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Feline enthusiasts show support for Hearts to Homes

Local NewsFeline enthusiasts show support for Hearts to Homes

Nearly 180 cat lovers attended Hearts to Homes Feline Rescue and Sanctuary’s sixth annual “Pawsta” Dinner and Comedy Show fundraiser on Saturday, February 10, 2024.

The volunteer-run organization hosts the event every year in order to help to raise the monetary funds that are necessary to be able to provide care for the rescue’s various felines.

“Our biggest cost is veterinary care because it can be anywhere between $150,000 to $200,000 a year,” said Patricia Kawamoto, Chair and Managing Director of Hearts to Homes. “Our next biggest expense is really the cost of food for the animals, and so these fundraisers are so important to us because it’s just one piece of the puzzle. We find it’s just a great way for people that are cat lovers to get together, raise some money, share an experience and have some fun.”

Ashley Robertson and Brittany Thomson, Hearts to Homes volunteers, show off items for sale during the sixth annual “Pawsta” Dinner and Comedy Show fundraiser on Saturday, February 10, 2024.

During the event, guests had an opportunity to distribute their raffle tickets for the chance to win one of the nearly 58 pet-themed raffle prizes. From cat trees to calming blankets, treat baskets and more, there were plenty of items up for grab.

“We really had the support of the community with the raffle prizes and so a lot of businesses donated to us and it was just lovely to have all the support,” said Kawamoto.

Patricia Kawamoto, Chair and Managing Director of Hearts to Homes, thanks the crowd for their support during the sixth annual “Pawsta” Dinner and Comedy Show fundraiser on Saturday, February 10, 2024.

After a hearty dinner of pizza, pasta, meatballs, salad and garlic bread, guests settled in for the evening’s comedy show.

The host, Chris Jarvie, kicked off the show with several jokes of his own and by interacting with guests before introducing comedian Nara Farrell on to the stage.

Farrell’s playful routine was quick to engage the audience as she had guests pass around a large cat pillow, referred to as “Frankenstein,” while she sang various songs, intermittently adding in the cat or pet themed words.

Nara Farrell sings along a backtrack during the sixth annual “Pawsta” Dinner and Comedy Show fundraiser on Saturday, February 10, 2024.

Rina Beckham was next to take the stage. Although Beckham’s husband, who typically performs with her, was not present, the comedian had plenty of relatable feline themed jokes that had the audience nodding their heads and laughing out loud.

Another comedian, Paul McCallum, shared his anecdotes and adventures of married life and fatherhood, including jokes about his wife’s family cottage in Muskoka and his daughters, lovingly referred to as “Migraine” and “Nausea.”

Sarah Boston was up next, and the veterinary surgical oncologist captured the audience with her pandemic and animal related material.

“I always enjoy having the local talent come out and it was just a fun show and the comics were great,” said Kawamoto. “I really enjoyed McCallum and his sort of conversational comedy and with Sarah Boston, it was really fun and nice to have that kind of a comedic vet perspective in the mix.”

Sarah Boston tells a story about her mother’s feral cat during the sixth annual “Pawsta” Dinner and Comedy Show fundraiser on Saturday, February 10, 2024.

Ryan Horwood, who headlined the comedy show, was able to keep the laughter going as he kicked off with the story of how he was “voluntold” to care for his now two cats after his neighbour took a long-term vacation during the pandemic. His clever mix of family friendly and “not safe for work” routine kept the audience engaged throughout.

After the comedy routine wrapped, Jarvie announced the winners of the raffle items before closing out the event.

Overall, Kawamoto said that she was pleased with Saturday’s turnout.

“We had a great turnout and were pretty well at capacity which is a great feeling. I just have to thank all the supporters, volunteers and our sponsors, because it was wonderful to have everybody that came out,” she said. “This was also the first time we were at the Best Western and I think everyone enjoyed that. Their staff was just great with helping us organize it and setting up, so I think we will definitely hold the event there again next year.”

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