Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Milo’s Sanctuary- Making a Difference for Special Needs Cats, A Guest Blog By Dawn Miklich

From  Dawn Miklich: It was when I was adopting a diabetic cat that I found out about Milo’s Sanctuary.  They picked him up, got him vet checked and then got him on the plane to fly to me.  With special needs pets having a special place in my heart, I was thrilled to learn Milo’s Sanctuary’s mission is to help special needs cats.  Michele, the founder, was kind enough to share some information about her organization and the work it does.

How did Milo's Sanctuary get started and how does it help cats?

Milo’s Sanctuary was started back in 2004. I had been fostering for other cat rescues but saw that so many special needs cats and kittens were being left behind in shelters and abandoned on the streets with nowhere to go. I understood from a rescue point of view why rescues would take the cat families or adoptable cats but it just broke my heart to see these innocent creatures being killed because no one wanted them because they weren’t “perfect” at least in what our society deemed as “perfection”.


I had just finished veterinarian technician school and had the medical knowledge to be able to take care of these special needs cats and so set to work helping to create Milo’s. Of course we rescued at that time what I call the “regular” or “normal” cats as well, we took in cat families, orphaned kittens and other displaced felines that had no special needs other than needing a forever home. For 5 years we did regular adoption events but at the end of those five years I had to take a look at what I was doing, I had moved away from the special needs cats and soon realized that I had to re-focus my energy and Milo’s mission and dedicate our resources to what we had originally intended. I stopped doing a regular adoption event in the Spring of this year. We still have some cats that need forever homes without any special needs but we do adoptions solely through word of mouth, Petfinder and the occasional special event that we either create or are invited to.

We are strictly a special needs rescue and when we have room we take in blind, disabled, seniors, abused or cats with terminal illnesses. Unfortunately we are not able to take in FELV positive cats as we do not have any isolation space for them, but we do take in cats with cancer, diabetes, etc. Because we foster solely in our homes our space and resources are limited. If we are asked to take in a special needs cat and we do not have space, we do everything we can to get it into another rescue or into a forever home.

How did Milo’s Sanctuary get its name?

Milo’s Sanctuary was named after one very special cat we rescued. I met Milo back in 2003, he was actually a hybrid wild cat living in a tiny apartment with a human who had no idea how to take care of a 30 pound Jungle Cat hybrid - somehow he got my information and asked me to help or he was going to euthanize him. Another reason of many I strongly believe that hybrid animals should not be bred, sold or kept as household pets. People get them because they look "cool" but not knowing anything about their care or special diets, behaviors, etc. These animals often end up killed or dumped because when the cute little "cub" grows up to be a very aggressive 30 pound cat with wild behaviors and they have no idea what to do with them.

A friend, who helped create Milo’s Sanctuary, and I show up at this person’s apartment and somehow managed to get this huge freaked out wild cat into a carrier and to my vet, who happened to be an expert with exotics. We found a sanctuary in Minnesota who agreed to take Milo and where he still resides today. My friend wanted to name the group after him since he was the first cat we "officially" rescued together and I agreed.

Do you have any special stories about any of the cats you have helped?

There are so many wonderful stories I could write about them all day but the one that I think really states what Milo’s is about is the story of Nuala, she’s our “poster cat”. Nuala was brought to us by a wonderful woman who had found out about her when visiting her sister in Las Vegas. Nuala had literally seen her cat brother tortured to death in front of her eyes and when the sorry excuse for a human had killed her brother he then tortured her but was interrupted before he could finish, leaving her permanently blind and with severe kidney trauma due to blunt force injuries to her head and body. We of course immediately agreed to take her. It was touch and go for a while and she had to have one eye removed almost immediately due to the damage but after a lot of medical care, TLC and her desire to live, she pulled through. That was four years ago. Today she is our “greeter” and adores humans and other cats. We are so blessed to have this special angel as part of our Lifetime Care Program and to me she personifies why I started Milo’s and what we do here on a daily basis.

With so many cats looking for homes, do you find it difficult to find homes for those with special needs?

We very rarely adopt out our special needs cats or kittens, due to the nature of what we do. Sadly, most are not suitable for re-homing. When we take one into Milo’s Lifetime Care Program we make the promise to them that they will have care and a safe haven for the remainder of their lives with us.

If someone is interested in adopting a special needs cat or kitten we are always more than willing to help find one that is in need of rescue.

How many cats have you helped since you started?

Milo’s has rescued and re-homed over 500 cats in 5 years and that doesn’t include the ones that we have helped to rescue via networking, or are in our Lifetime Care Program.


How can people help Milo's Sanctuary?

There are so many ways people can get involved, of course monetary donations are always welcomed and needed since our vet bills run on average $1,500/month. We also have a wonderful sponsorship program where people can sponsor one of our special needs cats. We are always looking for people to help with fundraising ideas, and grant writing and research. We would love someone to help us start a newsletter. If anyone is interested in more about Milo’s, you can visit our website at http://www.milossanctuary.org or find us on Facebook. We have all kinds of things going on all the time!

Dawn Miklich is lucky that her zoo crew of cats, dogs, ferrets, parrots and one bunny share their house with her and occasionally allow her to take a break from her duties as their servant to blog at afFURmation and Pet Product Review.


  1. Special-needs cats are simply special! What a wonderful rescue organization, and so very much needed. Kudos for all the work you do, and best of wishes to all your little angels!

  2. Oh Wow !!! Me and Mom almost cry , we overwhelmed ! We are so happy for all special kitties got a special care and need from Milo's Sanctuary !

