Meet The 'Honorary Cat Grandpa' – You Won't Believe What Happened After His Photos Went Viral

We would like you to meet 75-year-old Terry Lauerman from De Pere, WI. You have probably already seen his photographs. If not, let’s catch you up on this adorable cat grandpa.

You see, he volunteers at Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary in Green Bay. The shelter specializes in cats with special needs that ordinarily don’t have a chance. At the shelter, Terry brushes the kitties nearly every day. Well, until he drifts off to sleep, that is. The staff there absolutely adore him, so they snapped a few photos and shared them online. It didn’t take long for the sweet photographs to go viral and break the internet — you won’t believe what happened next, though.


According to the shelter, Terry showed up one day and told them he wanted to volunteer to brush the cats. Eventually, he started to show up at the shelter nearly every single day.

Image from Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary via Facebook

“He brushes all of the cats and can tell you about all of their likes and dislikes,” wrote the Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary. “He also accidentally falls asleep most days. We don’t mind — the cats need this! Terry is a wonderful volunteer.”

it didn’t take long for the shelter to get a collection of photographs of the man napping with all sorts of kitties. It’s what happened after the shelter posted those photos online, though, that’s going to blow your mind and make your day.


The photos were posted about two weeks ago. At first, the post got so much attention that the sanctuary’s computer nearly crashed — it couldn’t keep up with the comments. The small non-profit’s website even crashed entirely for a short time because the server couldn’t handle the 1000 visits it was getting per second.

Image from Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary via Facebook

In the comments section of the post, the sanctuary dubbed Terry “the cat Grandpa.” After that, it was game on. People want him to appear on the Ellen Degeneres Show, and others want a calendar, a couple of people nominated him for president, and keep your eyes open for t-shirts.

What happened after Terry found out about his fame, though, is even more heartwarming than the naps and viral photographs.


The people at Safe Haven posted in the comment section that they told Terry he was famous. He was shocked that photos of him napping with kitties garnered so much attention (we aren’t, they are adorable). He didn’t much care about the fame, though — Terry only said,

“Now, if all those people would just donate $5 to help the kitties, that would make such a big difference!”

Image from Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary via Facebook

As soon as the internet read that little nugget, well, you can probably guess what happened next.


According to an article we found on BBC, Terry’s popularity and this post have raised, as of September 23rd, $30,000 for the sanctuary. Elizabeth Feldhausen, the 27-year-old that started the sanctuary says the money will be put to good use. She plans on fixing up the “draughty” old building to make it warmer for the kitties. Additionally, she wants to add more quarantine areas so they can take in even more cats.

And all this happened because of Terry and his adorable catnaps. So what does Terry, who doesn’t own a computer or a phone, have to say about all this?

“I fall asleep a lot but I never thought this was going to happen!”

And there you have it, folks. This humble former Spanish teacher can’t wrap his head around why he’s famous or how it happened — but that doesn’t much matter to Terry. He’s just glad he helped raise so much money for the kitties. And he doesn’t plan to stop brushing them anytime soon, either. If you want to donate to the sanctuary in Terry’s name, click here.

Share this with your friends to bring a smile to their faces too.

Featured Image from Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary via Facebook

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