Aiken cat sanctuary home to variety of hybrids

Aiken StandardJanuary 12, 2014 

Bengals are cats that are bred from domesticated and wild breeds.

— Some of the cats are celebrities, others have playful personalities and there are those that are aloof.

Avalo Cat Sanctuary has a number of FI hybrid cats on its roster, Bengal, Chausie, Jungle, Safari and Savannah, and they all call the facility in the Eastern part of Aiken County their home.

The acronym F1 is symbolic for first filial generation of two noticeably different parental types, and many of the F1 cats at Avalo have a history of behavioral issues or physical limitations that preclude them from being kept as house pets. They’re kept in enclosures, some with others or separately, but they’re not aggressive or belligerent.

The Sanctuary is in the process of trying to raise enough money to build a perimeter fence around the sanctuary, and is hopeful that a fundraising mechanism will be in place for the construction of a much-needed barrier.

“There’s a company called Perfect Fence that makes fences specifically for cats with a 45 degree angle up top, so cats can’t jump out,” said Michelle Donlick, Avalo Cat Sanctuary. “We could probably figure out how to make one ourselves, but this comes prefabricated. Fencing is expensive regardless, so it’s probably going to be $5,000-$10,000. The cats are not going to hurt anyone, they’re more scared when they leave their enclosures, but it will help prevent certain situations.”

The Chausies were featured on Animal Planet Cats 101, and may enjoy celebrity status, but they’re not the only felines who’ve been able to win a series of hearts with their inspirational personalities.

In some states and jurisdictions, all hybrid cats are illegal, and in some states cats F4 and higher are legal, and the earlier cats are illegal, said Donlick.

“I believe with the right person, they’re all personable and all manageable,” 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. The cat sanctuary is a 501©(3) nonprofit organization.

For more information about the Avalo Cat Sanctuary, call 843-819-8802, or visit

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