Last Chance Cat Ranch Suffers Devastating Loss

By Elisa Black-Taylor

The Last Chance Cat Ranch located in Lethbridge, Alberta suffered a devastating loss on March 5. Sixty cats were living in the foster house when a fire broke out. I’ll caution the readers right now that you will definitely need a tissue for this article. It was a difficult decision to write this article, but this rescue needs help.

Last Chance Cat Ranch after fire
This picture may be subject to copyright. It is published here in the interests of the cat sanctuary that now needs financial assistance.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Elizabeth Ginn is the owner of Last Chance, a home that specializes in older cats no one else wants. Elizabeth wasn’t home at the time of the fire. Fortunately her son Silas was, and it’s his heroic act that saved half of the cats in residence. Before fleeing the residence, Silas went through the house opening doors and windows to give the cats a way to escape. He lost everything, including his wallet, to offer the cats a way out.

According to an article on Catster, at least 30 cats died in the fire. The FB auction for last chance cat ranch that burned to the ground page, states that 81 cats lost their lives. I don’t know which figure is correct. The surviving cats are under a vet’s care, with seven or eight listed in critical condition. At least one cat who managed to escape the fire has returned to the ranch. Hopefully more will be found.

Elizabeth and her son are heartbroken. Not only do they have to deal with insurance and the details that will go into rebuilding, they’re having a hard time dealing with the loss of so many little lives. They literally lost everything they had. Here’s a video one of their supporters made.

Rescue groups from all over North America are helping in any way they can. Lethbridge PAW Society (People For Animal Welfare) is collecting donations and is also trying to round up foster homes until the ranch house can be rebuilt.

Although the group is accepting donations, it would be more convenient for those wanting to help to send them Wal-Mart or Costco gift cards. Last Chance Cat Ranch has helped more than 2,500 cats over the years. Now they need help. Their email is eg***@te*********.net. Family Pet Hospital on Mayor Magrath Drive is in charge of treatment of 28 injured cats. Many suffer from facial and paw pad burns, eye ulcers and smoke inhalation.

There are several methods available to those of you who wish to contribute. They are:

  • To donate directly to Last Chance using Paypal, the address is Do************@gm***.com
  • Family Pet Hospital at (403)320-5200
  • Park Ur Paws in Lethbridge is also assisting the family
  • The PAW Society is accepting online donations and gift cards and a tax receipt will be sent for online donations. The link is – (sorry this link is incorrect. It is being investigated). For more information, their website is at Their physical address is Lethbridge PAW Society, O.O. Box 255, Lethbridge, Alberta, T1J3Y5
  • Cash donations are also being accepted at any branch of 1st Choice Savings and Credit Union Ltd. in Lethbridge

If any more information is made available, please list it in the comments. A wish list from Amazon would also be a good idea and I haven’t see that suggested yet.

Let’s keep this family in our thoughts as they try to continue their life’s work after such a tragic accident.

NOTE: This past weekend was when we, in most parts of the U.S., set our clocks ahead an hour. It’s also the time suggested by local fire departments for smoke detector batteries to be replaced. I imagine a lot of people reading this haven’t gotten around to it yet.

After our fire last year, we added several additional smoke detectors, including one with a 10-year battery and one that lights a path. We were very fortunate in that we didn’t lose any cats. Miss Kitty never made it outside. She hid behind the washer. Cats hide when there’s a fire. Thankfully, that was a good place for her since smoke rises. Our Miss Kitty came through with just a bit of smoke on her fur.

Please take this story and determine what your home needs to keep it safe from going through the trauma of losing not only possessions, but your precious cats.


Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

10 thoughts on “Last Chance Cat Ranch Suffers Devastating Loss”

  1. I feel so badly for you Elizabeth and no one here should judge you for how many you had. They’d have to go thru Michael our site owner if anyone said anything negative. When our home caught on fire last year we found the majority under the bed or under a recliner. Without help from 5 neighbors some would have died. I agree the material things mean nothing. I wanted to do this article to warn people of how easily this can happen and also so they can help with vet bills. This is the most tragic story I’ve ever had to cover.

  2. Thank you to everyone for the support given. My home was the main foster home for The Last Chance Cat Ranch which is a not for profit society registered in Alberta. I am not the owner, but the President/Founder of the rescue. We have over 40 foster homes in Lethbridge and area. We have over 100 cats in our rescue. We have an adopotion centre at Park Ur Paws, which is a dog boarding/grooming facility. The majority of our fosters have one or two cats. Currently survivors who need foster are in homes with several other cats. My home had all of the old ones, blind, deaf and a couple that had difficulty walking. They ranged in age from 2 to 20…one 2 year old with IBS, one 5 year old with health issues due to improper vet care when she was a kitten…don’t go to that vet anymore! 15 cats over the age of 12; 20 between 8 and 12; total of 63 at the house. 24 bodies were taken to the crematorium last Saturday, only a few were identifiable. Sweetie the blind cat, Matilda who had difficulty walking and Aurora who was deaf perished…although someone has seen a long haired white cat in the neighbourhood…could be Aurora or Minnou…there could be more out there terrified and hiding. They were not outdoor cats. We had a huge outdoor enclosure built off the back of the house that they had access to, equipped with furniture…they were happy cats. At no time did I ever want to have that many in my house, however, nobody wanted to adopt them due to their age. Some were booked for euthanasia due to health issues and sadly perished in the fire. The fire was electrical, apparently started in the attic. My son had fallen asleep in the living room in front of the television. He got our dogs out and threw cats out the doors and windows….many came back inside as they did not know the outside…some went into the basement to get away from the smoke…they went into the crawl space and then couldn’t get out….it was horrific…will haunt me for the rest of my it is one step at a time…one day at a time…I couldn’t care less about the material objects that went in the is all just stuff…the cats are what matters.

  3. I will donate when I get my check in May this is a loss everyone can feel around the world and for you both to have helped so many now it is our turn to give some of that love and help back. GOD BLESS

  4. I wish I could have found an accurate number on how many cats died. Different sources have different figures. The Catster article said 60 lived in the house and the LCCR page told of 80 death. I imagine it’s a mix of hell and chaos and it’s good they have a lot of help. The vet bills will likely be quite high. Insurance will cover a lot for the structure and personal possessions.

  5. Thank you Elisa for posting the contact info. Situations like this can put the biggest, toughest men on their knees. I know when my Cinder was brought to me badly burned, I literally wanted to throw up. Bad memory.

  6. From what I’ve read the cause is unknown. I did read it should never have happened and they were asking if anyone reading about it was an electrician. As in a circuit breaker should have tripped.

    1. I really think we need to have a handle on this. I don’t want to dig up problems but if the wiring was defective some blame lies with the building’s owner. Was this a private facility? Perhaps building regulations should apply to a private cat rescue facility? We need to prevent it happening again.

      Despite that I empathize with the owner as well as the cats.

  7. Tragic, really. As soon as I have some funds in my PayPal account I’ll donate some which is probably the best way to do from abroad.

    I don’t know whether this teaches us something about running a cat sanctuary. It may have been just bad luck. Do we know the cause of the fire? That would seem to be important.

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