Forgotten Feline Spotlight: Neil

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Two months ago, Ten Lives Cat Rescue received a plea to help a cat in terrible shape. He had a gaping wound on his neck, and was covered in flies. We were horrified to learn he had been like this for quite some time, and while the person who contacted us did everything they could to get this cat help, he had continued to suffer. We immediately sent a volunteer out to help this poor boy. By nightfall, he was in the safety of one of our foster homes. It was obvious that he had lived a life of hell and was clearly terrified—he hissed and recoiled from our volunteers. None of us truly knew how terrible his life was until the next day, when he was seen by one of our partner veterinarians. We named him Neil, and promised him he would never be neglected or have to suffer again.

Neil’s life before he joined our Forgotten Feline program

During Neil’s vet visit, we received the disturbing news that he was covered in scars and healed wounds, his mouth was full of ulcers, his neck wound was filled with maggots, and that he was positive for feline leukemia (FeLV). While FeLV positive cats can live normal lives for prolonged periods of time, their immune systems are compromised—due to Neil’s injuries, we were worried how he would heal. However, he was determined. He ate well each day and drank plenty of water. He hissed at his foster mom for about a week, but once he recognized her as the “food lady,” he started to relax.

Neil demanding pets and attention from his foster mom

By week two, his foster mom had nicknamed him “Liam Neilson” and was in love. Neil took some more time to adjust to foster life—while he wasn’t feral, he was under socialized. During the first few weeks, he didn’t meow—he only hissed. His foster mom thought that maybe he didn’t know how to meow, but as his wounds healed, his personality began to show. He slowly started to give little meows and accepting pets. Soon, he DEMANDED pets every time he saw his foster mom.

Neil, the “purrsonal assistant”

Today, he is a love bug who continues to demand to be pet—he also constantly shows his foster mom his belly, and he loves to eat. Neil’s foster mom says he is one of the most grateful cats she has ever had the honor of fostering. We are sure that with some more encouragement, Neil will continue to build his catfidence and will one day be adopted into a loving, forever home.

Neil is part of our Forgotten Feline Program, which aims to help scared and under-socialized cats who are considered “unadoptable” by other shelters. With the help of our dedicated foster families, we are able to give them the support they need to blossom.

If you are interested in sponsoring Neil, please click here.

Volunteer Spotlight: Rachel

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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.

Rachel has been a Ten Lives Cat Rescue volunteer since November 2018. She is an amazing foster mom, and she also plays a crucial role as our Medical Records and Veterinary Coordinator. Her resident pets include her cat, Rowdy, three horses, Mistral, Roxanne, and Toy, and two chickens.

1. How did you originally hear about us, and what made you decide to become a volunteer?
One of Rachel’s foster kittens

I was volunteering for another rescue that closed and I still wanted to help cats. I happened to come across the Ten Lives Facebook page and started following it. When they posted about needing a foster home for Belle several times, I finally decided it was time to reach out and see how I could help. Belle was my first foster for Ten Lives, and I am happy to say she was one of 25 so far.

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

I have two very memorable cats so far. First was Baby. He was in danger of being euthanized because he did not pass a “behavior assessment.” To make a long story short, Ten Lives was able to step in and “pull” him from that shelter. I then became his foster mom. Baby was just terrified; he was not mean or had “bad behavior.” He was just downright scared. With time and patience, he blossomed into the coolest cat. He was super athletic and he loved playing, and it was so fun to watch him doing “zoomies” up and down our hallways and bounding off furniture in the process. He loved to hang out with me in the office and became so comfortable in our home. He found a fabulous adoptive home with a couple that followed our guidance for transitioning into his new home, and within days, he was already sleeping in his new dad’s bed. My second, most recent memorable cat, is Peachy. He was a tom cat, and when he arrived, he put on his “big bad tom cat” persona and he actually scared me! He was defensive and would hiss and strike out, but again, with time and patience, he turned into the most amazing cat I have ever met. He was lovable, wanted to be with you, and loved belly rubs. I can’t say enough about how awesome he is, and he would have been a foster fail if he had gotten along with my resident cat. He has also found an amazing new home where his new mom absolutely loves him, and I am so happy for him.

3. What have you learned during your time as a volunteer?
Charles, one of Rachel’s former foster cats

That patience is your friend and you have to be willing to go with the flow. You need to be flexible and not worry if it takes longer than you think it should to gain a cat’s confidence. Each cat is different and has their own story and personality. What worked with one cat might not work for the next, and that is okay. I have also learned that kittens are extremely fragile, especially when they come off the streets. They have been exposed to disease and their moms are not always healthy. We have seen a lot of FCV and FHV this year and it is devastating because all we can do is provide the best medical care and hope they get healthy. Unfortunately, some don’t and that is hard because all you want to do is heal them. I have also learned that there are a lot of great people out there also trying to make a difference, and that makes me happy. From folks such as the woman who knew Peachy should get a chance and contacted us to others that have donated to our fundraisers, they are all helping make a difference and I thank all of them.

