Volunteer Spotlight: Terri

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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.

Terri has been a part of Ten Lives from the very beginning! She wears many hats as a volunteer—among them, she is a founding Board member on the Board of Directors, a foster, our DEM administrator, and a crafter. If you’ve ever purchased one of our catnip mats from an event, it’s very likely Terri made it! Ten Lives wouldn’t be where it is today without Terri’s support and guidance.

Terri has three resident cats—Slugger (the inspiration behind Ten Lives Cat Rescue!), Chloe, and Sage, and currently fosters Rowdy, who is working on his catfidence and will be up for adoption in the future.

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

I was volunteering with another organization and met Melissa (Ten Lives’ Executive Director). She was fostering my Slugger and Sage that I adopted through this organization. When Melissa, inspired by her experience fostering Slugger, decided that she wanted to start a foster-based rescue, she invited me to be on the board. I was moved by the vision and couldn’t say no!

2. What is your favorite story or memory while volunteering with us?
Slugger, one of Terri's resident cats and the inspiration behind Ten Lives Cat Rescue

Because my home address is the rescue address, my postman knows my involvement in cat rescue. One day in the summer of 2019, I was working at home in my upstairs office and the doorbell rang. “Hmmm, I’m not expecting anyone,” I thought, and peeked out the window and saw the mail truck. I thought, “Oh, must be leaving a package.” Then the bell rings again. Downstairs I go and open the door and there stands my postman with a 4-month-old kitten. “Oh my, is this your new kitty?” I say to him. “Uh no,” he replied. “I have seen her on my route for days and found out that her owner tossed her out because she couldn’t deal with her.” I reached out to take her from him, and she peed all the way down his uniform! Well, the good news is she became my foster cat and is now in the MOST wonderful home.

Chloe, one of Terri's resident cats
3. What have you learned during your time as a volunteer?

That each foster is unique. There is such a range of personalities. I have discovered that with each foster (especially the very shy ones), I have to find a unique strategy to bring them out of their shell. I have also learned more medical things about cats than I know about myself!

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

What a great community we are. We have such an amazing group of volunteers that not only care for cats, but for each other. I am always amazed by the support I see given between volunteers. I would also like people to understand the compassion we have, often taking on under-socialized cats that other organizations pass by. We also have a heart for seniors.

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

I work a lot… but in my spare time, I love to sew and craft, and I enjoy yard work and home renovation projects (I am kind of handy). Over the years I have done a fair bit of hiking (not quite as much in the last couple years). I have taken some great hiking trips around the world and domestically over the years. Two spotlight adventures were summiting Mount Kilimanjaro and climbing to Mount Everest North base camp. 

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

I believe we will continue to grow in service to our community of cats.

7. Why should others consider volunteering with us?
Sage, one of Terri's resident cats
Rowdy, Terri's current foster cat

Ten Lives is such a great cat rescue. We strive to conduct ourselves in a professional and respectful manner both internally to our volunteers and externally to the community.

8. What have you gained while volunteering with us?

Weight (Bahahaha. Wait, that is a COVID thing), seriously pride, I am so proud to be part of this organization. Although we have been through some difficult times that made us all sad, I mostly find the experience to be joyful. There is no better feeling than taking in a shy, sick, unloved, or neglected cat and then seeing them blossom to gain a loving forever home!

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

I like to think I have made important contributions, at least I try. I support financially as best I can and pitch in for events both as a volunteer when able and a craft donator for all of them. I also foster and have socialized some rather shy fur-kids.

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

Spotlight: Volunteer Services for Animals

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Since Ten Lives Cat Rescue was founded in May 2018, Volunteer Services for Animals (VSA) in Rhode Island has been one of our rescue’s top supporters. Founded in 1979, VSA is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of animal shelters. From the very beginning, VSA has helped improve conditions and the standard of care at shelters throughout Rhode Island.

Thanks to VSA’s efforts, most shelters now provide veterinary care for sick animals and provide vaccinations against rabies and distemper. One of VSA’s most effective programs to date is the promotion of spaying and neutering of pets. Over the last 40+ years, VSA has expanded its mission to advocate at international, state, and local levels for the humane treatment of all animals.

From the beginning, VSA has helped us in many ways. They have donated towards every spay and neuter we have had completed—they donate $25 towards all neuters, and $35 towards all spays. In addition, VSA has donated to the care of many of our cats who have been sick or who have needed specialist veterinary appointments. The Warwick branch of the VSA has also given us cat food and litter to alleviate some of the financial burden in caring for our foster cats. Ten Lives currently has 68 cats and kittens in foster homes, and VSA is committed to helping us give them the best possible care they can receive.

