spanish teacher in 2017, Terry moved closer to his favorite shelter in the Green Bay area. He had learned of the Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary in 2016 and visited whenever he could. Right away he knew he wanted to spend his well-earned free time helping the unique sanctuary.
Safe Haven is “a 501(c)3 no-kill, cage-free cat sanctuary and cat cafe’ that rescues kitties with special needs from euthanasia in Wisconsin and surrounding areas.”
According to their website, they “accept cases of abuse, neglect, FIV+, blindness, missing limbs, and other physical and psychological disabilities upon review of medical documentation. If we have room, we also accept senior cats at risk for euthanasia.”
Now that Terry was living nearby, he began to visit the shelter daily. Every day but Sunday when the shelter is closed, he spends about 3 hours visiting with his furry friends. He feeds them, pets them, snuggles them and brushes them with his special brush.
Afterwards, they all take a well deserved nap together.
The founder of Safe Haven, Elizabeth Feldhausen, and many other volunteers are overjoyed at the bond and connection Terry has with the animals. Since many of them came from abuse and may have issues, being comfortable enough around someone to take a nap is an important step.
They also admit they are quick to snap an adorable photo of the peaceful moments between the cats and their Cat Grandpa. It is just too special NOT to share!
But they had no idea the impact these photos would have on the world.
“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 everyday. 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. ?❤️?#nappingencouraged #grateful“
While they’ve posted Grandpa Terry napping with sanctuary cats previously on their Facebook page, when they shared them on September 18th, the world took notice.
As of the afternoon of Monday the 24th, the post has been shared more than 24K times, has over 6,500 comments and a whopping 89K reactions!
And what does humble Terry, who doesn’t own a computer or have social media accounts, think about his new-found fame?!
Shocked he said, “Now if all of those people would just donate $5 to help the kitties, that would make such a big difference! He also said we should all pray for him to win the lottery so he can donate it to his cat friends.”
And donate they did.
Reports are indicating that in just a 2-day time-frame, the sanctuary received over $20,000 in donations!
While Terry is absolutely stunned and grateful, he can’t help but laugh at the popularity of the photos.
“I literally did nothing”, he jokes.
Last Friday, Terry was thanked in way other than monetary donations for the shelter. This one, a personal reward for his dedication; a brand new recliner from Shopko for Terry to nap in comfortably!
However Terry wants us all to know that he is not the only one who deserves praise for supporting Safe Haven.
He has personally dubbed another volunteer, Paula, “The Cat Grandma”.
Paula showed up at the sanctuary about a year ago, knocking on the door to ask if she could help sweep. She’s been there every single day since then.
Calling herself the “Safe Haven Complaint Department”, the shelter shared the details about the loving woman.
“She says the cats tell her ALL of their complaints so she can fix them! She also spends time knitting cat blankets, and beads jewelry to sell for the kitties. Her other nickname is Potty Mouth Paula, so lets hope she keeps it clean for the Facebook world!”
Volunteers of ALL ages are happy to help the shelter.
From Grandpa’s and Grandma’s to the adolescents of the area, heartwarming stories span the ages.
Not only does 6-year-old Octavia make and sell toys to support Safe Haven through Kinyoda Cats, she is how Shopko learned of Grandpa Terry, leading to his new recliner donation <3
Octavia, an ameowzing mini “crazy cat lady”, also sells rocks with a heartwarming message for both animals and humans. Quite an inspurration for all of us!
Once the shock begins to wear off at Safe Haven, they will begin putting those much needed donations to good use.
Elizabeth says they will be upgrading their old building with new insulation and adding additional quarantine rooms for sensitive or vulnerable cats.
Facebook followers, old and the thousands of new ones they’ve received from the viral post alike, have another request though.
They want a “Cat Grandpa Calendar” full of peaceful, napping photos of Terry and the cats. This or at least an Instagram account for his sleepy sessions, with the already decided upon name of @terrynapswithcats.
Happily, Elizabeth shared Terry’s response to the requests. “I asked him if he would be comfortable with something like that – and he said he’d do anything to raise money for them.”