Karma – one of the first cats rescued under our name … along with her five newborn babies (The Meepers). Karma and her babies were found living under a pile of old scrap wood outside. They were cold, wet and hungry. Karma weened her babies and allowed us the privilege of handling and socializing them. All her babies were adopted out to loving forever homes and Karma was spayed and vaccinated – ready to be put back outside with her colony. However, Karma decided she didn’t really want to live outside anymore – she was officially adopted in 2011.

So glad you are here!

–fate, destiny
–the good or bad emanations felt to be generated by someone or something

–meditative state
–emphasizes enlightenment for the student by the most direct possible means

Rescuing an animal must create good karma – though this is not why we do it. To rescue an animal is to literally save a life – to change their fate or destiny. Saving a friendly animal from a harsh life outside, from a hoarding situation or from having litter after litter because they are not spayed … lives saved. If some good karma comes along with it – bonus!

Zen can be considered a state of mind – particularly one that is calm. When we thought of the rescue process – going from a situation that is probably far from ideal to one of calmness and safety – the state of zen came to mind. That is the goal – to move animals into that calm state so that they can flourish and, in turn, find their forever homes.


We have three core programs at Karma Cat + Zen Dog Rescue Society:

1. Rescue, Rehabilitation, Adopt

Our intake is focused on transferring animals from local municipal shelters – working together, we can save more lives and help destigmatize some of the beliefs about municipal shelters and the animals that are there. We provide all necessary and appropriate medical attention for acute and/or chronic conditions as well as high-quality and age appropriate wet and dry food for all our rescued animals. Shy animals are socialized and young animals are taught appropriate behaviors. The goal of this program is to find loving forever homes for each animal regardless of how long that may take.

In 2018, we rented and outfitted our very own adoption center on Main Street in Milltown, New Jersey. This adoption center is for cats only and is a bright and happy space. Additionally, we have occupied the cat adoption room at the North Brunswick PetSmart continuously since 2010. Dogs in this program are placed in foster homes. At this time, we have a very limited dog foster network that we are trying to expand. Without dog fosters that have appropriate dog behavior knowledge, this part of our program will remain limited.

Over the last 5 reported years (2013-2017), Middlesex County shelters (that reported intake and outcomes) have an average save rate for cats of 81.5% based on the average intake of 2,712 cats and euthanasia of 539 cats.

Since we opened our Milltown Adoption Center in July 2018, our adoption rate increased 48%, from an average of 8.3 monthly adoptions to an average of 12.3 monthly adoptions.

You can find more information about our flagship program on the following sub-pages: ADOPTION, FOSTERING, VOLUNTEERING. If you are inquiring about surrendering an animal, please email: info@karmacatzendog.org

2. Trap-Neuter-Return

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is an accepted method of stabilizing the community cat (feral cat) population. These are cats that are not socialized and generally do not easily handle living inside, with people. They are comfortable in their outdoor home and should not be considered homeless. TNR involves educating feeders/homeowners, trapping the cats, sterilization, vaccination, and microchipping, ear-tipping (to easily identify them as sterilized), and returning the cats back to their outdoor home. TNR projects can be labor intensive and KCZD volunteers work on community cat colonies when time permits.

To further the TNR of community cats in our area, the Snip + Chip Program was created in 2018. This program works with an established TNR clinic and local trappers, feeders, and homeowners. Involving the community increases education and reduces the burden of these projects from our volunteers. Several dates are set aside with the clinic exclusively for this program. Trappers, feeders, and homeowners are invited to bring unsterilized community cats to these events where KCZD will pay for the sterilization, vaccinations, ear-tips, and microchips. Microchips are important for community cats because they provide the opportunity for cats that enter a shelter or rescue group to be reunited with their colony and feeder. With respect to shelters, very often community cats are labeled feral immediately and euthanized after their required stray hold period has expired if the cat is not claimed. If you would like help with a TNR project, please fill out our TNR Inquiry Form.

3. Humane Education

The goals of our outreach/humane education program are to inspire the public, especially children, to have compassion for animals while learning about proper care and treatment, trap-neuter-return for community cats, as well as volunteering. Karma Cat + Zen Dog volunteers organize and present short programs to a wide range of audiences. Many of these sessions are held at our Milltown Adoption Center so the participants can have some fun and interactive time with the adoptable cats. If you are interested in a humane education event, please email outreach@karmacatzendog.org


Christie & Clarence 2010

Christie with Clarence, a 2010 rescue

In 2010, sisters Christie and Michelle Arlotta formed Karma Cat + Zen Dog Rescue Society; an organization that puts a positive light on animal rescue efforts. They knew that they wanted to change the fate of homeless, abandoned, or abused animals, while offering them a safe and peaceful haven during the transition.

Through the help of our leadership and animal care volunteers, board members, donations, and grants, we are able to operate our adoption, trap-neuter-return, and education programs to further our mission. We are a volunteer-run, New Jersey-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit with two locations: an adoption center in Milltown and a location within the PetSmart in North Brunswick. Every year, special events, including the annual spring gala Paws for Celebration, are held to celebrate the organization’s accomplishments as well as raise much-needed funds to continue saving precious lives.

We are not a religious organization and we mean no disrespect of any organization that identifies with the concept of karma or the study of zen.

Mission & Vision

The mission of the Karma Cat + Zen Dog Rescue Society is to provide a safe and peaceful haven for homeless, abandoned or abused animals. We will help decrease the number of cats and dogs being destroyed in kill shelters through the work of our adoption, trap-neuter-return, and education programs.

The vision of the Karma Cat + Zen Dog Rescue Society is a world where every companion animal is respected, fed, warm, happy, and not in danger of being killed because it is temporarily homeless.

Karma Cat + Zen Dog vows to treat all persons with respect and consideration – regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, maternity, marital or family status, disability, age or national origin.

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