Katelyn Michele’s nonprofit helps find loving homes for cats
By Haley Beyer & Kamala Kirk
Katelyn Michele has always loved animals, but it was after she rescued her first kitten from the South LA Shelter that she became inspired to start Beach City Kitties, a local nonprofit kitten and cat rescue that serves the Westside, South Bay and surrounding areas.
“Bella was supposed to be euthanized the day I got her because she had a small cold,” Michele says. “Before this I was unaware that cats are frequently euthanized in Los Angeles County and county shelters, even small kittens. This is completely unacceptable to me, so I’ve made it my mission to get as many cats out of the kill shelters as I can, and spread the word about the situation to the public.”
Aside from Bella, Michele has four other cats that she saved from the euthanasia list—Lil Bit, Jinksie, Willie Jane, and Jem—and a chihuahua named Peanut, who according to Michele “also thinks he’s a cat.”
Founded five years ago, Beach City Kitties rescues cats and kittens from the streets and high-kill shelters, rehabilitates them, and provides foster families while finding them forever homes. In addition to finding people to foster the cats and kittens, the rescue also has to gather funds to pay for flea medication, vaccinations, spaying/neutering, chipping, and general resources.
So far, Beach City Kitties has found homes for nearly 600 cats. There are still thousands without homes, but Michele and her team work hard to do everything they can. Some of the cats they rescue are feral so they have implemented TNR (trap, neuter, release) to help decrease the feral cat population.
“In addition to adopting, fostering, volunteering or donating, one of the most important things you can do to help is to promote and practice spay and neuter,” Michele says. “Female cats on the streets can produce up to three litters per year; that’s up to 20 kittens, who in turn can get pregnant as early as four months. There aren’t homes for all of them. This isn’t just a rescue problem, but a community problem. Rescues are very full and volunteer run, and we can’t do it alone. Don’t just get your cats fixed. If you find a stray in your neighborhood, take the initiative. Find a free or low-cost clinic, and take them in to be fixed and vaccinated. Be part of the solution.”
At the end of the day, Michele is grateful for the impact her organization has had on the community and animals in need.
“It would be wonderful to eventually open up a sanctuary or rescue center so we could take in more cats,” Michele says. “There’s such an overpopulation of cats that many times it takes months to find kitties their forever homes, and we also take in feral or very skittish kitties that are hard to find homes for, so we would love to have the resources for them to have a safe space to stay as long as needed. I love when adopters send photos of their rescued cats, even years later, and the cat is so happy and living its best life. It’s so good to see after removing them from the streets or a shelter, they’re happy and their owner is happy too.”
Beach City Kitties
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