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.
Leo is going into his second year as a Ten Lives volunteer, and while his “official” role is as a trapper, he’s always available to help with other aspects of whatever the rescue needs. Whether it’s picking up donated supplies, transporting cats to appointments, or building feeding stations, Leo has done that and more! Before becoming an official volunteer with us, Leo has always been involved in caring for cats in one way or another. Leo has two resident cats—a gray and white tabby named Boots (because she has white paws that look like shoes) and a calico named Skinny (for her thin frame). Leo also takes care of three outdoor cats that he TNR’d.
1. How did you originally hear about us, and what made you decide to become a volunteer?
I found a stray cat in one of the makeshift shelters I build and started doing research online for “what to do next.” Ten Lives Cat Rescue (TLCR) came up as a search result, and they sounded like the perfect place to start. Becoming a volunteer just sort of happened from there. I had already been finding cats in need all over the place (in my local neighborhoods, around areas I’d be traveling for work, or just driving around every day). TLCR was very helpful in taking them into the rescue.
2. What is your favorite story or memory while volunteering with us?
I’ve trapped a couple tomcats that were in really rough shape. To see them get stronger and healthier with a little love and time was cool, especially knowing that I had a hand in their comeback story.
3. What have you learned during your time as a volunteer?
I’ve always been that guy that has a soft spot for cats, but I had just been winging it when it came to trying to help them on my own. As a volunteer, I’ve learned a lot about the proper way to trap displaced cats and also how to take care of kittens. I’d say volunteering has also made me a better people-person in general, too.
4. What do you wish other people knew about us?
I wish other people knew that cats rule! Oh, and that TLCR loves every cat they are lucky enough to help, and they have an amazing team of people who share the same vision.
5. What do you do when you aren’t volunteering?
When I’m not volunteering, I’m usually working or sleeping. Oddly enough, I’m an acoustical ceiling guy that works six to seven days a week. It’s a demanding, hands-on job, but it’s something I’ve done for many years and I’m meticulous at it. You probably wouldn’t guess at first glance that I’m such a big cat person, but my surroundings say otherwise; I’ve got some pretty cool cat art that I’ve collected over the years.
6. How do you think Ten Lives Cat Rescue will change over the next five years?
I see the rescue growing, which means saving many more cats and finding them the perfect homes. It also means I’ll be busy doing more TNR work, too.
7. Why should others consider volunteering with us?
People should volunteer because they want to help their community cat population. Everyone is always looking for ways to “give back,” but aren’t sure how to start. Volunteering is a way to make use of your time for the greater good, and you’ll meet fellow cat lovers in the process. I also can’t be one of the only dudes in the bunch! Come join us!
8. What have you gained while volunteering with us?
Volunteering has really helped me become more open with myself and what I’m capable of. It’s helped me become more of a people-person and work more easily with others. I’ve always found working with animals has been easier than working with people, but volunteering has helped me see people can be worth the effort, too. I feel lucky to be able to gain tips, tricks, and overall knowledge from those that have been doing this for a long time. It’s really made me want to go all in with helping street cats and put what I’ve learned into action.
9. How much of an impact do you feel your volunteer work has had with Ten Lives Cat Rescue?
I would like to think I’ve made an impact with the rescue. I tend to not be afraid to go to the more questionable areas to help save a cat. Having learned about my work with the rescue, I’m hoping people will be more comfortable with asking questions and reaching out.