Michelle & Steve Donlick own Avalo Farm where they run Avalo Cat Sanctuary Inc. with
the help of many friends! Avalo Farm offers 16 acres where felines can live their lives with
Compassion, Kindness, Courage and Light.
The name "Avalo" is a short term we created from "Avalokitesvara",
the Buddhist of infinite compassion. Avalokitesvara is a Bodhisattva,
an enlightened being who is a manifestation
of all Buddhas' compassion.
Simple translations of the word 'compassion' in Sanskrit means active sympathy,
gentle affection, loving kindness, a willingness to bear the pain of others, and a
benelvolence toward all beings free of selfish attachment. Here at Avalo, we embrace
enlightenment each day to offer our cats compassion, kindness, courage and light.
Michelle has been a Veterinary Technician for more than 20yrs and provides the cats
the medical care and attention that they may need. She has always had a special
cat-handling skills befriending feral, unruly or aloof felines. Dr. Anna Ogburn is ACS's stellar
personal Veterinarian and friend who is on cat call night or day to help with whatever cat needs
attention. Dr. Kathy Bissell works with Avalo to offer discounted spay/neuter surgeries as well as
vaccinations microchip service for those cats in need. Dr. Bissell works as needed out of Aiken's
premier new top notch facility. Michelle is very fortunate to work with a variety of other
Veterinary Mentors who help support Avalo's Sanctuary with their knowledge and time.
As a full time Horse Professional, Michelle is at home every day training horses which
enables her to interact with the many cats that enjoy their daily activities. Michelle also
operates two other Cat Businesses: "The Feline Buddha" offering Cat Behavior Consulting
(also trying to counsel any owners with feline issues prior to the cat coming to Avalo)
and "Cooking With Our Cats" an exciting, new publishing adventure dealing
with cats, food, kitchens and cooking - all related to cats!
Steve owns and operates East Shore Coral - a salt water fish store in Columbia, SC specializing
in rare and home grown corals as well as salt and fresh water fish. Steve has a degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management and a Bachelor's in Culinary Arts. He is Avalo Cat Sanctuary's maintenance, & facility director. He is responsible for the building and design of our fantastic cat
condos and outdoor enclosures for some of our residents. Each enclosure is complimented with
some type of pond or fountain. Steve is an avid cat-lover can always be found mingling among
or napping with the residents. Steve's expertise with aquariums provide the cats the here at
Avalo with endless aquatic entertainment.
While a good number of cats at Avalo live in the house (more than most people
would consider normal) many live outside. Most that do live outside had developed challenges
that made it difficult, unacceptable or unmanageable to remain in an indoor situation.
Situations like this could be inappropriate urination, poor litter-box habits, aggression issues or
other behavior problems. All of the cats have medical attention prior to or before integration
to the Sanctuary to establish their health and emotional status. There are Bengal Cats,
, Chausie Cats, Short Hairs, Medium Hairs and Siamese! There are tail-less,
one-eyed, three-legged and those with over-bites and under-bites here at the Sanctuary.
Hybrid Cats (who are considered Domestic) as well as other Domestic breeds, often can not be maintained accordingly by their owners for the reasons mentioned above or simply because
they aren't able to keep them any longer. The Sanctuary believes that rather than have them end
up at a shelter (at risk to pick up infection, be misunderstood
by humans, passed around due to
their issues or end up on death row) that they be provided with homes outside. All of the cats
are monitored closely, start off inside or in appropriate containment, and if able to remain
in an indoor setting or outdoor enclosure will be provided that opportunity.
The Sanctuary indoor/outdoor condos are offered to select felines and their owners.
Current feline residents enjoy their own condo's in style and accommodations can be designed
to tailor owner's desires and cat's needs. Outdoor enclosures come equipped with small houses,
trees, sand boxes, tunnels, trees, jungle gyms and more for cat entertainment. More condo-type
units or buildings where cats can be housed will be available for owners upon Sanctuary approval.
An outdoor cat-proof perimeter fence is on the wish list as well.
Avalo Cat Sanctuary has helped cats from Feline Rescue Organizations such as the
Bengal Cat Rescue and local and South East SPCA and Humane Society's.
The Sanctuary is an approved non-profit entity and future plans involve education
for the public and schools about the history and care of both Hybrid & Domestic Felines.
Michelle and Steve are members of the Feline Conservation Federation, a non-profit,
non-governmental organization that consists of wild feline managers, educators,
conservationists, researchers and those that support the mission of Feline Conservation.