Hope House Foundation “Angel,” Feral Affairs Network, Grants Man with Disabilities Dream of Kitten Ownership

By Missy Schmidt – FAN Volunteer —

One man’s dream of owning his very own kitten came true in early 2022, thanks to the efforts of two Hampton Roads, Va., nonprofits: Hope House Foundation (HHF) and Feral Affairs Network (FAN).

Enjoy these great photos!

They may seem like an unlikely pairing of organizations:

  • Hope House Foundation (HHF) provides supportive independent living services to adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
  • Feral Affairs Network (FAN) is a cat rescue group, using trap-neuter-return (TNR) to reduce the overpopulation of community (feral) cats which, more often than not, includes finding adoptable kittens.

I’m a FAN volunteer and have always been a big believer in helping people with disabilities live on their own as much as possible. Inclusion and diversity matters in a civil and humane society. 

Perusing the Hope House Angel Tree “Make-A-Wish” list over the 2021 holiday season, I noticed that one person asked for a male kitten (and supplies). 

Since FAN (as well as most cat rescue groups in our area) usually has an abundant supply of kittens, I signed up to fulfill the wish in the form of a donation, covering all costs, including adoption fee and startup supplies, as long as the individual could “pass the muster” of FAN’s adoption coordinator.

Ms. Charda’ Fenner [pictured], HHF service coordinator, aided us in fulfilling this kitten-wish. She assists the individuals at HHF with personalizing their service plans, helping them budget their finances, and assisting them with carving out the lives they want, so they can be as independent as possible.

FAN kitten Artemis —better known as “Artie”— was selected for his special attributes: talkative, loves humans (so much that he hates to be alone and cries to find you), loves laps and cuddles in bed, demands to be picked up and carried around, curious and brave around loud noises, greets strangers at the door, and sits atop your shoulder like a parrot.

The application and interview process went off without a hitch, and plans progressed for the normal “kitten introduction” process for Artie. Recovered from his neuter surgery (Artie, that is), he was delivered to his new owner. As expected, Artie immediately nosed his way around his new home and jumped in with all four paws, taking to his new human as if they’d known each other all their lives.

Artie’s adopter uses a wheelchair, so special accommodations were made for such things as scooping litter, food and water bowls, toys, and cat trees, including a longterm care plan for kitten Artie in case of any unexpected life circumstances. NOTE: We chose the Omega Paw Large Roll-N-Clean Self-Cleaning Litter Box.

We’re celebrating Artie’s 6-months BIRTHDAY today and this match made in heaven. It warms my heart to know that the work we do brings joy and affirmation —and, yes, love— to so many lives, feline and human alike.

Submitted March 25, 2022

Feral Affairs Network (FAN) is a 501c3 nonprofit. All donations are tax deductible and applied first to any specific project you may wish to support. Additional funds raised, if any, go directly into the medical fund to save more cats and kittens. Our EIN is 81-4251598, and our IRS confirmation letter may be downloaded from our website. Learn more about FAN’s mission, programs, and read about our positive community impact.