It was the sort of accident that sends chills throughout anyone who has ever run or volunteered at a pet rescue when they hear about it. In the early morning hours of Friday, December 31, an electrical fire broke out in the office of Last Hope Cat Kingdom near Atwater, CA. Smoke poured from a vent in the office into four of the six resident cat rooms. Even though the cats had access doors to the outside, many of them panicked and were not able to escape. Around 150 cats lived at the sanctuary and over 60, many of them seniors and longtime residents, perished.
This was the second devastating heartbreak for Last Hope’s owner, Renate Schmitz. Two and a half years ago, her daughter Ramona was murdered in front of her two children. Ramona’s boyfriend, who was the prime suspect, killed himself a few days later. Renate took in her two granddaughters and took up her daughter’s cause, which was Last Hope. Until her death, the sanctuary had been Ramona’s passion, and Renate kept it running in her honor.
As we all know, small sanctuaries such as Last Hope are not flush with money, and the fire caused at least $25,000 damage, not to mention the anguish of losing so many of its residents. But Renate is determined to rebuild and a temporary structure has gone up to house the surviving cats. Many people are coming through with funds and needed supplies, such as blankets, kitty litter, crates and food. Some who live near Merced County, where Atwater is located, are volunteering their services to get things running again at Last Hope. I am hoping that you will help too.
There is a donation link on Last Hope’s website.
Visit their Facebook page to find out the latest news, and their latest needs.
Sara Cat writes, Sweden says
How horrible! This sounds simlar to what happened here in Sweden a year ago when a cat shelter burned when it was freezing cold. I’m glad that you are telling us about this. They can get help through donations. Thanks to donations and local volunteers, the Swedish cat shelter that burned last year could get going again. So it is possible.
Eric and Flynn says
That is so heartbreaking. We just went to their site via your link. We will get mum to make a donation.
I made the Human pull out her plastic card and send them some green papers, though I don’t quite get how the little plastic card turns into green papers but she says it does so I guess I’ll trust her on that one.
This is just so sad. We hope they can rebuild, but those precious cats who lost their lives…oh that makes me cry.
Cat's Cats says
Such a tragedy, I certainly hope that Renate will be able to rebuild the shelter. A similar thing happened at Christmastime in 2008 when a fire broke out at Oshawa Humane Society (a suburb east of Toronto) and more than 100 animals, mostly cats perished. Two years later I still remember this with great sadness! I wish them the best of luck!
What a tragedy, and we can understand why this would be so devastating..We are glad that they are going to rebuild.
One thing that always worries me is that in case of a fire, our kitties would panic too, and it would be impossible to get to them.It is a worry that continues to cross my mind.
What a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing. Popping in to see how to help:)
Mr Puddy says
That was so terrible ! Thank you for this news. Me and mom will see what we can help.
And I will tweet this news straight away !
That just breaks my heart. I know they will bounce back with lots of love and help.
Fuzzy Tales says
Absolutely heartbreaking. We went and made a small donation to help. 🙁
How very sad that the fire happened at all, and even more so that many cats perished. It is very good and helpful for you to post this information and link, Sparkle.
It is very sad for a family to have had so much heartbreak.
We are sending all of our positive goat thoughts. We wish we had some money but we don’t right now.
We are sorry. If they have fundraisers we would be happy to send soaps.
Oh such a heart breaking story.
Oh no, this is so horrible. Our mommy is very leaky right now. What a tragedy to happen to those poor kitties. We’ll go see what we can do to help out.
Big Baby and Little Boo Boo says
Big Baby and Little Boo Boo at Brawny Cat feel very bad about this so they are sending a dozen of their Scratch’n Slumber Sleeky Loungers down to their cousins at Last Hope.
If anyone else wants to donate one or two, just go to brawnycat.com – Big Baby says she will put a special donation price on them and ship them in your name to the Cat Kingdom for free.
Katnip Lounge says
Mommy and Daddy saw this on the news and they both cried. Thanks for posting a link, Sparkle.
Toby & Leia says
This is heartbreaking. We’ll send what we can.
Hannah and Lucy says
How awful this happened and so many kitties overcome with the smoke or too frightened to
move. We’ll have to have a talk with the mum and see if she will send a little something.
caren gittleman says
thanks so much for posting this….I am going to hurry and share this and see what else I can do. xoxo
The Poupounette says
Thanks for letting us know Sparkle. We stopped by their site with a little something.
Thanks for that information friend. That is such a very sad sad story. How very tragic for the anipals and oomans.
Daisy the Curly Cat says
Oh this is so heartbreaking. Thanks for letting us know, Sparkle, because it looks like they can really use some help.
The Island Cats says
This story broke our hearts when we heard it. We’ll see what we can do to help the kitties.
Noir the Texas Tabby says
I’m makin’ sure Tommy parts with some of her cash–she can hold off Starbucks for a morning or two–these kitties and humans need our help. Thanks for letting us know, Sparkle! You are quite the Super model!
Oh Sparkle, I am so glad you wrote about this. I have a little blurb in my post but this is much better. I didn’t realize that the girl had been murdered and the Mom took over. How wonderful is that. I hope people will donate some money. Thanks for such a good post in hopes that everyone will help some. Take care.
Max the Quilt Cat says
Thanks for letting us know Sparkle. I’ll get HH to go to that donation site when she gets up.
Fui, Suey and Lishy says
Oh my. That is absolutely awful. We send lots of purrs and healing thoughts to all those left to deal with the aftermath.
There was a fire at our Cat Protection Society shelter during the day on Christmas Eve. That is where our Dahlia and a couple of her kittens are still waiting for their homes. We were incredibly lucky that the timing and location meant it was able to be put out without any injury to human or kitty. This just brings it home even more.
Whether for cats or humans, loosing a home is a devastating thing.
Hope they can get new places soon.
The Florida Furkids and Angel Sniffie says
What a terrible thing to have happen. We hope they can collect lots of green papers.
The Florida Furkids and Angel Sniffie