To learn more about this month’s spotlight on the cat rescue Tails from the City–Cleveland and what makes this rescue so great, we talked to Michelle, one of the founders! Here’s what she had to say:
How long have you been with Tails from the City? Since November 2011
What made you decide to get into animal rescue? I had 2 sibling cats for 7 1/2 years before one passed away of kidney failure (born with 1 functioning kidney). I wanted a new friend for my lone cat and went to a shelter to adopt. I brought home a 1 year old black cat that had been at the shelter for 6 months. (Black cats sit longest at shelters.) He was very friendly and social, and I decided that I wanted to help take care of cats while they were in shelters and help them find amazing furever homes!
What’s a typical day at the shelter like for you? There is no such thing! My regular days consist of e-mails, phone calls, faxes and texts about many things: screening potential cat adoptions, assisting with intake requests, shelter cleaning/schedule changes, discussing care for sick cats, managing the foster care program, taking cats to offsite store locations to be available for adoption, answering inquiries from people interested in learning about our organization, preparing for offsite events and attending those events, etc. It’s the classic “other duties as required” at the bottom of every job description!
Do you have any favorite cats now? Any fun stories? Favorite cats? I should say no, but it’s hard not to get attached to your foster cats. You get to spend more time with them and therefore develop a bond with them similar to your own cats. My little foster guy, Hosta (stray kitten found in hosta plants at a residence near Edgewater) has a special place in my heart right now. There have been many that I have formed a special bond with. It’s exciting for me to get current photos of cats/kittens that have been adopted – to see how happy they are in their homes!
Do you like dogs, too? Why did the rescue choose to work only with cats? I appreciate dogs and the unconditional love they have for people. We had a dog when I was growing up, and I never realized what a great dog he was because that was the only dog I really knew. Caring for dogs requires so much more space and time than cats. Dogs should be taken out several times a day to be walked and for potty breaks, and we don’t have an organization staffed to handle that much “dog maintenance.” We rely 100% on volunteers. Most of us have full time jobs and our own animals (and foster animals) at home to care for – in addition to the cats at the shelter.
Do you find it difficult at times to find a balance between the shelter and home life? Yes. Home life usually gets put on the back burner, and it takes a conscious effort to not put the shelter first all the time. But I try to be aware of when that has to shift and do the best I can.
Do you have any goals for the shelter for the next couple of years? This year we have expanded into participating in more offsite events to increase adoptions and increase public awareness of our organization. I would like to see us move to a different location as well as figure out a way to promote and adopt out our FIV cats. They are super sweet, and I feel the public is misinformed about FIV.
Anything else you’d like to add? Animal rescue people are some of the most amazing and compassionate people, and I have had the good fortune to be surrounded with many that I have a deep respect for and have learned from. It takes a strong support system to do what we do day after day, and it can be highly emotional. A rescue is not just moving an animal from a bad situation to a better situation, it’s following through to make sure that animal is cared for properly until it can find a permanent place to call home. It takes a village of many people working together to truly rescue animals!
Thank you so much for your time Michelle. We look forward to continuing to support Tails from the City!