Contact: Lisa Bloch

Donation Made by Mark M. Glickman in Honor of Beloved Cat, Joe Willie

NOVATO, January 20, 2016 – A generous cat lover is enabling the Marin Humane Society (MHS) to provide second chances for hundreds of special cats through the largest financial gift from a living donor in the organization’s 108-year history.

Former Marin resident Mark M. Glickman was inspired by his cat, Joe Willie, who had significant medical needs when Mr. Glickman adopted him 25 years ago. In the years since, Mr. Glickman has been a top supporter of MHS, most recently paying the adoption fees for the first 100 adult cats at Kitty Corner in San Anselmo, the organization’s first satellite adoption center.

“The Joe Willie Project” will fund medical, behavioral and placement assistance at an unprecedented level to promote the adoption of senior cats and other cats with special needs. These cats often languish for months at the shelter and are viewed as unadoptable by many prospective adopters. The Joe Willie Project will change that.

“One of the toughest aspects of caring for animals in a shelter is the amount of time it takes a cat with medical or behavioral challenges to get adopted,” said Nancy McKenney, CEO and president of the Marin Humane Society. “With this remarkable gift, Mark has challenged us to shift the paradigm and remove obstacles so these special cats are more readily adopted. Just last month, we were overjoyed to have a cat adopted that had been with us more than six months. The Joe Willie Project’s goal is to cut that time dramatically by addressing the concerns of potential adopters.”

The Joe Willie Project will fund three important aspects of feline care and protection.

First, it will provide pre- and post-adoption medical assistance for senior cats or others with medical challenges that are either waitlisted until staff veterinarians have time to address the need or, in some cases, put up for adoption “as-is.” Substantial funding will allow MHS to seek assistance from private veterinarians to address health concerns and minimize the amount of time cats spend waiting to become available for adoption.

Second, the gift will allow MHS to address behavioral challenges by hiring an additional part-time cat behavior specialist who can focus on issues that delay adoptions or result in a cat being returned to the shelter. The behavior specialist will significantly expand capacity for MHS’s free cat hotline, in-home visits, adopter conferences, online resources and more. The donation will also pay for construction of five state-of-the-art “kitty condos” specially designed to reduce anxiety in a sometimes-stressful shelter environment.

Finally, The Joe Willie Project will help place “career cats” in safe, caring environments. Career cats are mid-spectrum cats that are not happy as house cats yet not independent enough to live on their own as feral cats. Working with Marin Friends of Ferals, MHS will find adopters who will provide basic shelter, food and veterinary needs for cats in crawl spaces, out buildings, barns or other protected areas. MHS and Marin Friends of Ferals will then coordinate the placement and transition of these cats where they can practice all of their innate feline behaviors in a semi-protected environment.

Mr. Glickman issued the following statement: “Historically, cats have not been treated with the same level of respect, understanding or attention as other animals. For decades, MHS has been at the forefront of this issue, seeking to change those perceptions. I am hopeful that my gift will allow them to continue their work, in new and innovative ways.”

“We are so fortunate Mr. Glickman chose to invest in this unique initiative,” said Robin Rodi, DVM, chair of the MHS Board of Directors. “Our hope is that The Joe Willie Project will demonstrate the impact strategic investments have on finding homes for cats with challenges. We look forward to sharing the results with other shelters throughout the country, so Joe Willie’s legacy leads to thousands of happy homes for these special cats.