Caye Caulker's Original Animal Sanctuary

About the Founder

“In 2003 I decided to give up my corporate lifestyle in the United States and return to my native land with my three cats. Upon arrival I witnessed many shocking acts of cruelty toward animals that I never imagined could happen in such a beautiful island paradise.

My childhood memories lingered in my mind. I wanted to have a companion animal but my mother would not allow it. Like most Belizeans, she felt animals to be dirty, disease ridden, belong outdoors, and that cats spread asthma and were the devil incarnate.

I recalled my mother telling me that if a black cat passed in front of me, I would have to turn around 9 times to get rid of the bad luck. I always ended up with a headache! As I grew older, I felt ridiculous performing this little act but felt an impulse to continue doing so. The older I became, I would hide so no one would see me acting like a fool. After some time, I decided to test the truth of this black cat superstition. After noticing that nothing bad would happen to me, I realized that it was just a horrible superstition and refrained from ever doing it again.

I remember always trying to befriend a cat when my mother wasn’t looking, or hide scraps of food to feed homeless and neglected cats.

Backed by my love and compassion for animals, along with my experience as a former animal volunteer in New York, I single-handedly began helping one animal after another. I could not ignore the pain and suffering of these animals.

Opening a shelter was one of my dreams while living in the US, but it never materialized. I truly believe in destiny and know I was brought back to this island to do this work with these beautiful animals in need.

It all began when I found and rescued kittens in plastic bags thrown into the water to drown. Coupled with starving cats like the mama catt Masky and her two kittens Peanut and Butter, I recognized that there was a need on the island of Caye Caulker to protect animals from abuse, cruelty and neglect and the idea of the Sanctuary was formed.

Many cats continue to smell food and come near, and the story has been repeated over and over. Today our sanctuary feeds and homes around 80 homeless cats and 3 dogs.

I have welcomed each animal into my care despite the physical, mental, and financial difficulties it takes to care for all these animals.

I have cried along with my sick kittens, not knowing what their fate would be from not receiving proper medical care. Currently, there is no vet on the island. I have cleaned litter, sleeping areas, bowls, fed the animals, and performed countless other responsibilities which accompany caring for them. I have watched my funds grow low, not knowing if the next day I would be able to provide food for everyone.

But despite all these hardships, I have enjoyed the pleasure of watching the animals grow into happy and healthy adults. I have enjoyed watching them play, cuddle and jump all over me and each other. I can’t help but smile even if I am feeling exhausted.

I am so grateful for the chance to help these animals and to be able to give them a fighting chance for a wonderful life.

This work is not glamorous, but it is the most enjoyable, rewarding work I have ever done and I would not change it for the world! I hope you will find it in your heart to help my dream of a better world for the animals of Belize and Chetumal, Mexico come true!”

-Madi Collins


1 Pasero Street
Caye Caulker, Belize
Phone: +501-624-7076