Volunteer Spotlight: Michelle

Did you know that Ten Lives Cat Rescue is run entirely by volunteers? We currently have over 70 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.

Michelle has been volunteering with us for two years this month! She is one of our Supply Coordinators, which means she receives food, litter, and other crucial supplies our generous supporters send it, organizes and stores it, and helps our fosters acquire the supplies they need for the cats in their care. Michelle has three cats—Zooey, her “old lady cat,” and Tony and Teenie who are two-year-old Ten Lives alumni. Michelle also helps her girlfriend, a Ten Lives foster, with her momma cat and her four six-week-old kittens!

1. How did you originally hear about us, and what made you decide to become a volunteer?

Two Octobers ago, a friend of a friend who is a Ten Lives volunteer posted on Facebook about some kittens found in Coventry who needed a foster. It had been about a year and a half since one of my cats passed away unexpectedly, and I finally felt ready for another. I decided to start off fostering with the intention to adopt if it went well. I fostered a litter of 4 kittens and kept two of them.

2. What is your favorite story or memory while volunteering with us?

I’ve loved getting to be part of giving a momma cat a warm, safe place to give birth and then getting to see her babies grow up. Tony, Teenie, and their siblings became my fosters when they were 7 weeks old, so this was the first time I was able to experience such tiny kittens. All their little milestones have been so exciting. Seeing them as newborns, then opening their eyes for the first time, and now starting to run and play with each other has been so rewarding.  

3. What have you learned during your time as a volunteer?

I’ve learned how amazing the whole Ten Lives community really is. We have so many kittens in the rescue and those growing babies go through a ton of food! As a supplier, I’m constantly running out of kitten food but whenever we make a post on the Facebook page asking for donations, the community always comes through. Two days later, I have boxes and boxes of food, litter, and other supplies from our wishlist that the people who follow us have sent. It never stops being inspiring when I come home to a massive pile of Chewy boxes on my doorstep and I’m so grateful to the people who answer those calls for donations.

4. What do you wish other people knew about us?

I think that when people think about volunteering with us, they immediately think of fostering. There are so many other ways to help – from joining the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) team to providing rides for cats to vet appointments, to assisting with administrative tasks. Even if you can’t foster, there are so many other ways to volunteer and help the cats in our community.

5. What do you do when you aren’t volunteering?

I’ve been spending a lot of time this year visiting every ice cream shop within 20 miles of my house! When I’m not doing that, I’m attempting to offset the ice cream by jogging and training for a 10K next month.

6. How do you think Ten Lives Cat Rescue will change over the next five years?

I would love to see us get even bigger, with more fosters and more volunteers so we can help even more cats. Even with as many people as we currently have, there’s constantly a need for more fosters. Our intake request list for cats that need help is a mile long.

7. Why should others consider volunteering with us?

People should volunteer with us because we provide a lot of really easy ways that cat lovers can make a positive impact on the animals in our community. There are so many different ways to volunteer that there’s something for everyone, and we also have a lively volunteer Facebook group! We have the occasional party (with cats!), and we’re also just a really fun group of people!

8. What have you gained while volunteering with us?

I’ve gained so much from volunteering with Ten Lives, from the relationships I’ve made with fellow volunteers (I actually met my girlfriend through the rescue!) to just the general sense of hope and purpose that helping cats in our community has given me.

9. How much of an impact do you feel your volunteer work has had with Ten Lives Cat Rescue?

I feel like my work has had a huge impact on the cats in our community. In a lot of other rescues, fosters need to provide their own supplies but with Ten Lives, because we offer supplies, so many more people are able to foster and we’re able to help that many more cats.

Are you interested in volunteering with Ten Lives Cat Rescue? Read about our open volunteer roles and fill out a Volunteer Application, become a foster, sponsor a Forgotten Feline, and purchase needed supplies through our Amazon Wishlist!

Leave a Reply