Friday, February 7, 2020

Interview: Deanne Iovan, Ferndale Cat Rescue

Deanne in the middle

Let me introduce you to Deanne Iovan, the Executive Director of The Ferndale Cat Rescue.

The Catfe' Lounge is located at 821 Livernois, Ferndale, MI 48220

1. Tell us about your role as executive director of the Ferndale Cat Rescue, and your journey to that position.
I started as a volunteer in 2014 when the organization was in its infancy. I had been caring for my mother and working for a friend that owned a pet sitting business. She hired a lawyer through the Chamber of Commerce to help her with selling her business. He told her he wanted to start a cat rescue in Ferndale and asked her if she would help get it off the ground. Kristen Schmitt, Ben Long and Angela Fisher were the founders and first board members of FCS. Ben and Kristen are no longer part of the organization but Angela is now our board president. I worked closely with Angela in the beginning delivering cats and food and doing whatever needed done. I planned fundraisers at local businesses and helped facilitate adoptions. I didn’t know what I was doing but Angela was instrumental in guiding me. We still work closely together on budgeting and she supports my efforts as director. After opening the Catfe' Lounge in 2015, the board nominated me to become the director. I have been bumping into walls ever since!  Sometimes I succeed in knocking them down, but I also have a great team of dedicated cat lovers with incredible skills that help this organization succeed. By handling day to day operations, they allow me time to develop relationships in the community. 

2. What events are planned for 2020?
In March 2020 we will be celebrating our 4th annual Cat Cabaret fundraiser at The Rustbelt Market (In Ferndale, a collection of local artists in a retail space). It’s our biggest fundraiser with food, entertainment, an auction, and this year we will have kittens! In addition, we always have events at the Catfe including Bingo and birthday parties. This year I plan to add a monthly Mewvie Night and Cat Karaoke! So stay tuned to our Facebook calendar and don’t miss out.

3. What do you see as the biggest roadblock to our communities helping cats?
A few things…education and legislation. People in our communities desperately want to help animals, but they don’t always know how or don’t have the resources. The good news is that social media and the internet in general has tons of information if people have access. Our communities need to support small non-profits like FCS because we do the heavy lifting and forge lasting relationships with our supporters. We also operate on a tight budget and do not get municipal funding. We rely on volunteers and small donations to get a whole lotta work done. We are efficiency monsters! Animals can no longer be considered property. They are living, breathing, sentient beings that deserve protection and respect. 

4. How many cats own you, and did you grow up with cats?
I live with a grumpy old guy named Tomcat that I rescued outside of my work about 13 years ago. He was the first cat I trapped! He had worms, fleas, and ear mites; all the typical parasites of an outdoor critter. He was intact, so I got him medicated, neutered, and vaccinated, and he was my office cat for a few years until the business closed. Then he came to live with me at home, but unfortunately hated my other cats. Now he has his own room and food bowls and loves to have his face brushed daily.  I inherited Daisy with the home that I moved into in 2018. Her human couldn’t take her to her new condo because they don’t allow pets. I promised I would look after her, but I didn’t see her for the first 3 months I lived in the house; she hid in the basement rafters. Now she is my snuggle buddy. A true testament to the power of patience and fortitude. My third roommate is Pumpkin, a foster failure. He came to me as a poopy kitten and lived in my bathroom for 3 months. He had no control over his leaky bowels. Once he recovered he was adopted and returned twice to FCS. Finally I relented and told him he could stay with me. He is guardian of the Second Story, Protector of the Duvet and Licker of the Bathroom Faucet. He’s happy now and I’m relieved that he’s no longer bouncing from home to home.

I grew up with dogs, many that I found on the street and brought inside and begged my mom to keep. My mother was terribly allergic to cats. Probably dogs too but to a lesser degree. She tolerated this for many years, bless her heart. As an adult I acquired a stray kitten my father had been feeding at his glass shop. I named her Sabina and she lived to be 23! Once I discovered the covenant of cat companionship I never looked back. I still love dogs but I find cats enchanting. They challenge me in different ways. 


Thank you, Deanne, for taking time to let us get to know you and the Ferndale Cat Shelter!

You know that I'm a continuing supporter of Catfe' Lounge, and sing the praises of what you and all of the volunteers do for the cats in Metro Detroit.
Thank you all for your hard work!

At the Catfe' Lounge

Eastside Cats Blog previous posts about the Ferndale Catfe Lounge:


da tabbies o trout towne said...

yur daisy soundz sum what like trout towne dai$y; in her 17 yeerz onlee bout 5 peeplz haz seen her, onlee 3 haz been in de same room with her :) !! ♥♥☺☺

best fishez N heerz hopin lotz oh green paperz iz raized for de shelter ~~~ ☺☺

Sandee said...

What a wonderful Q and A. Anyone that helps kitties is the best of the best.

Have a purrfect day and weekend. My best to your wonderful mom. ♥

Rene said...

Thanks for doing good work for the kitties!

Cathy Keisha said...

Great innerview. Rescue people are my heroes. We have a bunch of them on Next Door that are always there to help when someone finds a lost cat.

Brian said...

Bravo, she is doing such a great job and we hope the success continues!

Three Chatty Cats said...

Nice to meet Deanne and Ferndale Cat Rescue! That's very cool that she started as a volunteer and was recognized and is now the Exec Director!

The Island Cats said...

Great interview! Running a shelter is a lot of hard work and paws up to Deanna for all she does.

Melissa, Mudpie and Angel Truffles (Mochas, Mysteries and Meows) said...

Everyone who works in rescue is a hero in my eyes! Thank you for the wonderful interview.

Darla M Sands said...

Fabulous interview. :) Our Gem City Catfe opened two years ago at the end of February. :) Animal lovers are some of the best people (blog host definitely included).

By the way, milady and fellow blogger, not all pools are chlorinated to high degrees and you shouldn't fear putting on a suit regardless of size. ~hugs~ I am no pretty young thing, and people don't seem to judge. :) Be well!

pilch92 said...

Great interview. Deanne sounds like an amazing woman.

Ivan and Izzy from WMD said...

That was a great interview. We wish them all the luck!

Foley Monster, Pocket and River Song said...

Thank you for this very informative interview

Catscue Cat Mom said...

What a superhero! Thanks for introducing her to us. I just love that little black cat on the shelf, too cute.

Tamago said...

What a great interview! Deanne and her team are so wonderful helping homeless kitties. Yes animals deserve protection and respect...and I’m grateful for people like her xo

Katie Isabella said...

I loved reading this. I'm late here but sure am glad I did get here.

Fr. Tom Fishworthy said...

Wow! Deanne has done so much and has had cat lovers to help along the way. Continued success and all the best! - Tom x, Julie and Bridget

John Bellen said...

That's a relatively young rescue-group. It's good to see new groups starting.