When I was in 7th grade, my class was assigned a semester project on what we wanted to be when we grew up. I was certain that I wanted to be a veterinarian UNTIL I researched and shadowed a vet. Then I realized that I would be much better as a pet sitter. Since neither of those careers worked out for me, I have settled on being a part-time rescuer and animal advocate. Because of that I have gotten to know some of the best people on this planet; the kind people who inspire, encourage and generously help animals all day every day.

Siglinda Scarpa is one of the best of these extraordinary people. She is a tireless animal rights advocate whose actions are as powerful and meaningful as her words. She is recognized internationally for her beautiful pottery, but she is recognized by thousands of cats as their lifesaver, loving caregiver and refuge.

Siglinda’s beautiful tiles, porcelain sculptures and rustic terra cotta cookware represent her native Italy where she still owns a beautiful villa, but her heart and home now are in Pittsboro, North Carolina where she uses the sales from her award-winning pottery, also Italian cooking classes and renting her Tuscan villa to support The Goathouse Refuge, a no kill, no cage cat sanctuary where she is the founder and primary benefactor.

Why a cat sanctuary? In Siglinda’s own words: “When I was a little girl my father came home with a little gray tabby cat wet and cold and put him under the blankets in my bed. I warmed him up and kept him on my heart until he started purring for the rest of the night. There was where he slept for the rest of his life. I called him Muci.

He’d become sick when he was just about one year old and all my bicycle trips to the veterinarian didn’t save his life. He probably had distemper. The pain of his death was so devastating that I started to bring home and care for as many cats as my mother would allow me to bring into the apartment. I loved animals, especially cats, and many shared my life. Many are not here anymore, but I remember them all.

So I formulated a dream … a dream of a sanctuary for cats. This would be another chance; a safe haven for cats that were dispossessed or scheduled for euthanasia by public shelters. In my dream, no cat would be euthanized unless it was suffering with no hope of recovery. The Refuge would be a place where even cats that were unadoptable could live in comfort, with the care, attention and love they deserve. No cat would be refused due to age, illness or disposition. The ultimate goal for each cat would be adoption into a loving home. But the Refuge would be designed so that they could spend ample periods of time living comfortably, awaiting adoption. In fact, it would be designed so that a cat could spend years, or its entire lifetime, at the Refuge. This meant that the cats would be cage-free. Groups of cats would live in large rooms, where they could roam and play without restraint. And, of course, all of the cats would be given human attention and interaction, along with high-quality food and on-site medical care.

Through hard work and sacrifice, Siglinda has turned this dream into a reality. She welcomes visitors where they can see cats who were once abused, abandoned and homeless, now free, thriving and happy. Please visit GoathouseRefuge.org and read the awe-inspiring, heartwarming stories of rescue and you will quickly understand why so many of us love, respect and appreciate this talented, generous woman. 

Siglinda gives her all to the sanctuary, but the long term success of The Goathouse Refuge depends on funds and help from others through giving, adopting, and volunteering (details for donating to this non profit are on her website).

Meet a tiny abandoned kitten and see how she was given a new cat mom and a new life by traveling to The Goathouse Refuge.


I will close with this video about my inspiring friend to felines and humans…meet Siglinda Scarpa