Feb 08, 2024

Cat Grandpa Terry spends his retirement hanging out with rescue felines

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The rescue has raised over $100,000 because of Terry, helping care for cats with special needs. [Source: Facebook]

This retiree has gained internet fame from napping with rescue cats!

Terry Lauerman, 80, also known as the ‘Cat Grandpa’ has been volunteering at Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary in Green Bay Wisconsin since 2017, offering some much-needed respite to resident cats, kittens and their human supporters.

The retired teacher and brother at the Saint Norbert Abbey started coming into the rescue – which specifically helps cats with special needs – with the aim to help out and give all the cats and kitten a brush. But more often than not, Terry would be found asleep, cuddling with the rescues, brush in hand.

The cat lover grew up with cats as a child and then went without having one for years which sparked him to reconnect with what made him happy in retirement. 

“I’m free to go back to my childhood. Maybe we all revert in our old age, I don’t know,” he told the Green Bay Press Gazette in 2020. 

While most would be chastised for falling asleep on the job, Terry’s frequent visits, help and brushes have acted as a stress reliever and a means of socialisation for he and his furry friends. 

As staff began capturing and posting adorable pictures of Terry and co cuddled up asleep together on social media, the rescue has since received more recognition and donations as people fell in love with Terry and his mission – particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elizabeth Feldhausen, who runs the rescue, told CBS News they’ve raised over $100,000 because of Terry and their special Cat Grandpa merchandise line. She said many lonely people were isolated from each other during the pandemic and Terry provided feel-good sensations and a window to an outside world.

“I wish that I could fall asleep and make $100,000,” she said.

Since he became an internet sensation, Terry continues to be an in-demand volunteer for cats and kittens and helps the rescue as best he can – even hosting children’s reading events!

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Terry taking a famous nap and reading to children at a Safe Haven event. [Source: Facebook]

Cat Grandpa Terry is still volunteering at the rescue almost six years on from when he first walked through the door.

Don’t you think we need more volunteers like Terry? We do! Tell us about the inspiring volunteers you know in the comments below – we’d love to hear about them.

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