When Ruben Lopez needed to relocate about 50 feral cats from his Los Angeles property that were at risk due to construction of new apartment buildings, he took them roughly 90 miles north to Save-a-Life Cat Adoptions in Mojave, California.
And when Lopez heard that the 10-acre ranch was in danger of being shut down, he ended his business dealings in L.A. and took over Save-a-Life, becoming its president four years ago.
“We’ve turned this from a dilapidated place into a tropical oasis,” he said.
Open since 1995, the nonprofit no-kill sanctuary commonly known as Save-a-Life Cat Rescue (and nicknamed the Magic Cat Ranch) is the current home to roughly 100 cats, all of which receive regular vaccinations, Lopez says. That’s a far cry from the 400 felines he recalls being there at the start of his Save-a-Life tenure.
On its website, Save-a-Life Cat Rescue emphasizes that the size of its property is what sets it apart from other organizations, “providing an open home-like atmosphere for the animals.” Lopez adds that instead of cats being housed in separate cages, like at a typical shelter, “we have barns [and greenhouses] for them, and they have room to run and play.”
The Save-a-Life Cat Rescue adoption process is rather straightforward: After a would-be adopter fills out an application, Lopez says he and his staff undertake a screening process “to make sure they have a good home for the cat.”
“We’re a long ways out of town, so it’s harder for us to [adopt out] cats than it would be for someone who is right in the middle of town,” explained Lopez. “Every time we adopt out a cat, I am so happy that we actually found it a forever home.”
In an effort to help cover some of their respective expenses, Save-a-Life Cat Rescue and Community Effort Animal Rescue (which rehabs and rehomes cats, dogs and horses) have teamed up to launch Ventura Treasures, an antique and collectibles store in Lancaster, about 25 miles from Mojave. After being open for a few weeks with irregular days and hours, Ventura Treasures held its official grand opening on November 9 and will be open daily moving forward.
“It went great,” Lopez said of the grand opening. “We have a lot of books, nice glassware and dishes, a lot of clothes and toys. We’re probably more vintage than antique.”
While Save-a-Life Cat Rescue has made tremendous strides during Lopez’s time as president, the organization still needs regular help from the public—and that can be adopting one of the cats or a financial contribution to assist with their care at the sanctuary. In addition to making tax-deductible donations to Save-a-Life Cat Rescue via PayPal, Lopez is asking for items to be donated to Ventura Treasures.