From: Barbara Halla
The Joys and Tribulations of Opening Albania’s First Cat Shelter 

If you wish to donate money, food, or medicine to the first cat shelter in Albania, please visit House of Paws on Instagram. Likewise, you can check out House of Paws if you’re looking to adopt a furry member for your family. 

When the girls behind House of Paws, an Instagram page dedicated to helping stray animals across Albania, opened their account back in September 2020, they didn’t expect the outpouring of support.

“We had been helping strays [around Shkodra] for years using our own money, so we thought why not open an Instagram page and see if others would be interested in helping us, or joining our venture. Because the more of us that there are, the more strays we’ll be able to help,” they say.

“We received a lot of support, and we really didn’t expect so many people to be interested [in our cause], or to find so many animal lovers.”

The successes have been many, with dozens of pets adopted in Albania and abroad, and dozens more provided with medial care and food. Unfortunately, with kitten season in full swing, the need for support far outstrips the volunteers’ means.

Between them, the volunteers behind House of Paws—who reside in the northern city of Shkodra—shelter some thirty cats, and feed dozens more kittens, dogs, and puppies every day. When someone sounds the alarm that a cat has been abandoned and hurt, or a puppy is lost, the girls are ready to patrol the city to find them.

Now, they have issued a public call for donations to help them set up a proper cat shelter in Shkodra, the first of its kind in all of Albania. Those who wish to donate, can do so through PayPal. Or you can contact House of Paws directly on Instagram to arrange for other forms of contribution, through food or medicine. Those who are looking to add a kitten or puppy to their family, there is no better place to adopt from.

House of Paws has one last message to share to potential donors and fans: “We should show more love to animals and do our best to help them, because they are the only ones who remain close to us in our moments of joy and need, and do so selflessly… Animals teach us how to be better people.”

Learn more about the work that House of Paws does: 

Cat 1

This tabby cat is among the first cats adopted by the House of Paws’ makeshift shelter, and it has now become her forever home after a failed adoption to Canada. She was found in the street, bludgeoned in the head with something heavy, leading to seizures that continue to this day. The trauma makes it hard for her to eat, especially dry food, but she loves gentle pets, as well as her cat and human family.

Cat 2

When the volunteers came across 10-year-old Frostie, she was the world’s saddest cat. She wouldn’t stop crying and refused to leave the volunteers’ side even after she had been fed. So there was no way about it: she had to become part of the House of Paws family. She has now been vaccinated and spayed, although because of her age and the time spent on the streets, she requires specialized medical care.

Cat 3

Fujiko is a recent addition to the House of Paws’ makeshift shelter, after a life spent living inside a garbage bin. She was far too shy and far too scared of the other cats, who never allowed her to eat in peace. The volunteers were looking for a cat who needed a family after a request from the UK, when they came across Fujiko, and it felt like destiny. Fujiko has been through a lot and when she was taken to the vet, they weren’t sure that she would make it. But she appears to be on the mend and will soon be travelling to London to be with her forever family.

Please proceed with caution as the images above may be too graphic.

Charlie was found abandoned in the streets, his eyes gauged out and paws broken. He was very hard to catch because past trauma made him wary of humans. While his case far outstripped the abilities of the House of Paws volunteers, they still took him in and to the vet. After several surgeries, once he was a bit more stable, Charlie was transferred to Prishtina and from there, he travelled to Germany where he began a new life with a loving family.

To learn more about House of Paws, how to help, or if you are looking to adopt, please visit their Instagram page