4. What do you wish other people knew about us?
Linus, one of Rachel’s former foster kittens

That we work to help the cats that others won’t or cannot help. We often help the older and sick/injured cats, ones that have medical problems, and ones that the “system” has failed. That fostering is so rewarding, and that we have an extensive support system for anyone interested in fostering. That we put our hearts and souls into each cat to make sure they are successful and find adoptive homes that are a perfect match for both our cats and adoptive families.

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

I work full time as a Program Manager leading global cross functional teams. I’m a stained glass artist. I also love riding my horses, especially on the trails in our beautiful State Forests.

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

I believe we will expand our community education and outreach to help people understand the critical need to spay/neuter and vaccinate their cats and community cats—not only for their cats’ own health and safety, but to help prevent the spread of disease that take the lives of cats and kittens that don’t have homes. I also believe we will continue to help with TNR of our community cats, as well as continue to help those needing financial help to spay/neuter and vaccinate their families’ cats.

7. Why should others consider volunteering with us?
Peachy

We have an amazing support network and we all really care about each other. We have many different opportunities to volunteer, whether it be administrative, outreach, education, trapping cats, transporting cats from foster homes to the vet, fostering, fundraising, etc. If you want to share your special skills, we probably have a need you can help us with.

8. What have you gained while volunteering with us?

A feeling of purpose that I don’t get in my “real job,” and that purpose is making a difference in a cat’s life and ultimately a human life also. Humans need companionship and beneficial relationships. Cats can give us those things, so I get to help a person when they get to adopt their new best friend and family member.

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

I feel like I have made a positive impact in cat and human lives through the work I have done for Ten 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!

Forgotten Feline Spotlight: Moon Pie

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Moon Pie when she first arrived at her foster home

Moon Pie joined Ten Lives Cat Rescue in July 2019 after being humanely trapped with her five kittens. She was estimated to be around 8 or 9 months old at the time, and she had been a wonderful mother as all of her kittens were healthy. Her foster mom named her Moon Pie because of her big eyes.

Moon Pie with her kittens, Whoopie Pie and Pumpkin Pie

When Moon Pie first arrived at her foster home, she was scared all the time and often hid. One week after Moon Pie went to her foster home, two of her kittens joined her and were named Pumpkin Pie and Whoopie Pie. She didn’t pay much attention to her kittens, which made her foster mom think she didn’t have a connection with them.

However, during the first week of September, Pumpkin Pie and Whoopie Pie went to their forever homes, and she heartbreakingly cried and howled all night on the first night.

Her foster mom tried to bond with her, but she was just so scared. She was not interested in playing at all, had no interest in treats, and was not even food motivated. She flinched even if her foster mom tried to pet her with back scratcher.

Moon Pie and Ryder

Shortly after, Moon Pie was introduced to her foster mom’s resident cat, Ryder—at first, there was hissing, and Moon Pie would run and hide somewhere in the house. Over the last six or seven months, though, she’s developed a very close relationship with Ryder. With his help, she’s become more confident and lets her foster mom approach her to scratch her chin and head.

Moon Pie in her foster home

Moon Pie is still working on her catfidence before she is listed for adoption. Her foster mom is determined to work with Moon Pie and sees her slowly making strides. Just this past week, Moon Pie engaged in playing with her foster mom and a rainbow wand!

Moon Pie is part of our Forgotten Feline Program, which aims to help scared and under-socialized cats who are considered “unadoptable” by other shelters. With the help of our dedicated foster families, we are able to give them the support they need to blossom.

If you are interested in sponsoring Moon Pie, please click here.

Volunteer Spotlight: Sarah

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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.

Sarah was Ten Lives Cat Rescue’s very first volunteer! She has been volunteering with us since May 2018, and her role with us includes being a foster, general volunteer, and adopter. Sarah has three resident cats: Brooklyn (10 years old), Cora (2 years old), and Abby (2 years old). Brooklyn has been with Sarah since she was a little kitten, and Cora and Abby were both fosters that she just couldn’t say goodbye to. Sarah has a “no cute kitten” rule with adopting, but she broke her own rule with Cora and Abby! Sarah’s current fosters include Dash (1 year old), who is paralyzed and incontinent, and Bandit (3 months) who is a Panleuk survivor!

Late night snuggles with Bandit, our sole PanLeuk Survivor
1.   How did you originally hear about us, and what made you decide to become a volunteer?

A friend knew I was interested in fostering cats and told me about a new cat rescue that she read about on Next Door. I was already actively searching out rescues to volunteer with, so the timing was pretty perfect. I sent Melissa (TLCR’s Executive Director) an email, and within a few days, I already had my very first foster, Chloe. From that very first cat, I knew this was something I would be doing long term. I have been an animal advocate my whole life, always bringing home the stray cats and dogs I would find, slowing down for squirrels, and returning baby birds to nests. Fostering just made sense. My only regret is not doing it sooner.

