Volunteer Spotlight: Sunny

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.

Sunny has been volunteering with us since August 2022, and she immediately jumped in to help! While she initially joined us as a foster, Sunny didn’t hesitate to also help with transport fundraising and events, and cat-sitting for other volunteers as needed. Sunny described her role with the rescue as “to offer love and care in any way I feel capable,” and we are incredibly thankful she chose to volunteer with Ten Lives!

1. Do you have any resident or foster cats, or any other pets?

Over the years, I’ve adopted multiple cats from shelters and street rescues (one of my boys would bring home abandoned, hungry strays). When my last resident cat crossed the rainbow bridge this past February, my plan was to just foster from now on, but of course, I foster failed. Now, I have three resident cats (seven-month-old Truly, 21-month-old MeiMei, and four-month-old Pumpkin Kitti), Ten Lives alumni. Three of my previous fosters, Emba (renamed Gnocchi), Willy, and Valentino, have been adopted and are now living their best lives! I am currently fostering three more—Snowdrop (who is currently available for adoption!), Socks, and Ebony. All three have special needs and/or require medical treatment, and all three will benefit from Ten Lives’ August 2023 5k Matching Gift Fundraiser.    

Sunny's resident cats: Truly, MeiMei, and Pumpkin Kitti
2. How did you start volunteering at Ten Lives?

I found Ten Lives while searching for shelters to foster with, and then sent in my volunteer application. Ten Lives Foster Coordinator, Johanna, conducted a very pleasant and thorough phone interview with me, and she provided excellent guidance to get me started.

3. What motivates you to give back to the community with Ten Lives?

Through volunteering with Ten Lives, I feel like I am doing what I am meant to be doing and living my life with more purpose, passion, and affection. I feel happier, more fulfilled, and deeper connected with people and surroundings. Regardless of challenges, it gives me a good day, every day.

4. What is your favorite memory while volunteering with us?

I have so many already, but I will share two here about my first foster fail, MeiMei, and my former foster, Willy. MeiMei was a young, undersocialized mama, and was rescued at only about a year old with a litter of kittens. She was extremely afraid, upon arriving at Ten Lives In October 2022, and later became my foster in December 2022. Over time, with patience and care, she started to come out of her shell. She hasn’t totally let go of her shy tendencies yet, but she has become so much more relaxed, and often rolls on the floors showing her stomach, and grooms and plays with the other cats. Once she felt comfortable enough to stay near me and accept my touch, and even a quick snuggle, the rest was history. She is officially my foster-fail!

Having had the privilege to foster Willy was one of the most fulfilling experiences. He had my heart at first sight! Willy has Cerebellar Hypoplasia (CH), which inflicts no pain but affects motor skills. While fostering Willy, I learned that CH does not affect life expectancy, and cats with this condition can live normal, healthy, and happy lives. Willy was free-spirited and happy, made friends with everyone, and he loved sleeping in my arms. He was such an abundance of joy, and he never let his wobbly gait stop him from having fun or showing affection.

Sunny's current fosters: adoptable Snowdrop (left), Socks, and Ebony

I only had him for a short time, but his departure left a gaping hole in my heart. To this day, the thought of him continues to fill my heart with overwhelming love. Ever since learning about his condition, I became aware of how many more “Willys” exist out there, and knowing that, given the chance, they would flourish, too!

As every foster parent knows, the goal for us is “good-bye” and for our foster to go home with the best forever family for them. Willy was adopted and is loved by an awesome family that offers him the world!

5. Why should others consider volunteering with us?

I was hooked after reading Ten Lives’ mission statement. Ten Lives has a great organization and database, providing abundant information and resources online not just to Ten Lives Rescue team members but also to reachable communities. I wanted to be part of that! What exercises love and compassion more completely and unconditionally than volunteer-power at 100%? I have been so impressed by Ten Lives’ being a non-profit organization without a brick and mortar building and with its skilled team—from admins, event and intake coordinators, and trappers to fosterers—it is an incredible powerhouse and friendly, supportive network!

6. What do you love to do when you aren’t volunteering?

Whenever I can, I opt to go for a nature walk, and when walking alone, I listen to podcasts for spiritual growth. I love cruising around local attractions (arts/crafts festivals, concerts, and museums) and visiting shelters/rescues, cat cafes, or fundraising events. I also love snuggling with my fur-babies on the couch while reading or watching TV.

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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