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Owl & The PussyCat ~ Animal Sanctuary

We've been following The Owl & The PussyCat Animal Sanctuary for a long time now. Being an animal lover myself I tend to follow a lot of rescue pages, especially after the horrific bushfires here in Australia. It was so inspiring to see so many sanctuaries take in hundreds of animal in need. My favourite motto is "Be Kind to All Kinds" and The Owl & The PussyCat Sanctuary definitely go above and beyond to support that motto of mine. Read on to find out more about the family behind the sanctuary...
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Hello! My name is B Starbright (just the letter B!) I own and run a farmed animal sanctuary - The Owl & The PussyCat Farm Animal Sanctuary - in the Byron Bay region of Australia. We provide a loving haven for neglected/starved/unwanted farmed animals. My partner and I are actually graphic designers by trade, and it’s this work that funds the Sanctuary. We’re entirely family-run (we have 2 daughters 8 and 14 years old) and we’re 100% self-funded… we don't get any funding from anywhere else. COVID has been a really difficult time. We had a huge downturn in work, but on the bright side, it have us more time to work with our rescue animals. 

We know that you helped a lot during the horrific Aussie Bushfires last year. How did the idea of Owl & Pussycat concept come about?
The birth of the Sanctuary has been pretty organic and it happened very quickly. Especially during the bushfires when we evacuated a lot of animals (and humans) to the safety of the Sanctuary and then a number of the animals stayed on to become permanent residents due to their owners struggling in the drought. We actually lost everything in the Black Saturday Bushfires in Kinglake, Vic about 11 years ago. One of the reasons why we moved north was because every summer I was getting more and more anxious about the bushfire threat. So back in November, when the fires were really bad in the Northern Rivers, I knew we needed to help as much as we could… even just for my own mental health!!!!
Wow that's such an incredible story.
Do you have a fave evacuation animal?
My favourite evacuation was a donkey family and their humans. Little baby Bonnie (a 3 week old donkey) was too small to safely travel in the horse float, so she rode in the back of our car with me. It was a crazy, intense time, but I was so grateful that we could do something to help. Every animal that has come through our gates has a unique personality and story to tell. We spend our days juggling paid work, the kids and the residents.
We'd love to know a little about the animals on the farm and their stories? 
Solstice and King Winter were just babies when they were herded onto a truck along with 50 of their pony family members. They were bound for the slaughter yards. And with only 30 minutes to spare before the dog meat traders got their hands on them, enough money was raised to outbid the ‘doggers’ and these little boys were safe. We have a massive overbreeding problem here in Australia (and in most parts of the world) ... with so many beautiful beings ending up unwanted and sent to slaughter.
Another success story is little Jasper, the old shetland pony. It was only a few short months ago after coming into our care that he wouldn’t let us touch him. In fact, we couldn’t get near him without him kicking with his hind legs! But it was because he was living in constant pain. Poor little Jasper had a chronic eye infection in both of his eyes. They were ulcerated and weeping. It must have been so painful for him. But with a lot of patience, love and treats, we were able to gently bathe and treat his eyes. It didn’t take long before they were completely healed and he was a much happier boy.
Twinkle Toes, and the rest of his 3 generation cow family found their way to the Sanctuary after the macadamia farmer who owned them no longer needed as many “lawn mowers” during the drought last year. Farmer Graeme had booked a truck to take these beautiful beings to the slaughter yards, but at the last minute he had a change of heart and asked the driver to bring them to us instead. He was a scared little calf when he first arrived about a year ago, but now he absolutely loves cuddles and massages. He even enjoys his ‘beauty treatments’ … we routinely have to pop eye cream around his eyes to protect him from insect bites. Cows are such gentle beings. Once they feel safe and you gain their trust, they love nothing better than cuddles. They also love to be sung to...especially gentle lullabies.
The youngest resident to arrive so far is little Peppi, who was just a 5 day old 'bobby calf' when he arrived (bobby calves are boy babies and are considered ‘waste products’ by the dairy industry). He came to the Sanctuary along with his cousin, Sunny, and was at death's door due to the negligence of a so-called “animal rescuer”! Peppi and Sunny are big, strong boys now but they are still my babies. 
Many of the chickens and ducks who now call the Sanctuary home were rescued from intensive farming situations where they never saw the light of day. A number of the ducks had never even seen a body of water before coming to us, let alone been able to swim, splash and dabble as they are meant to. Nearly all of the chickens arrived with most of their features missing and had chronic health conditions. Now all of our feathered family are in fabulous health and spend their days free ranging and foraging around the paddocks and dams.
When we took over the care of Gemma, a super gentle ex-racehorse, we had to be extremely careful to start feeding her very tiny amounts every couple of hours to get her used to a regular feeding schedule. This was very nerve wracking as she had an extremely damaged digestive system. She also had a huge parasite burden when she arrived. so once she was strong enough, the vet advised that we worm her along with the rest of the herd. but 36 hours after treating her she suffered a terrible bought of ‘colic’ which can be fatal. We think that the treatment must have tipped her fragile system over the edge. It was one of the longest, scariest nights of my life but she pulled through and bounced back well. Not long after she arrived Gem also had a horsey mani-pedi, her teeth done and a much needed operation. Bloods were also taken and they came back all clear so we're super excited that there's no underlying diseases. Healing Gem is like peeling back the layers of an onion…just as we get on top of one thing, something else presents itself. We are now focusing on keeping her as comfortable as possible in her golden years… she’s in her mid-30s!
Dusty is a ‘brumby’, an Australian wild horse. Along with Matilda (who we believe to be her mother), Dusty was rescued from the Mt Kosciuszko National Park where our government undertakes inhumane, aerial ‘culls' of these beautiful beings. Dusty was just a little foal when she left her mountain home. We can only imagine the fear and confusion she and Matilda must have felt as they were herded onto that truck. they had no way of knowing that they would be safe. Ever since, Dusty had been pretty much terrified of people….scared and sometimes aggressive. Horses are flight (sometimes fight or freeze) animals. They have amazing memories and are incredibly sensitive beings. For many, it takes an extremely long time ... and a patient, gentle human to help them to trust again after trauma. but Dusty got there! and so did Matilda!! They finally trust, love and enjoy us. This means we can now provide them with all the care and attention they needs to thrive and live their best lives.

