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Philadelphia’s Morris Animal Refuge is one of America’s first institutions that cared for and rehomed abandoned and suffering animals, particularly cats. When Elizabeth Morris founded the Refuge in 1874, there were no veterinary schools and cats weren’t even considered pets by many people. Nevertheless, Morris focused on helping cats, and the shelter helped 860 animals in its first year.

“She started off with a very small house right around the corner from us and eventually moved to the 1242 Lombard property. During that time period, she was mostly rescuing cats. Cats at that time, in the city of Philadelphia, weren’t considered pets like they are today. They were considered pests. She was one of the few and very first pioneers to get into animal rescuing and sheltering,” says Darryl Moore, Director of Operations at Morris Animal Rescue.

Now, imagine rescuing cats and dogs in a horse and wagon. In 1888 this mode of transportation was the Refuge’s first ambulance. Incredibly, the Refuge will mark 150 years without ever turning an animal away from its doors in 2024! 

Elizabeth Morris and the Morris Animal Refuge, Philadelphia

Elizabeth Morris and the Morris Animal Refuge, Philadelphia. Image via Instagram/Morris Animal Refuge

More about Elizabeth Morris below:

๐ŸŽŠ Morris Animal Refuge Celebrates Silver Fur Ball ๐ŸŽŠ

Recently, the Refuge celebrated its 25th annual ‘Fur Ball’ gala at the Bellevue Hotel. It was called the “Silver Fur Ball: 25 Years of a Life-Saving Celebration.” Those who participated in person enjoyed kitten cuddling stationsdancing, an open bar, artist pet portraits, and special animal guests. Others could enjoy taking part in a Silent Auction from home.

Silver Fur Ball, Morris Animal Refuge

Silver Fur Ball, MorrisMorris Animal Refuge

At this glamorous event, cats and dogs reign supreme.

Silver Fur Ball,

Silver Fur Ball, Philadelphia

Below, you can see the Fur Ball featured artists’ pet portraits. As we’ve shared before, original pet portraits can work wonders for helping shelter cats and dogs find homes.

Artist at the Silver Fur Ball paints a cat.

The day after Groundhog Day, the Refuge shared this cute picture of Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog, at the Fur Ball. This year, Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog predicted six more weeks of winter after seeing his shadow at Gobbler’s Knob.

“Phil might not be looking forward to another six weeks of winter, but he is EXCITED for the FUR BALL,” they wrote.

Silver Fur Ball, Morris Animal Refuge, Philadelphia

When guests arrived, they could meet Thor, pictured below.

“Thor is excited to go to the Fur Ball! Are you?” the Refuge posted on Facebook.

Thor, Silver Fur Ball, Morris Animal Refuge

At the bar, they offered a specialty cocktail dubbed the Morris 25. 

Amazingly, Fur Ball raised over $94K to help animals as they celebrated. 

Then, a last-minute donation bumped the Morris Animal Refuge’s donations to over $102K.

๐Ÿ• The Fur Ball Saves Furbabies ๐Ÿˆ

Thanks to all the generosity, the Refuge will be able to continue caring for homeless, abandoned, and unwanted pets in the Greater Philadelphia region. Due to the COVID pandemic, they, like shelters nationwide, have seen a rise in animals being surrendered. Initially, shelters enjoyed a rise in animal adoptions until people returned to work or faced evictions from their homes. Thankfully, the Fur Ball’s success will mean many of those animals can find new homes.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Morris Animal Refuge (@morrisanimalrefuge)

 

In 2019, Morris Animal Refuge took in a 26-pound cat called Mr. B or “Chonk.” The big loveable kitty was so popular that he crashed the website with people who wanted to adopt him.

Morris Animal Refuge with Chonk the cat

 

Images: Facebook, Morris Animal Refuge/ Photos by Tori Rep/Fotobuddy

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