Ten Lives receives an average of one request each day to help an unwanted cat, and as the weather gets colder, that number is growing. Our volunteer-run rescue includes administrators, coordinators, and foster families who work tirelessly to rescue these helpless animals. Rescue is often a daunting task, but thanks to our supporters and donors, we are not alone. Since our inception, Ten Lives has helped 748 cats, and VSA has provided financial assistance to most of these cats. Ten Lives Cat Rescue truly appreciates everything they have done for us, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without their support.

Volunteer Services for Animals is an incredible resource for any animal. If you have a question about an animal or group of animals, or if you would like to learn more about the VSA’s efforts to improve the quality of life for animals, please contact them here, or visit their website.

Volunteer Spotlight: Angie

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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.

Angie has played a crucial role as a Ten Lives volunteer for a little over a year now. Over her time with us, she has been a foster, a caretaker for our adoptable cats at PetValu, and a trapper. Most recently, she has generously opened up her garage as a temporary landing place for cats who were trapped and didn’t have a permanent foster secured at the time of their trapping. She has also made her garage a safe haven for the feral cats we have TNR’d over the last year. Since she started volunteering with Ten Lives, Angie has helped 55 cats to date! Angie has one resident cat named Zen, who she says is spoiled rotten.

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

My cat’s Instagram account (you read that right!) followed one of the Ten Lives Cat Rescue volunteers, and they posted about needing fosters critically. I wanted a cat friend for my resident cat, but I felt like fostering a cat was like renting to own. And there was a need, so it seemed like the time to give it a try.

Zen, Angie’s resident cat

Unfortunately, my cat, Zen, was not at all zen when it came to foster cats. She is spoiled rotten (she has a heated bed, couch, a million toys…), but she will not be bribed into allowing foster cats in the house.

When Zen hated my first foster cat, Hope, I was so disappointed. I felt a bit like a failure, like I joined the rescue and I wasn’t able to fulfill that commitment. I needed to find new ways to help the organization. I started visiting PetValu to check on the cats that were there. The cats and I would take walks around the store, and sometimes, they did some toy shopping with me. When COVID hit, that unfortunately stopped. So I started to keep feral cats in my garage prior to their spay/neuter appointments. I taxi them to and from the spay/neuter clinic, and then back to my garage as a recovery area for them. Then, I became one of the first stops for hard to place cats until we could find a foster family for them. Today, I am the “garage foster and feral mom” I also take way too many photos of any cat in my possession and I plaster them all over Facebook and Instagram.  Sorry, not sorry.

2. What is your favorite story or memory while volunteering with us?
Neil (also known as “Liam Neilson”)

Liam Neilson. He came to my house with his neck ripped open, and I was so scared he would die in my garage. He was a mess—I mean a near death mess. I had been having ferals and other temporary foster cats in my garage, and the rescue had nowhere for Neil to go. So I took him. I read books to him in the garage, and we hung out. I sometimes even took my work into the garage to be near him. He was great at walking on my keyboard and locking it in ways I didn’t know existed. He survived his wounds (many, many wounds). He was appreciative of the time we spent together, and so was I. He gave love like no cat I have ever seen, and I fell madly in love with him. All he wanted was love. He was with me for a few months before he went to another foster home. I cannot imagine a cat that will surpass how he made me feel. 

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

I have learned how to trap cats, how to keep cats, how to re-trap cats, and other useful skills. I have learned a lot about cat behavior. Most importantly, I have learned that while you think you are volunteering for the cats, and you are, you are also volunteering for yourself. It feels good to help a cat that needs help. Without you, that cat may not make it. You can make their lives 100% better, and it doesn’t always have to take a ton of effort. The times it takes a lot of effort, it is worth it—it is always worth it.

Fruit Hill 15, Angie’s current feral foster cat
4. What do you wish other people knew about us?

This is a fulfilling thing to do, and you can be as involved as you want. You want to drive cats to appointments? Great! You want to do administrative work?  Fantastic. You want to love on some deserving cats? Perfect. There really is a role for everyone.

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

I work, a lot. I work for a biotech company that specializes in oncology drugs, but also makes a few other biologic and small molecule drugs. I am involved in two oncology drugs, one that treats relapsed and refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia and one for multiple myeloma. I have the honor of working through with manufacturing issues, deviations, authoring of regulatory submissions, and working with regulatory agencies. I say honor and I mean it, as it is extremely fulfilling work that impacts lives of grievously ill patients.

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

I think we will continue to grow. Some of it will be painful, because growing quickly brings with it issues. However, it is necessary, and we will be helping more cats than ever.

7. Why should others consider volunteering with us?
Hope, Angie’s first foster cat with Ten Lives

You get to help cats have better lives, and also improve your own life. Doing for others can make you sleep better at night, as well.

8. What have you gained while volunteering with us?

I feel like a better human being. I needed this. I didn’t know I needed it, but I needed an outlet that brings me joy. I have helped cats and I have met some fantastic people. This is a part of my life now.

