Featured Rescue: Laps and Naps for Senior Cats

Please give a big ACW welcome to Nancy Gavin, from Laps and Naps for Senior Cats!

Nancy, please tell us more about your organization.

  1. How long has the shelter been operating, and what motivated its establishment?

Laps and Naps received its 501(c)(3) certification in February 2020, right before the country shut down. In 2020, we took in one cat, Cimmy, who died of lung cancer eight weeks after we took him in. So, we count 2021 as our first “real” year in business. Co-founder Nancy Gavin had volunteered with rescues in MD and NC for many years, working exclusively with cats. The saddest cases were the senior cats who may have lived their whole lives in the comfort of a home and suddenly found themselves in a shelter because their person had died or had to move to a place where the cat could not go. The senior cats are often overlooked when people adopt, so Nancy wanted to establish a sanctuary that focuses exclusively on senior cats and their needs. The vision is a retirement home for senior cats to live out their lives with dignity, love and comfort. Right now, we continue to be a foster-based rescue and consider ourselves to be a matchmaking service, matching senior cats with the right people so both the person and the cat benefit from the match.

  1. How many cats do you typically have in your care at any given time, and what types of cats do you rescue (e.g., strays, abused, abandoned)?

The numbers vary. As of early August 2023, we have fifteen cats in foster homes, eight cats waiting for an available home, three cats receiving palliative care, and fourteen cats in sanctuary homes. These are all senior cats, ages 8-20-years-old. Many of our cats come to us because their people have died or moved to assisted living, but we have also taken in abandoned cats, stray cats, and cats whose people, for whatever reason, no longer can or are willing to provide for their care. We also pull senior cats from shelters as we have foster homes available. Typically, we pull from the Henderson Co. shelter, but we have pulled from shelters in outlying counties as well. We have also found homes for cats taken to the vet to be euthanized, and someone at the vet office reaches out to us instead.

      3. Are there behavioral assessments to match kitties and potential adopters? What do you look for? Do you offer support to adopters after they take a cat home?

We take great care in matching cats and people. We take into consideration whether the cat has lived with other cats, dogs, and children, and whether they got along or if they would be better as a “one and only”. When approving new foster families and adopters, we typically conduct a home visit or request a video walk-through so we can assess the environment. Sometimes we are able to offer advice on litter box placement and accessibility to windows, etc., before the cat is placed. Window accessibility is very important to us! We want our kitties to have natural light and to be stimulated by nature. Screened porches and catios are an extra bonus! In screening applicants, we also note whether they are willing or capable of giving medication and what cat behaviors they may or may not tolerate. We are always available for consultation after a cat goes to a new home. Our goal is to provide support so the cat can stay in the home, but we take our cats back if it turns out to not be a good fit.

      4. Are there any success stories or particularly heartwarming adoption stories that you’d like to share? We would also be glad to feature a long-term baby who hasn’t found a home yet, in hopes of finding a furever home.

There are SO many stories we could share that it’s hard to pick one.


In May 2022, Laps and Naps received a call about an 11-year-old cat named Cody who had been living alone in a mobile home for three months. He was the devoted companion to an elderly woman who went to the hospital and died three months later. Her nephew had been going in once a day to leave food for Cody and scoop his box, without ever seeing the cat, and he couldn’t provide much information on what Cody looked like, other than he was mostly white. We put a call out for a foster willing to take a chance with this unseen, unknown cat, and a woman stepped forward!

Judy shares a home with her mother and when Judy saw Cody’s story pop up in her feed, she felt compelled to take a chance with the boy. A trap was provided, and the nephew managed to trap Cody inside the mobile home. Cody spent the first few weeks under the mother’s bed and his litter box and food were put under there because he was too terrified to come out. After several months of building his trust, Cody reached the point where he was out all the time, would greet visitors and was very playful. Judy and her mom made him an “official” member of their family in November 2022, right before they traveled to Florida for the winter. Cody is a “snowbird kitty”, loved his time in Florida, and now that they are back home in Hendersonville for the summer, his personality continues to blossom. A feral kitten ran into their home after his mama and siblings were trapped by management, and Cody trained the little guy on proper inside behavior. He is now “Cody’s kitten”. While still not a lap kitty, Cody will share a couch and loves to be brushed.

Cody recently celebrated his 12 th birthday and Judy says they can’t imagine life without him. “He needed us and we needed him!

      5. How do you fund your operations? Do you depend on donations or other sources of funding? How can people contribute to your organization?

The majority of our funding comes from individual donations. We have received a few small grants, including an annual grant from a family foundation to help with veterinary expenses, but we could not stay in business without donations made by individuals. We are 100% volunteer and the majority of our funds go directly to care for our cats in foster and sanctuary homes.

People can contribute through the Donate button on our website (https://lapsandnaps.org/donate), through Venmo (@LapsandNaps), through a FB fundraiser, orby mailing a check to:

Laps and Naps, 151 NC Hwy 9, Ste B #167, Black Mountain, NC 28711.

We will be featuring many other rescues in our WNC area, in the months to come. If you’d like to tell your organization’s story, please contact ashevillecatweirdos@gmail.com 

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