By Janet McAfee

Sometimes the journey to a “furever” home takes a little longer for a homeless animal.   Rafiki, the handsome orange tabby boy pictured here, has been available for adoption for almost 9 months.  Even during the current pandemic when folks are clamoring to adopt pets for comfort and companionship, the phone does not ring for Rafiki.

As animal lovers know, every cat and dog has their own unique personality.  Some cats, like Rafiki, have traits that differ from the stereotype of cuddly lap-sitting cats.  Rafiki is very independent and needs to be the only cat in his household.  This handsome boy is truly a “prince of the palace”.  We hope sharing his story will find Rafiki the “purrfect” home because there is the right home for every homeless cat.  There is someone out there, currently without other cats, who would be thrilled to have independent Rafiki join their household.

Here is Rafiki’s story, in the hopes it will bring a happy ending to his journey.  David and Leigh Kirk, operators of ForeverMoew cat rescue, became aware of Rafiki’s plight in our local Riverside county shelter.  This unclaimed stray kitty, like many cats in shelters, became stressed being confined in a small kennel.  The couple was concerned he was unlikely to be adopted from the shelter and feared his days there were numbered.  They rescued Rafiki, arranged for him to be vetted and neutered, and placed him in a wonderful foster home.


Leigh describes this special cat, “Rafiki is a funny boy with a lot of personality.  First and foremost, he is a high energy cat who loves interactive play.  He needs high levels of stimulation and activity.  His dream home would have a catio or cat safe porch like he has at ForeverMeow.  He is a very intelligent cat.  He figured out how to open cabinet doors and helps himself to a nap inside the cabinets, resting on soft things.”

Leigh tells more about Rafiki’s personality, “He is social, but likes affection on his own terms.  For example, when foster dad John Marin is painting, Rafiki will come to lay and nap at his feet, touching him.  He has an independent streak that way.  He likes closeness but is not a cuddly cat.  He lets you pet him when he feels like it.  He lets foster dad Michael Brown hold him like a baby, so sometimes he will tolerate physical affection, but on his own terms.  He needs someone to respect him for his likes and dislikes and for who he is – which is not a cuddly cat – and that needs to be okay.  He also needs to be the ONLY CAT.  We’ve tried a few integrations, but he doesn’t know how to play nice with other cats.”

Foster dad Michael Brown weighs in, “Rafiki decides everything, he is in charge!  He makes it clear when he wants attention and when he doesn’t.  He recently started going in the bathroom and meowing to let us know he wants the sink faucet turned on.  His other hobby is sitting on a window sill and surveying everything going on outside.  Rafiki shies away when adopters first come to meet him, and most people want a cat they can cuddle.  While he likes people being around, he does not need them to pay him lots of attention.  I believe the best home for him is with someone who is calm and not high energy.”  During the past 2 years Michael and John fostered 7 other cats that were happily adopted.  Rafiki remains their longest foster resident.

Rafiki is a young boy at just 2 years old.  Kept safely indoors and provided with good care, he can easily live to be 20 years old.  This independent kitty will do well when you return to work full time.  He would also be a great match for those keeping busy working at home.  Like almost every feline, Rafiki is diligent about his potty training and always uses the litter box.  If you seek a low maintenance pet, a cat like Rafiki would be a great choice.  There is no time better than now to give a homeless animal a second chance home.   

Be the first to call for Rafiki.  Call (760) 335-6767 to meet this special cat who presently resides in a Coachella Valley foster home.  If you cannot adopt at this time, consider making a tax deductible donation to this worthy charity at to help them save the lives of more cats.  Sometimes the best things come to those who wait, and paws are crossed that will soon come true for this deserving fellow.

Below is a partial list of shelters and rescues in the Inland Empire with animals for adoption. You can view most of their animals online in advance of calling.  If you cannot adopt right now, consider making a donation to one of the private rescues that rely on those funds.

COACHELLA VALLEY ANIMAL CAMPUS – This large county shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt.  You can view the animals at all 4 Riverside county shelters at, and get the ID number of the animal you want to meet. Email them with the animal’s ID number at and call (760) 343-3644. Located at 72050 Pet Land Place, Thousand Palms. (Public)

PALM SPRINGS ANIMAL SHELTER – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt.  They schedule appointments Wednesday through Monday, closed on Tuesday.  View their animals online at, 4575 E. Mesquite Ave, Palm Springs, (760) 416-5718. (Public)

ANIMAL SAMARITANS – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt.  View their animals at  Email to foster.  Located at 72307 Ramon Rd, Thousand Palms, (760) 601-3918.  (Private)

CALIFORNIA PAWS RESCUE  – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. Located at 73650 Dinah Shore, Palm Desert.  View their animals at, (760) 656-8833.  (Private)

HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE COACHELLA VALLEY – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt a dog or cat.  View their animals at Located at 17825 N. Indian Canyon, Palm Springs, (760) 329-0203.  (Private)

KITTYLAND – The shelter is closed so call for an appointment to adopt a cat.  Located at 67600 18th Avenue, Desert Hot Springs,, (760) 251-2700.  (Private)

FOREVER MEOW – Foster based  rescue for cats located in Rancho Mirage.  Contact them through website, or call (760) 335-6767. (Private)

LOVING ALL ANIMALS – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. Located at 83496 Avenue 51, Coachella,, (760) 834-7000. (Private)

MORONGO BASIN HUMANE SOCIETY – Located at 4646 Sun View Rd, Joshua Tree,, call between 11am-4pm for updates (760) 366-3786 (Private)

CITY OF SAN BERNARDINO ANIMAL SHELTER – Shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt.  Hours for adoption 10am – 4pm Tuesday thru Sat. Google “City of San Bernardino Animal Shelter” for website to view animals and get the ID number of the animal you want to meet.  Located at 333 Chandler Place, San Bernardino, (909) 384-1304 or (909) 384-7272. (Public)

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY ANIMAL SHELTER AT DEVORE – Shelter closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. Call (909) 386-9280 daily between 9am & 5pm.  View animals at and get the ID number of animal you want to meet. Located at 19777 Shelter Way, San Bernardino (Public).

DREAM TEAM ANGELS RESCUE – Foster based rescue located in Grand Terrace/San Bernardino area.  Contact them through website, (360) 688-8884. (Private)