Edit: We have a lot more residents now including more cows, ducks, chickens and the addition of some goats and sheep .... all rescues. 

Can another visit the farm?  What do you want them to experience?
Yes! A visit to the Sanctuary gives guests and tour visitors the opportunity hear the animal’s stories and to connect with them in really personal ways. Every one of our animals has  a unique personality, just like humans and it’s so amazing watching visitors interact with the animals. Everyone has such a different experience…. and many have been quite life changing! Visitors can also expect to take away a deep sense of peace and tranquility. Although only minutes from the highway, the Sanctuary really does feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of life. 

Do you have a message you would like to share with our readers around rescue animals?
It’s amazing how few people really understand why so many of these animals need rescuing. Even here in our ‘enlightened’ community, I’m constantly surprised about how little knowledge people have about intensive farming practices and the impact it has on the environment and on animals’ lives and how people still don’t truly understand the “adopt don’t shop” message. Overbreeding causes so many issues and deaths! I also want people to think before they buy! To educate themselves so they can be conscious consumers. Even by making small changes to how you choose to eat can make a significant impact to the lives of farmed animals, to the planet and for our children.
Lastly, is there anything new and exciting coming up at the farm you would like to share?
We have plans to expand our off-grid sanctuary stays and experiences in the near future. These will be largely pitched at adventurers and wilderness-lovers who still like their creature comforts. Think belle tents and yurts. We are also currently working on a number of events, workshops, day retreats, and live-in retreats. Stay tuned!
You can follow Owl + The PussyCat on instagram here.
10% of sales from our Harvest collection will be donated to the sanctuary. Launching Thursday 29th April @ 8.30am AEST
Donate directly here.


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