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.

© 2018-2021 Copyright Ten Lives Cat Rescue. All Rights Reserved.

Volunteer Spotlight: Leo

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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.

Leo is going into his second year as a Ten Lives volunteer, and while his “official” role is as a trapper, he’s always available to help with other aspects of whatever the rescue needs. Whether it’s picking up donated supplies, transporting cats to appointments, or building feeding stations, Leo has done that and more! Before becoming an official volunteer with us, Leo has always been involved in caring for cats in one way or another. Leo has two resident cats—a gray and white tabby named Boots (because she has white paws that look like shoes) and a calico named Skinny (for her thin frame). Leo also takes care of three outdoor cats that he TNR’d.

Leo_01
1. How did you originally hear about us, and what made you decide to become a volunteer?

I found a stray cat in one of the makeshift shelters I build and started doing research online for “what to do next.” Ten Lives Cat Rescue (TLCR) came up as a search result, and they sounded like the perfect place to start. Becoming a volunteer just sort of happened from there. I had already been finding cats in need all over the place (in my local neighborhoods, around areas I’d be traveling for work, or just driving around every day). TLCR was very helpful in taking them into the rescue.

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

I’ve trapped a couple tomcats that were in really rough shape. To see them get stronger and healthier with a little love and time was cool, especially knowing that I had a hand in their comeback story.

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

I’ve always been that guy that has a soft spot for cats, but I had just been winging it when it came to trying to help them on my own. As a volunteer, I’ve learned a lot about the proper way to trap displaced cats and also how to take care of kittens. I’d say volunteering has also made me a better people-person in general, too.

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

I wish other people knew that cats rule! Oh, and that TLCR loves every cat they are lucky enough to help, and they have an amazing team of people who share the same vision.

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

When I’m not volunteering, I’m usually working or sleeping. Oddly enough, I’m an acoustical ceiling guy that works six to seven days a week. It’s a demanding, hands-on job, but it’s something I’ve done for many years and I’m meticulous at it. You probably wouldn’t guess at first glance that I’m such a big cat person, but my surroundings say otherwise; I’ve got some pretty cool cat art that I’ve collected over the years.

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

I see the rescue growing, which means saving many more cats and finding them the perfect homes. It also means I’ll be busy doing more TNR work, too.

7. Why should others consider volunteering with us?

People should volunteer because they want to help their community cat population. Everyone is always looking for ways to “give back,” but aren’t sure how to start. Volunteering is a way to make use of your time for the greater good, and you’ll meet fellow cat lovers in the process. I also can’t be one of the only dudes in the bunch! Come join us!

8. What have you gained while volunteering with us?

Volunteering has really helped me become more open with myself and what I’m capable of. It’s helped me become more of a people-person and work more easily with others. I’ve always found working with animals has been easier than working with people, but volunteering has helped me see people can be worth the effort, too. I feel lucky to be able to gain tips, tricks, and overall knowledge from those that have been doing this for a long time. It’s really made me want to go all in with helping street cats and put what I’ve learned into action.

An outdoor feeding station and shelter made by Leo
An outdoor feeding station and shelter made by Leo
9. How much of an impact do you feel your volunteer work has had with Ten Lives Cat Rescue?

I would like to think I’ve made an impact with the rescue. I tend to not be afraid to go to the more questionable areas to help save a cat. Having learned about my work with the rescue, I’m hoping people will be more comfortable with asking questions and reaching out.

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!