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Avi Fogel

For now, the hidden kitty sanctuary will remain a secret, only known by those who the cats decide to bring into their home, and into their family.

Los Angeles, California

It's that magical time of year, where true miracles are taking place all over. So what could be more fulfilling than a beautifully gift wrapped present with your name on it, under the tree or beside your menorah this year?

Well, how about a dozen stray cats adopting a big-hearted man from California.

“I felt an immediate connection between us” says California native, Avi Fogel, describing his first meeting with a large black-and-white cat he has affectionately nicknamed “Boss Cat”. “At first it was just Boss Cat that revealed himself, but each day after, I would notice more kitties within the brush and foliage. Every day I visited, new cats would reveal themselves- Pumpkin, Ellen Degeneres, Butterscotch, Raisin, Tom Selleck, Coco, Simba and the rest. Might have had something to do with the adorable kitties letting their friends know that I was there with not just loving back rubs, but also wet food and much needed TLC.’’

As the days passed, curiosity and trust between human and the family of twelve stray cats in this secret kitty sanctuary, began to grow.

“When I’m spending time with the little ones, and they hear other people pass by on the trail, they tend to hide themselves in the brush. They seem particular about who they interact with.” he explains, as he continues to lovingly describe more about the kitty family that has adopted him.

Having become more comfortable with their new human friend, they led him off the beaten path, deeper into the foliage, and allowing him entrance into their secret cat sanctuary. “They had really claimed this area. Playing, sleeping, hiding in particular spots. It was like a Jim Henson movie or something Disney would make into an animated film. I could even see the hierarchy between them. Tom Selleck (named because of a mustache like profile) would always be close by to Raisin, a little black kitty, while Ellen would seem to always have something to say, and is filled with happy energy, almost dancing when that magical sound of the wet food is being opened.” he says.

“I could tell some of the cats were feral, while others were domestic cats, most likely abandoned by their owners. It was a mix, but everyone looked after each other as if they were from the same bloodline, and all of them welcomed me into their home. Lately, I have started reading to them, which my calm, relaxing voice seems to put them all in a very sleepy place. Of course, I take as a compliment” says Mr. Fogel smiling. Avi is not just an animal lover, but is also professionally trained in cat and animal psychology, and is producing an uplifting documentary series called “The Cat Cafe”, which is all about animals and the people who love them.

“Two of the cats are pregnant, and they look to be just a couple weeks away from giving birth, so I’m mindful to bring them the more appropriate food for pregnant cats.” say Avi, who feeds the cats daily, bringing them wet food and treats, as well as flea and tick medication. With veterinarian relationships all over California, Avi plans to have the two females spayed after they give birth, and has already found willing homes for the kittens who seem destined to arrive just in time for Christmas.

For now, the hidden kitty sanctuary will remain a secret, only known by those who the cats decide to bring into their home, and into their family.

“These little guys are part of my day at this point- wake up, brush my teeth, hit the gym and then time to feed my second family (laughing), thankfully the kitties also have two grandmothers who have been adopted as well, and they bring dry food and affection when they can, in the way only Golden Girls can bring.” he says. (I don’t know about you but I’m already purring at the thought of Avi and two Golden Girls being adopted by this family of kitties).

There has always been something special about the human-animal bond, and perhaps its simply that we were meant for each other- physically, emotionally, and psychologically- because whenever we are all together, we know we are home.

And isn’t that where we all want to be?

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