From veterinary exams to
caring for special needs and
terminal illness, we give every
cat the best life possible.
Keeping Cats Healthy
The main house at Avalo has become a make-shift infirmary for the many domestic cats who came to the sanctuary with health concerns.
Founder Michelle Donlick and three staff members spend two to three hours a day treating cats with everything from upper respiratory infections to feline viruses, eye infections, and seizures.
One kitten is having severe seizures due to an unknown neurological issue. Several cats are receiving a new, expensive, and hard-to-get treatment for feline infectious peritonitis (aka FIP). Another, who suffers from cerebellar hypoplasia, must be fed by hand. Cats paralyzed by accidents need to be diapered for leak prevention.
And those are just the domestics. The small exotics and hybrids get sick and injured as well. They are literally a bigger challenge to treat.
A team of staff and volunteers carry cats to different vets every week, depending on if they need medical treatment or spaying/neutering.
In 2019, Michelle traveled to Singapore to rescue a Bengal named Akimbo who had fallen from a ninth-floor balcony and broken his back. Their journey was featured in the local newspaper and television.
Praise for Our Caregiving
“We love Michelle. She’s very passionate. We’ve dealt with a lot of rescue groups for the 30 years I’ve been a vet, and she’s the most level-headed rescuer we’ve seen. She’s a cat whisper.”
— Mark J Foy, MS, DVM, Sunset Animal Clinic
“Watching Michelle with cats is magical, but I know she researches the various breeds and characteristics. She has a gift, but she also puts in the work to be so good with them.”
— Laura Clark, Director, Colleton County Animal Services
“Michelle is up at dawn and the last one to bed. No problem is too great, and she accepts even the most severely compromised cats, traveling to far-off places to rescue them.”
— Glynnis Bull, Australia
“I don’t treat Michelle like a normal client because she’s very educated in what’s going on with her patients. So first I ask her what treatments has she already done.”
— Chris Owens, Veterinary Technician, Sunset Animal Clinic
“Michelle treats every cat like it’s the last animal on earth, whether it’s a rare exotic hybrid or a sick stray kitten found at the dumpster. She’s a powerful and selfless defender of life.”
— Lou Kinard, Trustee, Reemprise Fund
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) affects between 2-3% of all cats. The virus transfers from saliva, nasal secretions, urine, feces, bite wounds, and milk of infected cats. FeLV is the most common cause of cancer in cats and leads to severe immune deficiencies. Unfortunately, there is no cure for FeLV. The only sure way to prevent healthy cats from contracting FeLV is to prevent their exposure to FeLV-infected cats.
Avalo has a special enclosure with a double fence to keep free-roaming cats from making contact with infected cats while keeping those with FeLV safe and comfortable.
Resting in Peace
An important part of compassionate care is the respectful burial of every cat who lived and died at Avalo. We also have a special section of the cemetery for kitties who died on the highway outside of the sanctuary. We tend their graves and decorate the cemetery with tiny statues of angels, crosses and other memorials.