Caye Caulker's Original Animal Sanctuary

Frequently Asked Questions

Why was P.A.W. founded?

On more than one occasion, Madi rescued tiny kittens in plastic bags that were thrown in the water and left there to drown. This made her recognize that there was a need on the island of Caye Caulker to protect animals from abuse, cruelty, and neglect, to control animal population and to educate the public about the humane treatment of all living beings. We have 501(c)(3) status in the US.

How does P.A.W. accomplish the needs to protect animals, control animal population and educate the public?

1. All animals rescued and brought to P.A.W. are first sterilized to control animal population, given a medical check-up and treated for any illnesses and injuries, and receive the best attention & medical care throughout their life or until they are adopted. In addition to providing food and a save haven, we provide lots of love to all our residents.

2. In keeping with our mission of controlling pet overpopulation, P.A.W. conducts TNR which stands for Trap, Neuter and Return. This is a concept where homeless cats are trapped and brought to the P.A.W. for Pets clinic to be sterilized and after recovery they are returned to the place where they were found to live out their normal lives without continuing to multiply. Kittens trapped or very tamed animals are taken in if there is space available at the P.A.W. Sanctuary. We also provide free sterilization to families who have a pet but cannot afford to have them sterilized.

In addition, we bring in charity veterinarians from the United States, Canada & England to provide island residents with vet care for their animals and we travel to villages and towns throughout Belize and Mexico to conduct sterilization campaigns. P.A.W. was the first not-for-profit organization to host the largest teams of vets, vet techs & volunteers in Belize from organizations such as World Vets, Canadian Animal Assistant Team and Helping Paws Across the Border to name a few.

3. P.A.W. educates school children about pet responsibility and the humane treatment of animals by going in to the schools and during our sterilization campaigns throughout Belize and Mexico, we also do presentations on these topics. Our goal is to promote and teach about responsible animal care and guardianship, compassion and respect for all living beings.

Why is P.A.W. a Sanctuary?

After the first set of kittens were rescued from plastic bags, Madi nursed them back to health and began to search for good homes to placed them. After tirelessly trying and listening to what local people had to say, she realized that it would be an impossible task as the majority of individuals did not believe in adoption.

Most locals will not take in cats as domestic pets and consider them pests. And as the kitties aged, it was even more difficult to find the kittens a home. Sadly, Madi recognized that the majority of the animals would probably remain at P.A.W. to live our their normal lives.

Secondly, Madi also recognized that Caye Caulker is not the typical resort town where most tourist fly directly to Belize to lay on the beach, tour and have a great time before flying back home. Most tourists that come here are travellers passing through on their way to tour Central and or South America and therefore cannot adopt because they are not going straight back home.

For these reasons, P.A.W. was founded as a Sanctuary for the animals in need. If it wasn’t for our intervention, many more cats would end up with the same fate as countless others on this island. At P.A.W. we will continue to make a difference everyday in the lives of the unwanted cats of this island – helping one animal at a time.

What type of sanctuary is P.A.W.?

P.A.W. is an organization that has the characteristics of both a sanctuary and a shelter; for instance, we continue to spread the word about finding good homes for our animals that are adoptable, while others that have special needs and that we know will not do well in a home setting will remain as permanent residents.

Our mission is generally to be a safe haven for all animals that enter P.A.W., where the animals receive the best care that our sanctuary can provide. Animals are not bought, sold, or traded, nor are they used for animal testing.

Our resident animals are given the opportunity to behave as naturally as possible in a protective environment. What distinguishes our sanctuary from other institutions such as shelters, is the philosophy that the animal residents come first.

Here at P.A.W., we act on behalf of the animals, and the caregivers work under the notion that all animals in the sanctuary are of equal importance.

Our sanctuary is not open to the public in the sense of a zoo; that is, the public are not allowed unescorted access to any part of our facility. Our sanctuary tries not to allow any activity that would place the animals in an unduly stressful situation.

One of the most important missions of our sanctuary, beyond caring for the animals, is educating the public, as our ultimate goal is to reduce negative associations about cats and to change the way that humans think of, and treat animals, especially our kitty friends.


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