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

I do what I can. Some days I feel fine about my contribution, other days I feel like I should be doing more. But like I said previously, you can be as involved as you want to be. I hope I am making a difference in the rescue. I know I have made a difference in some cats’ lives. 

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

Thank You From Ten Lives

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This past Giving Tuesday, communities from the around the world came together to raise 2.5 billion dollars for the non-profits they love. With reduced funding and resources due to COVID-19, this one day of fundraising was incredibly important to non-profits- including Ten Lives. We asked our incredible supporters to help us raise $8,000 so that we could continue our critical work to help cats in our community and you SMASHED that goal!

Thanks to the generosity of our community, we were able to raise double our goal! These vital funds will allow Ten Lives to continue to rescue & place cats through our foster program, provide veterinary services- including spay and neuter, urgent and specialty care, provide TNR services to community cats, and continue our spay & neuter voucher program!

We are incredibly grateful for the continued support that our community has shown us. As an organization that is 100% volunteer-powered, we can ensure that your generous gifts are used exactly what they are meant for-saving lives. 
With Gratitude,
Melissa, Co-founder/Executive Director

Giving Tuesday: How You Can Help in 2020

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This year has been a challenging one for everyone—Ten Lives Cat Rescue included. With traditional events and fundraisers cancelled, we have had to become more creative in everything we do, from how to raise funds to save cats, to introducing cats to potential adopters. We are now more than eight months into the pandemic and are proud to say we have continued to grow as a rescue and save lives, despite reduced funding and resources. Our team has worked tirelessly to adapt and develop new protocols so we could continue to rescue cats, find them loving homes, and provide Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) services. At the time we published this blog post, we have been able to foster 305 cats in 2020, and 242 of them have since been adopted into loving, forever homes. We have TNR’d 19 cats, and we even launched a voucher program to further reduce barriers for spay and neuter services!

donation-amounts
With traditional events and fundraisers cancelled, we need your help more than ever.

On Tuesday, December 1st, we will be participating in #GivingTuesday; a global day of giving and supporting the non-profits you love. This year, Facebook is matching up to 7 million dollars, and thanks to a very generous donation from Ten Lives Board Director, the first $4,000 donated to us on Giving Tuesday will have three times the impact!

Here are some of the cats your Giving Tuesday donations will help:
Burroughs

Rescued from a hoarding situation earlier this year, Burroughs was part of a litter of two. She and her sibling were born under a couch at the time, which turned into a difficult rescue for Providence Animal Control. Burroughs’ mom was a kitten herself at the time, and had a hard time being a mom. As a result, Burroughs’ foster had to bottle feed her and her sibling to keep them alive alive. Burroughs has been in and out of the hospital since she was a baby. She started with respiratory issues and pneumonia. She has had ongoing gastrointestinal issues that have required a lot of specialty care, such as overnight stays, medications, repeated veterinary visits, consultations with specialists, and diagnostic imaging. While Burroughs she seems to be improving, she still has a long road ahead of her. She also has a hernia that needs to be repaired.

Dash

You may have read Dash’s story from her Forgotten Feline Spotlight. Dash has been in our foster program since January 2020, and she currently needs a major hernia repair that is estimated to cost $3,000. Dash’s ongoing care has been costly to the rescue this year, but like all of the cats in our care, we feel she is worth every penny.

Finn

One of our newest fosters, Finn, was living outside in Providence with his three siblings and mom. Sadly, before we could trap Finn and his family, one of his siblings disappeared. Finn’s mom is feral, so she was TNR’d. Finn and his sibling were brought into our foster program. Finn has a congenital deformity of his legs—he is built and walks like a kangaroo. He also has a grade III heart murmur. In addition to his regular vetting, Finn needs a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon for his legs, and then he will need a consultation with a cardiologist for his heart murmur.

Tom Tom, Snickers, Oreo, Anastasia, and Izzie

While Tom Tom and Snickers have been adopted into their forever homes, if our vet determines that a cat needs a dental examination or surgery during our vetting process, we feel like it’s our responsibility to take care of it. We’ve paid for 20 dental surgeries in 2020, and will be covering Tom Tom, Snickers, Oreo, Anastasia, and Izzie’s, as well. On average, dental surgeries cost between $400 and $800, depending on extractions and severity of dental disease.

Oreo is available for adoption, and is able to go to his forever home before his dental surgery. Anastasia and Izzie are currently not available for adoption, and are being loved and cared for in their foster homes.

How Can You Help Us Raise Needed Funds to Continue Our Live-Saving Mission?

We know this is a challenging time for many people in the community, and we are so appreciative of our supporters’ continued generosity. No matter how much you’re able to give, your gift will help us fund needed medical expenses for cats like Burroughs, Dash, Finn, Tom Tom, Oreo, and Snickers. Your gift will also help us continue save lives in the years to come.

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