News / Calgary

Rising from the ashes: Calgary’s Cat House gives back after devastating loss

Animal rescue groups benefit after business opts to close their doors for good

The Cat House was destroyed by fire in 2015, and money raised to rebuild the store was donated to the MEOW Foundation after the store's owner decided not to reopen.

Courtesy MEOW Foundation

The Cat House was destroyed by fire in 2015, and money raised to rebuild the store was donated to the MEOW Foundation after the store's owner decided not to reopen.

The Cat House —Calgary’s go-to destination for specialty cat care products— is turning their loss into a major gain for two Alberta animal shelters.

Calgarians gave generously to a crowd funding campaign to rebuild The Cat House after a massive fire destroyed the business in November of 2015.

Despite the best efforts to find a new home for The Cat House, owner, Joanne Wegiel, announced the decision to abandon the traditional brick and mortar storefront that had been operating for more than 24 years and focus on maintaining a smaller online store.

That left more than $26,000 in donations earmarked for reopening the business.

On Sunday, March 19, Wegiel donated more than $11,000 of that money to the MEOW Foundation, a non-profit that is currently fundraising to complete the construction of a new cat rescue and adoption facility in northeast Calgary.

“It was extremely generous of them, it was quite a shock,” said Jason Thomas, board director at MEOW Foundation. “It wasn’t something we had expected.”

Wegiel said The Cat House would also be making a donation in the same amount to the Cochrane and Area Humane Society with the intention of improving their cat rooms, as well as smaller donations to the Alberta Animal Crew Rescue Society, ARTS Senior Animal Rescue and Whisker Rescue Society of Alberta.

Wegiel said the loss of her business has been hard on herself and customers of The Cat House, but said they've found solace in giving back.

“It gives us some comfort to know that some good has come out of the fire,” she said.

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