Susan Hanus, executive director of Cat Depot

by | Jul 12, 2023

Susan Hanus–executive director of Cat Depot, a unique feline-only shelter in Sarasota—recalls when she first became a cat person. Hanus has remained staunchly feline-friendly ever since, though, she explains, she stopped living with them when it turned out one of her kids is allergic to cats. Hanus outlines some of the traits that help make Cat Depot a distinctive operation, including offering affordable (cat specific) veterinary care, and the food bank the shelter maintains. We address 20 Years, 20,000 Cats, the Depot’s catchy tagline and that it means, over two decades’ time, the shelter has carried out the better part of 20,000 adoptions. We spend more than a little time discussing a prestigious grant, and corresponding national recognition, that Cat Depot received in June. Pets for the Elderly (PFE)–a nonprofit organization that pays a portion of the fee for senior citizens to adopt afrom a participating animal shelter—announced they had decided to partner with the Sarasota facility. We examine that this was notable in a number of ways, including that PFE has proven to be highly selective in choosing its shelters, an honor further magnified by Cat Depot being the sole cat-only operation selected. The conversation touched on how it’s not only a huge accolade, but this PFE/Cat Depot alliance serves a community with a sizable contingent of senior citizens—Hanus and I both refer to a study indicating Sarasota has one of nation’s highest proportion of people age 65 and older, at 34% of the population) who may now find themselves in a much better position to adopt a feline companion. And Hanus notes that, just in the first month, the PFE grant spurred a big surge in adoptions there, including ones not covered by the grant, but apparently as a ripple effect from the PFE-related marketing. Six months into her tenure as executive director, Hanus—who has an MBA, another master’s in communication, and extensive business experience–articulates her vision of leading Cat Depot as one would a business enterprise, likening those she works with (and for) to shareholders, and so on. (,,

ALSO: I spoke briefly with Julie Dennis, the vice-president of RVR Horse Rescue, a Plant City rescue dedicated to saving and rehabilitating horses that have suffered from neglect, abuse, or injury. On Saturday, July 15, RVR was slated to host a “Painting With Minis” event, a fundraiser in which attendees spend time with some of the rescue’s mini horses and mini donkeys. Then, those who chose to (and have purchased the corresponding ticket) paint pictures of noted mini donkey, Burrito. Come on, it’s a mini donkey, named Burrito! “Painting With Minis” also includes food, and a tour of the RVR facility, and the proceeds help underwrite the cost of rescuing and rehabilitating horses and the other expenses of operating RVR Horse Rescue. (,,

COMEDY CORNER: Nate Bargatze’s “Fat Cat” (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Soldier”


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