Did you know that Ten Lives Cat Rescue is run entirely by volunteers? We currently have over 60 volunteers in various roles helping us achieve our mission—to save homeless, abused, and abandoned cats by providing veterinary care, rehabilitation services, and then placing them into loving adoptive homes.
Sarah was Ten Lives Cat Rescue’s very first volunteer! She has been volunteering with us since May 2018, and her role with us includes being a foster, general volunteer, and adopter. Sarah has three resident cats: Brooklyn (10 years old), Cora (2 years old), and Abby (2 years old). Brooklyn has been with Sarah since she was a little kitten, and Cora and Abby were both fosters that she just couldn’t say goodbye to. Sarah has a “no cute kitten” rule with adopting, but she broke her own rule with Cora and Abby! Sarah’s current fosters include Dash (1 year old), who is paralyzed and incontinent, and Bandit (3 months) who is a Panleuk survivor!
1. How did you originally hear about us, and what made you decide to become a volunteer?
A friend knew I was interested in fostering cats and told me about a new cat rescue that she read about on Next Door. I was already actively searching out rescues to volunteer with, so the timing was pretty perfect. I sent Melissa (TLCR’s Executive Director) an email, and within a few days, I already had my very first foster, Chloe. From that very first cat, I knew this was something I would be doing long term. I have been an animal advocate my whole life, always bringing home the stray cats and dogs I would find, slowing down for squirrels, and returning baby birds to nests. Fostering just made sense. My only regret is not doing it sooner.
2. What is your favorite story or memory while volunteering with us?
I have so many! Walter’s story sticks out the most to me. Walter was a senior cat who lost everything when his family, an elderly woman, passed away. He lost his home when he was tossed out with the furniture shortly after her death. For an entire year, Walter survived outside on the streets of Providence while a Good Samaritan made it her mission to look out for him and try to get him help. She was finally successful when she posted a blurry photo on NextDoor of a white cat who looked like he was made of skin and bones. I got in touch with her and we had a plan to get him inside within the hour. Walter was my foster cat for seven months and he was nothing but a gentle, loving old man who was happy to be sleeping on a bed again. He was adopted into a loving family where he spent the remainder of his days being spoiled and loved. Walter passed away in 2019, but he was a loved member of a family, and not lonely and forgotten outside.
3. What have you learned during your time as a volunteer?
I’ve learned a TON. When I started fostering, I had never dealt with medically fragile animals of ANY kind. After two years of hands on experience, there isn’t much I haven’t done. Bottle feeding a litter of kittens used to sound absolutely terrifying; now it’s something I look forward to. Undersocialized cats were intimidating, now it’s a welcome challenge. I never thought I could give subcutaneous fluids to an 82 gram kitten, but you would be surprised what you can be capable of when it comes to life and death. I have also learned that no matter what you do, sometimes a kitten still doesn’t make it, and sometimes you have to make the heartbreaking decision to say goodbye, unfortunately that’s part of fostering sometimes too.
4. What do you wish other people knew about us?
Ten Lives takes in a lot of undersocialized cats that a lot of other organizations do not have the resources to help.
5. What do you do when you aren’t volunteering?
I’m a nanny to four really great kids who love to see and meet my fosters (especially the kittens). They even named one of my first orphan kittens, Ben! When I’m not taking care of kids, I’m a photographer! You may have seen some of my pictures on the Ten Lives website or Facebook page – or may have even entered into the July raffle to win a Beach Mini Shoot!
6. How do you think Ten Lives Cat Rescue will change over the next five years?
I think we will only get bigger and better. We have so many amazing, dedicated, and generous volunteers (and a supportive community). I can’t see us going anywhere but up. Everyone who volunteers with Ten Lives are all in it for the same reason—we want to help the cats in our community.
7. Why should others consider volunteering with us?
Fostering gave me a sense of purpose. For me, it makes you feel like you are a part of something bigger. Not all volunteers are fosters, which I think is important. While fostering is a huge part of Ten Lives, we have so many roles behind the scenes. From adoption coordinators, reference checkers, cat cab volunteers, event coordinators, the list goes on. If you want to help but can’t foster, don’t get discouraged! We have lots of roles that are just as important.
8. What have you gained while volunteering with us?
I’ve gained friends, a community, a sense of purpose, and a wealth of knowledge about cats and kittens – oh, and lots and lots of cat pictures.
9. How much of an impact do you feel your volunteer work has had with Ten Lives Cat Rescue?
I know I’ve changed the lives of all of the cats that have come through my apartment. I’ve sent over 20 cats and kittens to forever homes. To me, there are few things more rewarding than getting that first update text, with a picture attached of a cat who just a few months ago was forgotten outside and is now a valued member of a family. I love each cat like they are my own, but in the end, goodbye is the goal.