Volunteer Highlight: Patti Mann
In the world of feline advocacy and rescue, Cat by Cat Inc. shines brightly. This dedicated group of individuals works tirelessly to provide sanctuary and love to cats in need. One of their invaluable volunteers, Patti Mann, shares her experiences and insights into the world of feline care and rescue.
A Fateful Meeting
Patti's journey with Cat by Cat Inc. began with a twist of fate. In 2016, she embarked on her volunteering journey with a different cat rescue organization. Little did she know that her path would soon cross with Sally Merritt-Braciak, the driving force behind Cat by Cat. When Sally branched out to create her own rescue, Patti was among the first to offer her support. Patti's respect and admiration for Sally's unwavering dedication to feline welfare made her a perfect fit for the Cat by Cat team.
A Multifaceted Volunteer
Patti's volunteer roles within Cat by Cat encompass a wide range of responsibilities, reflecting her commitment to the cause. She provides foster care at home, direct care at the shelter, occasional clinic and vet transport , administrative assistance, and the creative design of promotional materials, including the Cat by Cat logo. Juggling a full-time day job and a demanding career as a professional artist, Patti values the flexibility Cat by Cat offers, allowing her to volunteer within her available time without feeling overwhelmed.
Compassion in Direct Care
Direct care at the shelter is a vital aspect of Patti's volunteer work. This hands-on role involves feeding, cleaning crates, and maintaining the shelter's overall cleanliness. Daily chores include scooping litter boxes, sweeping and cleaning crates, washing bedding and dishes, replenishing food supplies, and more. Despite the time constraints, Patti manages to share some love with the shelter's residents, often treating them to rotisserie chicken and catnip—“Except for Bandit, who can’t handle his ‘nip and goes all wacky.”
The Joy of Fostering
Patti's journey takes her even further as she opens her home to foster cats and kittens in need. She has fostered approximately 20 kittens and several adult cats for Cat by Cat, with a special penchant for formerly feral kittens in need of socialization. Facilitating their transformation from scared and defensive orphans to playful and affectionate pet kitties is a heartwarming experience. Fostering requires time, attention, patience, and, of course, treats. It's about being a safe and comforting presence for these furry companions and allowing them to thrive.
One of Patti's memorable fosters was Toni, a timid and ill kitty suffering from advanced kidney disease. With patience and care, Toni gradually opened up to Patti's attentions. “Up until it was her time to go,” Patti said, “she at least got to experience a few months of love, comfort, and affection after her painful, lonely life struggling to survive in Buffalo.” Through fostering, Patti has learned the art of presence, understanding cat body language, and creating a safe space where cats can flourish.
A Fulfilling Journey
When asked what she loves most about direct care and fostering, Patti's answer is filled with passion. For her, it's a simple pleasure to care for cats, ensuring their comfort and well-being. Yet, fostering holds a special place in her heart. Each cat brings a unique experience, from instantly affectionate felines to those scarred by trauma and abuse. Fostering allows Patti to show them that love and comfort exist in the world.
Her time with Cat by Cat has also turned Patti into a more knowledgeable cat owner. Through hands-on experience, she has honed her skills in cat husbandry, from healthcare to behavioral issues. Patti's commitment to her furry charges extends to her three personal cats (all rescues and one a former foster), who undoubtedly benefit from her enriched understanding of feline care.
The Heart of Volunteerism
Why does Patti volunteer for Cat by Cat? Her answer is resounding: she's driven by the desire to support dedicated individuals like Sally Merritt-Braciak, who devote their energy, knowledge, and skills to helping cats in Western New York. The organization relies on volunteers like Patti to make a difference. Patti relishes being part of the solution, contributing to a nurturing and positive culture. The emotional highs and lows of rescue work may be challenging, but they are also incredibly rewarding and beautiful.
Cat by Cat fosters an environment of respect, training, and appreciation, motivating volunteers to continue their efforts. Patti not only applauds the founders, Sally and her husband Jon, for their compassion, but also praises her fellow volunteers for their hard work, support, humor, and intelligence. Being part of Cat by Cat provides Patti with a sense of purpose, reminding her that her time is valuable and worthwhile in supporting this essential cause.
A Final Meow
Patti Mann's journey with Cat by Cat is a testament to the power of volunteerism and the indomitable spirit of individuals dedicated to animal welfare. Her story reminds us that every act of kindness, every moment of presence, and every offering of love can make a significant impact in the lives of our feline companions. As Patti aptly put it, "MEOW."
Cat by Cat, Inc. continues to thrive, thanks to the unwavering dedication of volunteers like Patti Mann. They are proof that by coming together, we can create a better world for our furry friends, one purr at a time.