    To do this ! took a lots of affords and times and love plus long term commitment.

    Thanks million times to Dawn Miklich, What a wonderful pawson ! and Thanks Caren. Your post made my day to know in other side of the world, Special kitties have great pawson who care and save them !


  3. I wish I owned my home, with lots of land, so I could help needy animals.

  4. Aunty Caren,
    Mama would love to help with the newsletter, if they're willing to accept an out of country editor/writer. purrr....meow!

  5. What a wonderful post and a wonderful mission. Kudos to Milo's Place.

    pawhugs, Max

  6. Oh Nuala. :-( What a beauty but such a history, poor baby! Thank you lovely Caren and Dawn for having the amazing Michele write about Milo's Sanctuary. What an amazing organisation. Good luck with you all and purrs and hugs to all these amazing kitties you rescue, rehabilitate and care for.

    Take care

  7. The world would be much better if there are more people like Dawn Miklich. She is a wonderful lady!

  8. To everyone I am sure Dawn and Michele will love your beautiful words. This post was beautifully written and I agree brought me to tears. @Cat From Sydney, I am sure if you contact them at the link at the bottom of this post they will be more than happy to hear from you!@AlittleSprite, I always say the same thing...that if I ever won the lottery I would have acres and acres and take in every animal that I was able to. @Mr.Puddy oh yes there are TONS of places in the U.S. that do their best for animals in need every day!!

    If I didn't answer individually I am sorry, your insight and comments are appreciated as always!!

  9. That is a very special place and very special people. Thanks to all the work they do and in finding the special needs kitties a home.. Hugs GJ xx

  10. Special-needs pets (us included) give back lots - special complete love - to the one who care.
    Our human especially love 'Roo'.
    We'll hop over to milossanctuary.
    Thanks Caren & Cody for sharing this. Purrs!

  11. This brought tears of anger over the cruelty to beautiful Nuala and joy from open arms and hearts. Purrs to Dawn for this guest post. We're sharing on FB.

  12. @Layla beautifully stated (as always), THANK YOU...you are among the most caring souls that I know ((((hugs)))

    @The Chair Speaks I THANK YOU!!! (((((hugs))))))

    @GJ I couldn't agree more!

  13. What a great organization! We just fell in love with Roo.

    Nubbin wiggles,

  14. That certainly was a beautiful post and story about that fantastic place. I am going to visit them and also I wouldn't mind at all doing a newsletter for them. I love to help places like that but have no money since I have so darn many animals of my own. Thanks so much for this guest post.

  15. What a wonderful sanctuary!

    Looking at Nuala and reading her tragic story choked me up; I just can't believe we live in a world with such sorry excuses for human beings. That man will become a serial killer of humans if he hasn't already.

    I am so thankful that places like Milo's exist for those less fortunate souls.

  16. @Julia thank you for your insightful comment as well...it is awful what some scum of the earth do to animals. They should have done to them what they do to these poor defenseless beings.

    @Marg if you contact them on Facebook or go to the link at the bottom of the blog post I bet you can contact them there about helping with a newsletter. That is a wonderful gesture.

    @Oskar it most certainly is!

  17. Thank you for all the nice comments! I'm always amazed at the difference people can make especially for animals. When I found out what Milo's did, it really touched me.

    A big thank you to Caren for letting me share about Milo's Sanctuary on Cat Chat with Caren & Cody.

    Thank you Cat from Sydney and Marg for offering to help with a newsletter. Please visit their Facebook page or contact Michele at miloscats @ sbcglobal.com (remove spaces) You can also visit their website to find other ways to help. Thank you!!

  18. @Dawn you are most welcome and we THANK YOU for introducing Michele and Milo's Sanctuary to all of us!

  19. It's wonderful to learn of a sanctuary for special needs cats. You've inspired me start my own nonprofit to focus on EDUCATION, which I believe is critical to reverse homeless pet population. In addition the mission will also include low cost TNR and "M"--. maintenance--feeding and managing colonies of cats. I'm learning the mountain is high with obstacles to start a nonprofit, but I will do it! We have to reverse the homeless pet population which is increasing past two years. Continued success to Milo's Sanctuary! Many blessings.

  20. I want to thank Dawn for first writing this piece, beautifully done and for Caren for publishing it and making it look gorgeous. A beautiful special needs diabetic cat brought Dawn and I together and have helped to forge a new friendship. Nothing better in the world than that, out of something so tragic (his first human mom passed away very suddenly & Dawn agreed to adopt him) has grown something so special. Thanks to all of you for your kind comments & I would love help with the newsletter so feel free to contact me at miloscats@sbcglobal.net I'm blessed to be able to do what I do because of people like all of you!

  21. Wow! hat a great mission and blessed people!!!! I´m sincerelly happy to know about them!

  22. Oh what a wonderful story! I love Nuala the Greeter Cat (though her story maded the Human all leaky). I think this might be the place that the Human gives her Christmas $ to this year. (Well, after she buys me ONE present ;-)

  23. (((((Spitty)))) even if you don't like to show it, you are one sensitive kitty!

    @Repositorio, that makes two of us!

    @Michele, you are too kind...it is YOU and DAWN and all who help YOU do the selfless things that YOU do who should be honored. I am beyond PROUD to feature you!

    @Christine (((((hugs))))) and blessings to you!!!

  24. It's good to know that not only bad people are in this world. What a wonderful idea to create a home for sick and disabled cats !

  25. God bless you in the work you are doing