2.   What is your favorite story or memory while volunteering with us?
Walter after lots of love

I have so many! Walter’s story sticks out the most to me. Walter was a senior cat who lost everything when his family, an elderly woman, passed away. He lost his home when he was tossed out with the furniture shortly after her death. For an entire year, Walter survived outside on the streets of Providence while a Good Samaritan made it her mission to look out for him and try to get him help. She was finally successful when she posted a blurry photo on NextDoor of a white cat who looked like he was made of skin and bones. I got in touch with her and we had a plan to get him inside within the hour. Walter was my foster cat for seven months and he was nothing but a gentle, loving old man who was happy to be sleeping on a bed again. He was adopted into a loving family where he spent the remainder of his days being spoiled and loved. Walter passed away in 2019, but he was a loved member of a family, and not lonely and forgotten outside.

3.   What have you learned during your time as a volunteer?
June and her kittens after she gave birth

I’ve learned a TON. When I started fostering, I had never dealt with medically fragile animals of ANY kind. After two years of hands on experience, there isn’t much I haven’t done. Bottle feeding a litter of kittens used to sound absolutely terrifying; now it’s something I look forward to. Undersocialized cats were intimidating, now it’s a welcome challenge. I never thought I could give subcutaneous fluids to an 82 gram kitten, but you would be surprised what you can be capable of when it comes to life and death. I have also learned that no matter what you do, sometimes a kitten still doesn’t make it, and sometimes you have to make the heartbreaking decision to say goodbye, unfortunately that’s part of fostering sometimes too.

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

Ten Lives takes in a lot of undersocialized cats that a lot of other organizations do not have the resources to help.

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

I’m a nanny to four really great kids who love to see and meet my fosters (especially the kittens). They even named one of my first orphan kittens, Ben! When I’m not taking care of kids, I’m a photographer! You may have seen some of my pictures on the Ten Lives website or Facebook page – or may have even entered into the July raffle to win a Beach Mini Shoot!

Hank when he first arrived with a terrible URI
6.   How do you think Ten Lives Cat Rescue will change over the next five years?

I think we will only get bigger and better. We have so many amazing, dedicated, and generous volunteers (and a supportive community). I can’t see us going anywhere but up. Everyone who volunteers with Ten Lives are all in it for the same reason—we want to help the cats in our community.

7.   Why should others consider volunteering with us?

Fostering gave me a sense of purpose. For me, it makes you feel like you are a part of something bigger. Not all volunteers are fosters, which I think is important. While fostering is a huge part of Ten Lives, we have so many roles behind the scenes. From adoption coordinators, reference checkers, cat cab volunteers, event coordinators, the list goes on. If you want to help but can’t foster, don’t get discouraged! We have lots of roles that are just as important.

8.   What have you gained while volunteering with us?
Sarah’s quarantine bottle babies, Charlie, Zoe, Luna, and Badger

I’ve gained friends, a community, a sense of purpose, and a wealth of knowledge about cats and kittens – oh, and lots and lots of cat pictures.

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

I know I’ve changed the lives of all of the cats that have come through my apartment. I’ve sent over 20 cats and kittens to forever homes. To me, there are few things more rewarding than getting that first update text, with a picture attached of a cat who just a few months ago was forgotten outside and is now a valued member of a family. I love each cat like they are my own, but in the end, goodbye is the goal.

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!

Forgotten Feline Spotlight: Dash

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If you follow Ten Lives Cat Rescue’s social media accounts, you may have seen a one-year-old cat named Dash grace our pages. She’s playful, she loves to snuggle, and she’s working on her socialization skills. You may have also noticed that Dash does not have use of her rear legs, but this doesn’t stop her from roaming her foster home and scaling beds, couches, and other furniture with little help!

Dash when she was rescued by Ten Lives Cat Rescue in January 2020.

Rescued in January, Dash joined our program after her initial rescuer could no longer provide adequate care for her. As a kitten, Dash was injured and lost function of her rear legs. When she arrived at her Ten Lives foster mom’s home, she was terrified of everything, was extremely dirty, and was medically a mess. It was obvious that she had been neglected for quite some time, and according to our vet, was in the worst shape they had ever seen a cat in. According to her foster mom, if she was trying to nap and you moved around in the same room, she would immediately wake up, as if she could never truly relax. Essentially, everyone she had known prior to arriving in Ten Lives’ care had let her down.

Together, Dash and her foster mom fell into a care routine, which involves the occasional bath, playtime, changing Dash’s diaper, feeding her, and relaxing together on the couch. After extensive medical care and patience, Dash is almost a completely new cat from who she was six months ago.

Living her best life in her foster home.

She’s learned to trust her foster mom, and if her foster mom is in the same room while she’s napping now, she barely stirs. Dash’s favorite place to sleep is right up against her foster mom in bed. Dash also loves to play, and has a favorite little mouse toy that she has absolutely annihilated.

Dash’s foster mom says that while it was difficult in the beginning, Dash’s care routine is easy for a special needs cat. She eats and goes to the bathroom at the same time every day, and wears a diaper and uses puppy pads. In comparison to a healthy cat or kitten, Dash is considered a high maintenance cat. However, she’s worth it, and shows her gratitude in a multitude of ways.

Dash is part of our Forgotten Feline Program, which aims to help scared and under-socialized cats who are considered “unadoptable” by other shelters. With the help of our dedicated foster families, we are able to give them the support they need to blossom.

If you are interested in sponsoring Dash, please click here.