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About Our Journey

We are a mother & daughter partnership inspired by our journey to help animals in the shelter system. It all started in 2016 when we officially became foster parents for the Humane Society of Durham Region. During this time, we have looked after 349 kittens & cats and even a few dogs & puppies! Each one came with a unique story, but it was Penny that sparked our idea to launch Opening Cages.

In November 2018 we brought home a special foster cat named Penny. She came to stay with us “on vacation” from the shelter that she had been calling home for ten months. This cat had an extremely sad story as her previous owner had passed away leaving Penny confused and scared when she entered the shelter environment. Penny was originally adopted out of the shelter to a new family but they were not a good match for each other and she was returned.

To potential adopters, Penny seemed miserable and cranky, but the reality was that being in the shelter for so long scared her.  When we brought her into our home on her "vacation" to explore her room we were shocked to see that she had trouble with walking. It appeared as though there was something physically wrong with her legs, but we later realized that it was just a side effect from being inside a cage for so long waiting for her forever home! It was heartbreaking!

Penny was depressed and very sleepy for the first little while. She slowly adjusted to her surroundings and eventually transformed into an entirely different cat. Her spirits had uplifted and her true personality shined through. A sweet and loveable cat that was completely ADOPTABLE.

We quickly realized that this was most likely a serious problem for shelters everywhere. Penny’s story touched our hearts. We felt an overwhelming responsibility to take action and help animals in similar situations get out of their cages faster. Together we came up with Opening Cages! A project focused on improving the adoption rate while helping pet owners, foster parents, shelters & rescues along the way.

Penny before and after.jpg
Our Team

Who We Are

Colleen & Tessa are a mother daughter team both having a deep love for helping animals. (kittens & cats are our favourite)

Colleen Ferguson
Colleen Ferguson
Tessa Ferguson
Tessa Ferguson
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