David, the Cat Man of Benton Township

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David Svobada The Cat Man
David Svobada,The Cat Man (Photo: Don Campbell / HP staff)

Sometimes life takes you in a direction you never really thought about going.  Such is the case of David Svobada.  He loves cats.

Originally, David, who was in construction and roofing, went to help his sister-in-law, Jill Svobada, executive director of the Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan, during winter when things were slower.  That was four years ago.  Now he is taking care of between 80 and 100 cats.

Jill says that David is incredibly dedicated; working six days a week with the cats to make sure things are being done “his” way. This includes working with upwards of 25 cats in the isolation room that need to heal before they can be readied for adoption. David’s goal is to make the cats as comfortable and cared for as possible as they wait for their forever homes.

His belief is that by making the cat room as orderly as possible, it makes the cats more adoptable.  His tactics include adding bright colors to the room.  He shares that the current location is more akin to a jail than anything else, so for him it is very important to make the setting as friendly as he can.

David and Jill are both looking forward to the new facility for which the Humane Society is presently raising funds. The cats will not be in cages, rather, they will be in one of six community rooms that will be designed for the cats as a home-like environment, reducing the stress on the animals.  The new building will also have indoor/outdoor kennels for dogs so they will be able to go in and out as they desire.  The project has raised about half for the $2 million needed.

In the meantime, as fundraising efforts continue, David, the cat man, continues with his care and looks forward to when they transition. If it is anything close to how David’s unexpected new career has turned out, the Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan will find great success with their anticipated facility.

For more information or to see how you can help, please contact the shelter at (269) 927-3303 or visit the shelter’s website.


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