Did you know that Ten Lives Cat Rescue is run entirely by volunteers? We currently have over 100 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.
Beth has been volunteering with us since the October 2020, and has been a foster, a cat cabber (transporting our cats to and from vet appointments), and a fundraising and events volunteer since she joined our team. All of these roles are crucial within our rescue, and we truly appreciate everything Beth does! Beth has two resident cats: 12-year-old Remi (adopted from Providence Animal Rescue League when he was eight-years old). She also has seven-year-old Sasquatch, AKA “Sassy” or “Big Momma Girl.” Sassy was one of Beth’s first fosters with Ten Lives, and she says she ”fell in love with the big, 19 pound paperweight pretty much from the second she met her.”
1. How did you originally hear about us, and what made you decide to become a volunteer?
I have a good friend that adopted a cat a few years ago from Ten Lives. She spoke very highly of the organization and the compassion of the volunteers. As a child, my family was gifted a stray cat that we named Paw. We developed a very strong bond, and ever since, I’ve felt a special affinity towards all cats. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I was in a position to have cats in my life again due to my wandering lifestyle. I’ve since bought a house and have been able to adopt as well as use my extra room to foster cats in need.
2. What is your favorite story or memory while volunteering with us?
I’ve had so many special cats that I’ve fostered, so it’s hard to pick just one. One of my fosters, Clint Eastwood, came to me through the rescue’s Community Cats program. He was timid, did not trust people very much, had ringworm, and was positive for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). I fostered him for a few months and worked on building his trust and confidence. He ended up being a very affectionate, lovable, and goofy cat! Eventually, he was listed for adoption and I was worried during the first meet and greet that he would hide because he didn’t like strangers. It took a while, but eventually, he started to venture closer and closer to his new owner until he was eating treats out of her hand. I knew we found the perfect match because his new owner knew that she needed to give him the space to approach her when he was ready. Watching the actual moment that he let his guard down and started trusting another human was very emotional, satisfying, and miraculous. I didn’t think that would happen, and I was so proud of him!
3. What have you learned during your time as a volunteer?
I’ve learned how resilient cats can be, and that I am too! I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to handle saying goodbye to one of my fosters once they found a forever home, but that has not been the case. Yes, some cats are tougher to say goodbye to than others and I’ve shed some tears, but once I shifted the way I thought about the process, it’s been much easier. Understanding that adopting a cat out makes room to help the next one in need helps soften the impact of saying goodbye.
4. What do you wish other people knew about us?
That the stereotype is true – we are a bunch of crazy cat people! We could all talk for days about our cats and their antics like they are our children.
5. What do you do when you aren’t volunteering?
I’m a social worker for a community mental program based out of Dedham, Massachusetts. I’m also a therapist with a small private practice.
6. How do you think Ten Lives Cat Rescue will change over the next five years?
I can see us getting better connected with funding sources, and establishing a brick-and-mortar facility, perhaps with our own vet.
7. Why should others consider volunteering with us?
We are a dedicated, fun-loving group of volunteers that are very supportive to one another. You don’t have to be a foster to help out cats. There are many roles and opportunities to help keep the organization running. You can commit to as much time as you are able and there’s no pressure to say yes to something that you can’t do.
8. What have you gained while volunteering with us?
A community of like-minded individuals, a chance to do some very meaningful work, and of course my Sasquatch!
9. How much of an impact do you feel your volunteer work has had with Ten Lives Cat Rescue?
I used to feel guilty that I wasn’t doing enough to help cats because the need is so great. This kind of thinking can really bring you down and lead to burn out, but when I start to feel that way, I think of the story of the Starfish Thrower. I can’t save all of the cats, but I can make a difference in the lives of many.