Volunteer Spotlight: Elizabeth

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.

Elizabeth started volunteering with us as a foster in October 2020. She usually fosters kittens, including kittens who need to be bottle fed and weaned and pregnant/nursing cats with kittens, but she has also fostered adult cats during her time with our rescue. We truly appreciate how much Elizabeth has done for the kittens and cats in our care and are grateful she chose to volunteer with us.

Elizabeth has three resident cats—all of whom are rescues! 16-year-old Felix (a male tuxedo) was adopted from Providence Animal Rescue League, and six-year-old tabby sisters Phoebe and Phoenix were adopted from Animal Rescue RI. Elizabeth also has one resident dog named Fiona, who is a nine-year-old Havanese.

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

I originally found Ten Lives Cat Rescue while searching for animal rescues looking for foster volunteers. I always wanted to foster cats and decided the timing was right for my family.

Bottle feeding an orphaned newborn kitten
Phoenix and Felix, two of Elizabeth's resident cats
2. What is your favorite story or memory while volunteering with us?

My son’s friend came over to visit and commented “Everywhere you look in this house there is a cat! I went in one room and there was a cat, I opened another door and saw two cats, and then I went in this room and I found kittens. Wow, you are lucky! How do you have so many cats?” It was a nice teaching moment about fostering, and a reminder that yes, I am certainly a cat lady!

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

I have learned that the human heart has an immeasurable capacity for love. Each time another foster goes to their forever home, a piece of them stays with me in my heart. Thinking about them brings a satisfying feeling of joy, pride, and sometimes a few tears.

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

I wish other people knew how easy it is to get involved. Ten Lives is a diverse and welcoming group with a lot of support and guidance. There’s a volunteer position to suit everyone’s availability and needs, no matter how much time they have to give.

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

When I’m not volunteering, I’m spending time with my family, which includes my husband, two teenage sons, and two adult daughters. We are getting ready to spend our summer together in Matunuck, and of course our fosters will be coming with us! I also love baking, country music, and thrifting.

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

Over the next five years, I hope Ten Lives continues to grow so we can help more cats. It would be great if we had a brick and mortar location one day. I certainly would love to volunteer there!

Elizabeth with her youngest son, Levi, with their former fosters Ima (now Suki) and Mummy (now Tortoro)
Elizabeth's former foster Ebu, (adopted by her daughter, Sydney) and resident Phoebe
7. Why should others consider volunteering with us?

Others should consider volunteering with us because there is such a great need to help cats in our communities. The rewards for giving back are greater than one might imagine. So many people say “I don’t know how you do it! I could never let my foster cat leave.” I always tell people that at times it’s hard to say goodbye, but giving of yourself and putting a cat’s needs before your own emotions truly makes you a stronger person.

8. What have you gained while volunteering with us?

I have gained so many precious memories throughout my experiences with some amazing cats. I’ve learned so much about myself, and I’m proud of the work I’ve done. I have gained the skills to bottle feed young kittens, I can care for a prenatal mama cat and support her during her delivery, and I can socialize kittens who arrive to foster care without a mama to raise them. I have gained so much more than I have ever had to give.

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

I’m not sure exactly how much of an impact my own individual volunteer work has had with Ten Lives Cat Rescue, but each volunteer is a part of a team that has collectively accomplished so much for Rhode Island’s cat community. Fostering a cat or a kitten and then finding them a forever home might not seem like such a big deal, but ensuring a happy life for a cat and the lifetime of joy they will bring to their adoptive family makes it all worth it!

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, support The Lazzy Fund, and purchase needed supplies through our Wishlist!

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