WAGENER — Everyone needs to find a place where they feel welcome and enjoy a sense of belonging as if they’re at home. The Avalo Cat Sanctuary is such a place.

The facility is a sanctuary for homeward cats, who have nowhere else to go, said Michelle Donlick, Avalo Cat Sanctuary founder.

Avalo Cat Sanctuary provides a safe haven for small, domesticated and exotic hybrid cats, with many of those now in residence at the facility coming from a variety of situations including those that have been seriously injured, need special medical attention, have behavioral issues, rescues or those who are no longer able to live with their caring owners. A number of the cats’ former owners continue to provide financial support.

The paperwork to make the sanctuary a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization was recently filed, and the facility should receive their status designation in the next few months.

“A CPA saw the last article (in the Aiken Standard), and he’s done 501s, so he offered to do it as part of a donation,” said Donlick. “He came out for a tour with his wife and is a volunteer at the Columbia Zoo. He loves cats. He donates every month and is one of our biggest supporters.”

There’s also been an increase in the numbers of residents at the sanctuary, and those felines get to enjoy the accommodations of the cat codominiums, which have air conditioning and feature several other amenities making for a comfortable and welcoming quality of life. There have been several additions to the enclosures, which are primarily outdoors but are still separate condos. Some of the cats have to be contained within the enclosures and kept separate from other cats because they may cause problems. The more closely they’re related to their wild ancestors, the more pronounced their prey instinct and catlike behavior, said Donlick.

A number of the cats came from situations where they have been socially neglected, not handled or may have other issues. The sanctuary took on eight Bengal cats from a hoarder in Florida last spring, but the cats have adjusted, have transitioned to happy and healthy lives, and they are what Donlick described as awesome cats.

“People can always call me if they’re interested in coming out to meet any of the cats,” said Donlick.

Those who wish to make donations to the sanctuary, either monetary, in building supplies or other cat accessories and pet products may do so, and they’re tax deductible.

For more information about the Avalo Cat Sanctuary, call (843) 819-8802, or visit avalocatsanctuary.com.