As guardians of displaced felines, our mission is to provide a safe haven for cats thereby reducing the homeless population, the shelter euthanasia rates, and by filling a gap in the rescue community as a last resort sanctuary.
Our group consist solely of volunteers who share the passion for helping homeless cats:
- Find loving homes for homeless cats.
- Provide compassionate care to"supposedly unadoptable" cats.
- Assist feral colonies and support to their caretakers with food, shelter and medical needs.
We accomplish our mission through foster and adoption of socialized cats using a comfortable, cage-free environment for unadopted cats, including ferals and those unlikely to find permanent homes.
As feline advocates, we collaborate with local animal welfare groups that support:
- Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) projects that sterilize “community cats” (free-roaming strays) to assist with nutritional, medical, and shelter needs.
- Re-homing owned cats through PetFinder and Facebook.
- Public education on anti-cruelty, the importance of spay/neuter, and care for homeless cats through foster and adoption.
Meet the Board
Sydney J. Klocke, President
I am a retired educator from Illinois. With 38 years in education I taught math, was math department chair, Director of Discipline and Attendance, Associate Principal and Principal. Growing up with dogs all my life and a landlord that said no dogs, my first feline rescue was in 1982. I fell in love and have rescued several cats since then. I did some volunteer work at a shelter in Illinois but became very disenchanted due to all the cats being in cages. So sad. I retired to North Carolina a couple of years ago and soon after discovered FUR. A blessing in disguise.
Marion Dieme, Vice President
Despite a strong, extensive background in Commercial and Residential lending, accounting and financial analyzing, entrepreneurship and business management, I am certain I was saving animal before I could walk. After years of saving dozens and dozens on my own, FUR was a gift to me of like minded people with exactly the floor plan I was looking for. No cages, but rooms!
Jennie Kirby, Treasurer
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, I was an Assistant Vice-President in Banking, Accounting and Investments before moving into Commercial Real Estate with the Georgia Power Company. Never having had a cat until the year 2000, a friend asked if I would like to take a kitten from a litter that her sister had rescued from an empty house. We decided to take two sisters and I fell in love. Since then, my husband Roy and I relocated to North Carolina and now live with our five cats, all rescues. I believe that every cat should have a good home. So glad that I found FUR and hope to make my dream of finding homes for our residents come true….
Megan Hauser, Secretary
Megan was born and raised in North Carolina. She grew up with cats and has adopted two from FUR, Agape and Spot. Megan has a special love for older and special needs kitties. She has been a public health educator for nine years and works for Haywood County Government. Megan studied at East Carolina University and is an avid fan of the Pirates.
Rachel L. West, Co-Founder and Past President
I am an independent, self-employed insurance adjuster for the past 25 years. I currently specialize in catastrophic disaster events but my true love and compassion has always been animals. For many years, prior to the establishment of FUR, I had been rescuing cats and dogs found suffering on the streets with absolutely nowhere acceptable for them to go. I found homes for most of these rescues but the cats were by far the most challenging. It was apparent that cats were way too often misunderstood, unappreciated and mostly unwanted in Western North Carolina. The sad realization that homeless cats here desperately needed a safe haven resulted in a long time, dream come true called F.U.R.
Born in Boston and have lived in New England, Washington, DC and Florida before retiring in beautiful western North Carolina. Educated in journalism, started my career as a newspaper photographer at Florida’s Space Coast photographing events such as the Space Shuttle, local politics and sporting events. I continued in photojournalism as a photo director at Jackson, MS’s Clarion Ledger and then moved to our nation’s capital to work as photo editor at Gannett Co. Inc. and later in a similar position at The Freedom Forum, the world’s largest news foundation that focuses on the First Amendment (www.freedomforum.org). I’m a life-long lover of animals, especially cats and have become a staunch supporter of FUR. Our house in Waynesville is home to 8 loving and spoiled rescue cats!
Dr. Paul Kern
Dr. Paul Kern has been owner and veterinarian at Balsam Animal Hospital in Waynesville for the past 30 years. Born in St Louis, he spent his childhood growing up in several states all over the Southeast finally graduating from high school in Greenville, SC, then pursuing undergraduate studies at Tulane University in New Orleans. He finally realized his dream of becoming a veterinarian upon his graduation from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1980. After a couple of years practicing in New Orleans he longed for the mountains of WNC and returned to Asheville where he had lived as a child to work at the Animal Emergency Clinic. In 1986 he left the emergency clinic to pursue another dream by opening his own practice in Waynesville. Dr Kern joined the board of FUR in April of 2016. Previously he had served on the Haywood County Board of Health from January of 1996 until December of 2004. In his spare time Dr Kern enjoys the company of his wife Trudy, their 2 cats, Fiona and Tashiand 3 dogs Abby, Bistro and Rio. Both Trudy and Dr Kern enjoy riding their BMW motorcycles ( Rio too!) as well as camping and hiking.
Waynesville became my home 20 years ago; moving here from Atlanta to raise my family. Since I was a child, I have loved cats. Though my mother grew weary of kittens hidden in her shoes or tucked safely away in the linen closet, I knew my cat was the cleverest, pleasingly prolific and a hide and seek extraordinaire. My mom developed an appreciation of this cat's many talents and thankfully granted her the nine lives. I also remember a childhood summer I spent taming a "wild" cat, seldom seen, after finding her kittens in our woodpile. Next to impossible, right, but determination prevailed one can of tuna at a time. I will never forget weeks later when Mama Kitty finally let me touch her. My passion was apparent and has been lifelong. Currently, I enjoy my full-time work as a Real Estate Broker with Beverly-Hanks & Associates. My husband Tom and I share our house with three feisty felines, an adorable cockapoo and have six grown children and one grand cat between us.
Texas born and South Carolina raised I moved to the mountains in 2000. From snakes, frogs, and turtles to horses, cats, and dogs I've never been without multiple animals in my life. I worked in the restaurant business for 14 years until my fiance and I purchased The Dog House in 2015. Through the years I've gotten to know Haywood county really well and my love for our mountain community has only grown. The one thing that has always amazed me is how strong our animal support is here. Joining FUR and seeing the countless fur babies they have saved gives me the amazing opportunity to give back to this beautiful community that has given so much to me!