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.
Rachel has been a Ten Lives Cat Rescue volunteer since November 2018. She is an amazing foster mom, and she also plays a crucial role as our Medical Records and Veterinary Coordinator. Her resident pets include her cat, Rowdy, three horses, Mistral, Roxanne, and Toy, and two chickens.
1. How did you originally hear about us, and what made you decide to become a volunteer?
I was volunteering for another rescue that closed and I still wanted to help cats. I happened to come across the Ten Lives Facebook page and started following it. When they posted about needing a foster home for Belle several times, I finally decided it was time to reach out and see how I could help. Belle was my first foster for Ten Lives, and I am happy to say she was one of 25 so far.
2. What is your favorite story or memory while volunteering with us?
I have two very memorable cats so far. First was Baby. He was in danger of being euthanized because he did not pass a “behavior assessment.” To make a long story short, Ten Lives was able to step in and “pull” him from that shelter. I then became his foster mom. Baby was just terrified; he was not mean or had “bad behavior.” He was just downright scared. With time and patience, he blossomed into the coolest cat. He was super athletic and he loved playing, and it was so fun to watch him doing “zoomies” up and down our hallways and bounding off furniture in the process. He loved to hang out with me in the office and became so comfortable in our home. He found a fabulous adoptive home with a couple that followed our guidance for transitioning into his new home, and within days, he was already sleeping in his new dad’s bed. My second, most recent memorable cat, is Peachy. He was a tom cat, and when he arrived, he put on his “big bad tom cat” persona and he actually scared me! He was defensive and would hiss and strike out, but again, with time and patience, he turned into the most amazing cat I have ever met. He was lovable, wanted to be with you, and loved belly rubs. I can’t say enough about how awesome he is, and he would have been a foster fail if he had gotten along with my resident cat. He has also found an amazing new home where his new mom absolutely loves him, and I am so happy for him.
3. What have you learned during your time as a volunteer?
That patience is your friend and you have to be willing to go with the flow. You need to be flexible and not worry if it takes longer than you think it should to gain a cat’s confidence. Each cat is different and has their own story and personality. What worked with one cat might not work for the next, and that is okay. I have also learned that kittens are extremely fragile, especially when they come off the streets. They have been exposed to disease and their moms are not always healthy. We have seen a lot of FCV and FHV this year and it is devastating because all we can do is provide the best medical care and hope they get healthy. Unfortunately, some don’t and that is hard because all you want to do is heal them. I have also learned that there are a lot of great people out there also trying to make a difference, and that makes me happy. From folks such as the woman who knew Peachy should get a chance and contacted us to others that have donated to our fundraisers, they are all helping make a difference and I thank all of them.
4. What do you wish other people knew about us?
That we work to help the cats that others won’t or cannot help. We often help the older and sick/injured cats, ones that have medical problems, and ones that the “system” has failed. That fostering is so rewarding, and that we have an extensive support system for anyone interested in fostering. That we put our hearts and souls into each cat to make sure they are successful and find adoptive homes that are a perfect match for both our cats and adoptive families.
5. What do you do when you aren’t volunteering?
I work full time as a Program Manager leading global cross functional teams. I’m a stained glass artist. I also love riding my horses, especially on the trails in our beautiful State Forests.
6. How do you think Ten Lives Cat Rescue will change over the next five years?
I believe we will expand our community education and outreach to help people understand the critical need to spay/neuter and vaccinate their cats and community cats—not only for their cats’ own health and safety, but to help prevent the spread of disease that take the lives of cats and kittens that don’t have homes. I also believe we will continue to help with TNR of our community cats, as well as continue to help those needing financial help to spay/neuter and vaccinate their families’ cats.
7. Why should others consider volunteering with us?
We have an amazing support network and we all really care about each other. We have many different opportunities to volunteer, whether it be administrative, outreach, education, trapping cats, transporting cats from foster homes to the vet, fostering, fundraising, etc. If you want to share your special skills, we probably have a need you can help us with.
8. What have you gained while volunteering with us?
A feeling of purpose that I don’t get in my “real job,” and that purpose is making a difference in a cat’s life and ultimately a human life also. Humans need companionship and beneficial relationships. Cats can give us those things, so I get to help a person when they get to adopt their new best friend and family member.
9. How much of an impact do you feel your volunteer work has had with Ten Lives Cat Rescue?
I feel like I have made a positive impact in cat and human lives through the work I have done for Ten Lives.